kayjay

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  1. I was given a inexpensive/low-quality student fiddle as a practice piece for repair work. I'm soliciting input on the following: 1) Neck joint: Most obvious need is the the neck joint has separated from the body. It appears a nice clean break the button is in tact, and I've removed the hide glue residue. The seam between the back plate and ribs near the joint has started to separate slightly. The neck seats well back into the joint, with the exception that there is ~2mm gap between the heel and the top plate (tried uploading additional pics of gap but having technical issues). Otherwise it APPEARS that this is a relatively straightforward fix. I've seen little shims placed in these gaps before. Anything in particular to keep in mind when filling this gap? 2) Varnish: There is a weird blemish on top plate above the bridge feet and below where fingerboard would end. Also, the general varnish is pretty awful and ugly. I'm fully aware of the sacred commandment THOU SHALT NOT REVARNISH, but wondering if there would be any educational benefit to attempting to strip off existing varnish and revarnish it (aside from maybe trying my patience and fully accepting it could not go well, etc etc). If I do this, it sounds like the compound to use will depend on whether it is oil-based, spirit-based, polyurethane (ick). How to tell what is on this violin now? Are there stripping compounds/methods that would work for either? 3) Purfling: It's painted on. A mandolin maker friend suggested, if I do strip it down, to perhaps have a hand at doing the purfling. Is this a terrible idea? Other than a learning exercise for me, is purfling ever added to a violin later? I'm guessing not, as it seems its mostly absent from low-quality violins thus not worth the bother, and for older/historic instruments you wouldn't to do something so intrusive. If I do choose to have a go at the purfling, is there anything in particular to be advised of as it would relate to an already intact instrument? I'm assuming it'd be good to just go ahead and separate front and back plates. Thank you, I'm ready to be slogged now
  2. Greetings, Does anyone know of violin set-up/repair short courses or workshops or internship programs (paid, of course) held in fall or winter, as opposed to summer? I am aware of the offerings with UNH Violin Making Institute and Southern California Violin Making Workshop, they look fantastic but due to a bunch of personal logistics I wouldn't be able to attend this summer and so would have to wait until next summer 2020 (that's too far away!!). I have much more flexibility this fall winter and so just wondering if anyone has any recommendations.
  3. Thanks for replies so far! It sounds like 4.5 mm is the more widely implemented msmt to aim for and tolerances within 1/10th mm are acceptable (?). If anyone has more input on making the bass foot thicker/thinner relative to treble foot I'm interested to know.
  4. Greetings, Practicing violin bridge carving. Several sources (Strobel, Courtnall & Johnson,etc) instruct to sand or plane the back of the bridge to attain thickness of bridge feet of 4.7 mm How precise does this 4.7 mm need to be? In other words, what is an acceptable range of tolerance around this msmt? Is 4.6 too thin? 4.65 acceptable? Just trying to understand tolerances. And if anyone might explain the effect of too thick of thin feet that will be of interest. Thank you!
  5. Greetings! I am brand new to this site - and working on my first fiddle! Since this is my first post a little background about me: I started playing fiddle about 2 years ago and as a result have become completely intrigued at the artistry and precision involved in their making. I have some ancient experience as a machinist and moldmaker many many years ago, but working with wood is ENTIRELY new to me. Possibly a bit naively ambitious, I just started in on my own fiddle building project. Who knows how the thing will turn out, but it's all about the learning in the process, right? (As an aside, I've considered starting with a kit, but I am less focused/hurried for an end product and more so embracing the whole process in order to learn). Unfortunately I do not have any luthier resources in my area (at least that I know about), so I am relying primarily on written materials, and hopefully some guidance from anyone here willing to spare advice! I have as my references Johnson and Courtnall's Art of Violin Making, and the Strobel series, also have Heron-Allen's Violin Making Historical and Practical Guide at my disposal for more general reference/context. I've settled on working from the patterns provided by Strobel. I have my mold almost nearly complete and am about to start fitting and cutting the blocks. My question is: what is the significance of the grain direction in fitting your blocks, how precisely do they need to be spaced within the mold, and most importantly WHY? I am puzzled because of discrepancies in patterns. In the Strobel pattern (and in Heron-Allen's book), the grain on the corner blocks is angled downwards (roughly 45 degrees), yet in Johnson & Courtnall it is shown horizontal. As for upper and lower blocks, Strobel and Johnson & Courtnall suggest grain on blocks to be vertical, yet the pattern shown in Heron-Allen's book shows upper and lower block grain as angled. And each source says to ensure the grain is oriented correctly! Also there appears to be some subtle differences in exactly how the corner blocks are oriented relative to center (right angles versus slightly askew). Would like to know how critical this is for later steps (ribs...) I'm assuming this may be a prime example of the myriad ways in which patterns may differ, but I am mostly wondering what are the consequences, if any, on overall build. I am assuming that in general having grain facing the belly and back will provide a better glue surface, and there is some critical structiral support and need to minimize cracking from expansion/contraction. I've searched archives and found a few scattered posts on grain orientation but have yet to find a more holistic discussion as to why - in terms of what forces (and in what direction) need to considered when choosing. I very much appreciate any insights!