Derek Callaway

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About Derek Callaway

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  1. Thanks. Although I’m far from an expert, I’ve made archtop mandolins whose sides/ribs are 1.5 mm in thickness. I also have lots of the current rib stock; 10+ pieces from the back and 10 from the neck. That’s not even counting the additional wood I haven’t resawed. If I can’t get a garland out of what I have then that’ll be a pretty clear sign that I should take up a different hobby.
  2. I am a hobby luthier making my first violin. I have a question about choice of wood for sides. I have a big leaf back and a big leaf neck, and I have cut and prepared sides from each. The wood from the neck has nice straight grain but relatively little figure and very prominent medullary rays. The sides cut from the back have irregular grain not at all parallel to the sides but more noticeable figure. The ribs are all finished with a card scraper. Any suggestions for which to choose? I prefer the straighter grained wood but would love others’ thoughts. In the photos below, the wider rib is from the back, and the rib in the lower part of the photo is from the neck. Thank you.
  3. Is there an ideal or customary way to lay out the pieces one uses for the ribs? Though not new to instrument making, I am starting my first violin, and I have prepared five 38 cm pieces of flamed maple, all from the same piece of wood. I have enough extra from that piece of wood that I could make plenty more pieces for sides if I needed to. I understand that it’s important to lay out the ribs so that the direction of the figure agrees around the garland, but as long as that is kept in mind, are there other considerations? It feels like the C bouts should mirror one another, and the two sides of the upper bouts should mirror one another. Same for the lower bouts. Is this typical, or should I be thinking about it differently? Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere. Thank you.