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This is my first entry in the start of my violin-making hobby. I first became interested in violin-making when I was studying music at the University of Texas almost 20 years ago. I even bought the (then) fairly recently published, The Art of Violin Making by Chris Johnson and Roy Courtnall along with a few others: Antonio Stradivari by W. Henry Hill; Violin Making as it was and is by Ed Heron-Allen; and Acoustical Systems of Violins by Isaak Vigdorchik. Being a broke college student at the time, the books sat in storage, collecting dust after I had read skimmed through them. Here I am now, still feeling the itch to learn the craft, but with the means to make it happen. By day, I'm a legal aid attorney (i.e. not the rich kind). I live in Lubbock, Texas with a wife and a toddler. . . and a mortgage. My days of serious violin-playing are long behind me but I do take out the 'ole fiddle every now and then. Before COVID, I even played with a community orchestra in town that put on two concerts per year. My instrument was made in Austin, TX by William Townsend in 2002. My parents bought it for me as a college graduation present. Eventually, my goal is to play on one that I've made with my own hands. Beyond the basic woodworking instruction I received in my high school shop class, I'm starting from scratch with no in-person guidance. I understand it will be a long and slow journey before I can make anything that looks and sounds decent but it's all about the journey for me. I'm starting this post in part to motivate myself to keep it up. Right now, I'm still setting up my workspace and collecting basic supplies. I plan to dedicate a part of my garage to this endeavor. Next to that space there's a small recess where I plan to put in a small workbench with a vice or two. I don't have much else yet. In the pictures you can see a scrap piece of granite that I picked up at a local store which will serve as my surface plate. I don't think it's perfectly flat, but I think it's good enough. Apart from that, Santa brought me a few tools for Christmas. A few more items and soon I'll be ready to rock. I think 2022 will be the year. Check back later for updates!
Hi All, I'm new here and beginning my first violin build. I have worked with wood for most of my life 50ish years. Little background: I've made a number of scratch build acoustic guitars and F5 mandolins using mostly hand tools and elbow grease. I'm a photographer by trade. Anyhoo, I've ordered a couple of posters from The Strad Shop (Antonio Stradivari 'Huberman' violin 1713 , and 'Vieuxtemps' Guarneri 'del Gesù' 1741). I have my wood for beginning to build, but I don't know when the posters will arrive. The Strad Shop is vague about delivery during the pandemic. My brother is sending me his copy of The Art of Violin Making - C. Johnson. So, the question is has anyone built a violin using the plans in Heron-Allen's book, Violin-Making As It Was and Is? I've attached a photo of it. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
On request from a few others here, I'm going to document the build process of my first violin. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've built a couple of other instruments (22 string lap harp and an alto rebec) but they're not quite as complex or have the same level of pedantic attention to detail that a violin requires. We'll see how I go, yes? I took inspiration from Ernie's "Long Pattern Strad ..." thread - as he has so generously documented his instrument, and there were some good tidbits from Roger Hargrave along the way. That led me to picking the 1694 Muir Mackenzie as a reference. Another reason for picking this instrument is the mould (B form) is on the poster, so I didn't need to worry about creating it (from the outline). Over the past few weeks, I've had more tools, wood, posters and other bits arrive in the mail. It's been a steady stream of christmas all month I made 3 copies of the back of the poster, one laminated for a shop reference, and the other two for transferring onto the mould and half-template. Courtesy of cdavies' retirement, I obtained a few gouges and some aged wood for much later. (Very nice steel and wood!) The wood for this instrument came from Old World Tonewoods. It's reaonably flamed and a few years old. Definitely good for a first instrument. Still not sure what I'll varnish it with. I did get some bottles of "oil varnish" from International Violin, but there are no details to be had on its composition, so maybe I'll use that, maybe I won't. That decision will be made after I've done some colour tests. I will be sugar grounding it, thank you jezzupe for your research there! There has been some tool building, and I daresay that'll keep happening over the course of this instrument. (Mwoar clamps!) In the attached pic, there's a poster to the left, some shiny gouges, my first attempt at the mould, the Old Old wood to the right (No touchy!), the OldWorld wood up the back, and a pack of 15 ribs in the middle. That stack of ribs will become test pieces - for varnish tests, planing and scraping practice and learning how to bend them.