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I bought a nice piece of wood at an antique shop. Finding sides to match has been a problem. So I'm trying to coax sides out of the interior of the back. Has anyone ever done this and if so do you have any pointers?

So far My plan go like this. I'm using a 1/8 down cut bit from stew mac and have routed a 3.5mm deep channel 2 7/8 wide by 12 1/16 long


next i'll remove the wood outside of the rectangle then use a thin blade saw to cut out the sides out

THEN i'll have to saw/split the 3.5mm thick slab into the sides proper.

it sounds ambitious but i think it's possible in theory, i hope.

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I think it's risky, you may loose that fine wood... Perfectly matched wood for back, sides and neck is a modern obssession, I think.

Del Gesù rarely did that, in most of the cases the ribs and scroll were made with different (and less figured) wood.

The use of a long one piece rib for the lower bouts (longer than the back wood and quite commom in Cremonese violins) may point out to the use of a wood different of that used in the back in most of the cases.

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As you have already proceeded, this will not help much; but I helped/watched Michael Klein once, as he cut a viola back out of a cello back. He placed one half at a time of the cello back in a vise, and used a frame-saw to cut a curve out of the area that would become the interior. He just stayed inside the projected pencil lines that described the interior of the cello, and sawed out a viola that not only matched, but was the exact same piece of wood. It was a lot of work, and risky, as others have pointed out. But it did work--

You have gone about it in a different way...I hope it works out for you-- that is a really lovely piece of maple. I would have simply sent that photo around to a number of wood suppliers, and asked whether they had a set of matching ribs, and a neck.

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My measurments seem to be ok and there is a little extra room at the block platforms but not much.

I rigged up a little saw to do the work. but it is going to take a long time if i go this route.

appreciate all the comments. I think I'll stop now before I really mess something up. can someone direct me to a supplier that would be able to match this wood. please!!!!!

p.s. here's a kicker I only paid $25.00 for it

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Do you have any idea what kind of maple it is supposed to be? European/American? There are a number of possibilities, but it would help if you knew that much.

Bruce Harvie of Orcas Is. Tonewoods might be a good start, just because he has a very good eye for wood...if he doesn't have anything himself, he may be able to tentatively identify the wood, and give you a list of possible suppliers.

If I were doing it, I would send that photo to several suppliers, and ask if they can match it, for neck and ribs. I'd ask them to send me a photo of what they have, then make a choice, and get going. You have the beginnings of a gorgeous violin there. It does not have to be a perfect match..."close" is nice, though.

I have some sets where the neck, sides and back were all cut from the exact same board (I know because I cut them)--but you can't tell for sure by looking-- the grain/flame variations within the single board were enough to make them not really "match".

Good luck with it.

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"Finding sides to match has been a problem." - tommyc

This would appear to also have been the case with Stradivari and

Lads Inc., so some of the time, he just used what he had kicking

around. Seemed to work okay for him.

When I first saw your picture, I thought this was about inside

arching first.

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Originally posted by:

I can't count the times I have tried to get two pieces of wood from one piece, and ended up with no pieces

Ouch, that brings up bad memories.

I second the vote to get wood from another source. Uhm, how much wood is left at the router cuts near the end blocks?

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Actually, I was thinking about the wood that remains between the surface at bottom of the router bit to the outside surface of the plate-- the thickness of the back plate just in from the end blocks. Have you carved the back arching yet? If not, The depth of the router cut near the blocks may influence how far you extend the long arch of the back before cutting the recurve.

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Very interesting and challenging idea.

 If you can separate the back into two pieces again you might

have chance to cut out your strips. I would mount each

piece in a machinist drill vise so the the piece is perfectly

vertical and find a small drill that is long enough to drill down

into your channel . Then carefully drill holes along the line to

the depth of your routed channel.  The smaller the drill the

better, but it must be long enough.

Also instead of drilling you can try to use a FEIN multi-master

tool that can do this kind of cut (vibration cutter)  You just

have to set up a jig so that you can cut it perfectly parallel.

 I would not trust my hand although I have seen craftsmen make

this kind of cut by hand.  

By the way the Fein multi-master tool is not cheap... (rent or

borrow one if you can)

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