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Tim McTigue

Picking up where I left off...

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I tried a high heat curling iron (~200W). It was a bit hard to hold steady but it did work. I dont really have any experiance bending but I managed to bend some 1mm thick curly maple without breaking it (for the most part) without using a bending strap.

The box said the iron would get to 390 but the most I ever measured was 360. Cost $21 a Meijer's and had build in temp control.

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I have a standard Ibex iron that has worked fine for me. It will get scorchin' hot (I've deep fried a rib or two through my learning curve.). Although the tight corner is not as tight as we'd all like, my clamping method makes up for the slight adjustment needed for the bout to take the corner.

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Thanks, everyone, for the tips. There's certainly no shortage of options for bending irons. I do think before I build a second instrument, I'll try to invest in an Ibex iron, and practice up on that. For now, hopefully I won't make too much of a mess of carving the channel...

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I'm jumping the gun a bit, showing an update before one week, as I think I'm in need of a bit of advice, or encouragement, or something. Here's where I'm at currently. I've been working on the channel on the one side this week, and while I think I still have a fair bit of work there, I think I'll move on to work on the other side before finalizing anything. First of all, my edge work is apparently going to suck big time. Anyway, I think the channel is about 1mm deep so far, and I think I need to go a bit deeper with it still. The arching is nowhere near finished, the upper and lower bouts are still a bit too full, I think. I'm working mainly with the lights off, and just the Luxo lamp shining across the plate, and pretty much just with a scraper at this point. Anyway, I'd appreciate any comments, especially if they're pointing out a big mistake I'm in the process of making, or about to make... Hopefully I haven't already messed it up...

edge1.jpg

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Hi Tim! Congrats! Your edge appear rather thick to me... What's the thickness of your edge now? In general, for a violin, they are 5 mm in the end of the corners, 4.5 mm in the C bouts, 4 in the lower and upper bouts (or slightly thinner). It's good having the corners in the proper thickness prior to make the scoop, otherwise you will have to do it again when you bring the edges to the proper thicknessess.

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Luis, thanks for that! It's good to hear you think the edge is still too thick, that means I still have some room to play with. To tell the truth, I'd rather have to re-do the scoop after re-thicknessing the edge, because that way I'm less likely to make a fatal error. There are some areas in the upper and lower bouts that are, I think, about 4mm now, but the corners and C bouts are probably more like 5mm or maybe a little more. I'll have to get better at measuring small tolerances very soon, I think. It is REALLY hard to make myself take wood away as I get close to final measurements!

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Ok, I would suggest you also drawing a line to define the limit of your gouge cuts in the edge, some would mark this line with a cutting tool (with a "grafietto tagliente", I don't know how to call it in English, I've made one that I showed in my scroll carving tutorial).

This rather crisp line betwen the purfling and edge is an acid test for the maker. In the current state this line appear a bit too "serpentinatta". You may also make a shaped scraper to work in this region.

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Hi Tim, I think you're just maybe starting the finishing stage too

soon. Looks like you've got a fair bit of gouge work, fingerplane

work to do before moving on to the scrapers. No Worries. Better too

much right now, than not enough.

Start at you're edges again, get those closer to specs, then work

you're scoop to get final thickness around the plate, then off to

finalize the arches, blending it all together. Scraping is best

saved to very last, after it all looks right.

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Hi Tim,

Maybe it does not matter, but why not finish general arching first? I am sure there are many ways to build a fiddle, but I think it makes more sense to blend channel into arching not the other way around. I keep edgework square until it is glued on. The bottom chamfer makes can be done ahead of time to avoid damage to ribs. Edgework is most challenging, but files, small planes and even a small sanding block can help to define the edge. Good luck.

Mike

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Darren Molnar

Hi Tim, I think you're just maybe starting the finishing stage too

soon. Looks like you've got a fair bit of gouge work, fingerplane

work to do before moving on to the scrapers. No Worries. Better too

much right now, than not enough.

quote:


Originally posted by:
mcarufe

Maybe it does not matter, but why not finish general arching first?

Good thoughts. Since I'm doing this for the first time, I'm obviously feeling my way through it. Reading about it is one thing, doing is something else. I keep worrying I'm going to take away too much wood, and end up with a bad result. Each time I feel that way, I find there is still a lot of wood that needs to be removed. I'm glad I did the scraping I've done at this point, it makes it easier to see what still needs to be shaped, and where. It's kind of amazing how much wood can be removed quickly with a scraper. Kind of scary, too. I think I will go to the other side and work with the finger plane to refine the arching, and do some gouge work there as well, to define the scoop on that side, then take another look at it. That'll probably make it easier to see where the arch needs more work...

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Hi Tim,

Congratulations on your progress and perseverance!

If I can offer any advice, it is that you should clearly determine in which order you are going to do things, and that you use certain "finite" measurements on which subsequent work is based.

For instance, decide on edge thickness, (DON'T leave a "margin for error"), and then do that carefully and precisely. Then, mark the eventual high point of the edge with a well-measured and clear scribe line (generally about 1/3 of the distance between the edge and the purfling), and don't touch that again. Next, do the channel. It is a good idea (although not the only way) to place the purfling at the deepest part of the channel. Then blend the arching with the channel, and the channel with the marked apex of the edge (like Luis said, with a crisp, clean line). Now you have two visual references to eye-ball your edge-work - the highest point of the edge, and the purfling at the deepest part of the channel. This gives you a fully three-dimensional scenario to check (eye-balling from the inside of the plate towards the edge - you know you edge is regular, so you check the purfling against that for evenness in depth. If your purfling looks "wavy" against the edge, the depth of the channel is irregular). You can also measure the depth and evenness of the channel with a caliper, but this in itself is not enough to make the purfling and channel/edge look good.

Once you've completely finished all this, you round the edge (don't touch your marked apex!).

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Thanks very much, Jacob! That is a very clear and concise method, and one I will try to adopt. It also shows me a clear way to improve my technique. That is what I come here for. Not having a physical teacher, it's easy to get lost, but advice like this is the next best thing. I guess the best news I've received today is that there is still a good bit of wood to work with, although I have to get careful now so I don't waste it. I will now slow down and get methodical, and see if I can create something nice.

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No advice obviously from me. Just wanted to add my encouragement Tim as I take a little break from taxes. I feel your anxiety as I look at your work. Keep trucking, you'll do yourself proud.

Keld

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Okay, well, another week, more progress. Thanks to great advice here (Thanks, Luis, Jacob, et al!), I think I've managed to move forward in spite of everything. In fact, I think I'm almost finished the outside of this back, although there's still quite a bit of scraping to do, and the edge work is barely begun. I imagine I'll probably work on it for another week or so before I'm ready to flip it over and start on the inside. My biggest disappointment so far is the absolutely horrible job I did on the purfling. So far I've had to replace most of the purfling in the upper bout on the treble side. I guess it was too close-fitting with the groove, and I didn't get it fully seated when I glued it. I thought it was, but while carving the channel, I suddenly came to the bottom of it, but there was open (glue-filled) groove below it. Lesson learned for next time. The purfling on this violin will not be anywhere near perfect, but I will do better on the top...

The photo below shows the back with the light in two different aspects, so as to show both the arching as it is now, and the nice flames when the light shines on them. BTW, all the pictures here are taken with no flash, I have a nice camera, a Fuji S700. I just suppress the flash, and set it on Auto. The camera does the rest...

Also, any comments on the arching are most welcome. This is my first time, so I'm not exactly certain what I'm doing with that. I think this arching is pretty much final, but my arching templates indicate it may still be a little high at the center joint (length-wise) - any comments on that? I am also paying attention to whether the arch is symmetrical, and I haven't quite finalized on that...

[EDIT:] Sorry, I put these pics side-by-side initally, not realizing they'd be chopped off...

mar16a.jpg

mar16b.jpg

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Tim, good work.

I can't tell all that much about the arching from these pictures. A flat/side/front to back view might be more useful. That being said, there

doesn't seem to be much re-curve around the prufling channel. I like to see a bit of flat right before I hit the perfling. Just a bit. A tiny bit.

What I can see is that you need to spend a little more time easing the arch into the purfling channel. From these pictures I can see alot

of break and chop on the approach to the purfling. Use sunlight and shadows to find these spots and eliminate them. These little imperfections

are magnified instantly with the first coat of varnish.

I think a new violin maker is well served by this sort of attention to detail. You might as well do it now.

Either way, don't stop till this is finished, then start another right away. Then another and another and another and another......

Good luck

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quote:


Originally posted by:
arglebargle

...That being said, there

doesn't seem to be much re-curve around the prufling channel. I like to see a bit of flat right before I hit the perfling. Just a bit. A tiny bit.

What I can see is that you need to spend a little more time easing the arch into the purfling channel. From these pictures I can see alot

of break and chop on the approach to the purfling...

Yes, there is still quite a bit of work to do around the purfling, and I expect I may end up having to replace another section or two before I'm done. Don't worry, I don't intend to move on to the next step until this step is truly done. I think there may still be some extra height in that arch, and definitely the channel needs to be a bit deeper. Still, it's coming along...

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Hi Tim,

It seems to be coming along nicely. You might be pleasantly surprised when you've finished the edgework.

I can't really comment on the arching and recurve, it's hard to tell from the photos what's going on. When you get to the scraping of the edge fluting, so that the purfling is horizontally even, make sure to check that at least the arching is symmetrical. Use the ruler shadow trick, or something similar. As for the recurve, some models have more, some have less. The point is to end up with what you intended. Accidental outcomes are to be avoided in violin-making.

There's a limit to what can be achieved with a first violin. Even though that limit may differ from person to person, there are certain things which can only be addressed on #2 - and #3 - and ...

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Jacob

There's a limit to what can be achieved with a first violin. Even though that limit may differ from person to person, there are certain things which can only be addressed on #2 - and #3 - and ...

Point taken, Jacob. I'll stop fretting so much over it, and just get 'er done, and take the lessons into the next one. It's kinda like raising kids... you can't really prepare for it except by doing it. Thanks for the compliment...

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It may be a little late for now, but I found it best to always work on multiple violins at the same time. Espescially with my first efforts. I always did three at a time, and found the repetiton of each step very helpful. It was always gratifying to see that number three in the group was always slightly, or much, better the it's two earlier siblings.

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One thing I forgot to mention, is that as this piece of wood gets closer to its final shape, I've noticed in the past day that it has become "sonically active" - i.e. as I work on it, or tap it or scratch at it with a fingernail, it seems to amplify the sound. I take this to be a good sign, and look forward to hearing it when I get the inside scooped out...

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"I'll stop fretting so much over it, ..."

Never should have been doing that at all...fretting is what you do when you make guitars, mandolins, lutes, etc...

Your violin is looking good, Tim. Press on!

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"One thing I forgot to mention, is that as this piece of wood gets closer to its final shape, I've noticed in the past day that it has become "sonically active" - i.e. as I work on it, or tap it or scratch at it with a fingernail, it seems to amplify the sound. I take this to be a good sign, and look forward to hearing it when I get the inside scooped out..."

If you're an aurally aware person, you'll notice the sounds coming from the plates while you are working to be changing all the time - even the sound the brush makes from one coat to the next when you are varnishing - seriously.

From my point of view, all this tells you for sure is that a dinosaur won't be able sneak up on you unawares

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That is looking really good Tim, nice to hear you are back at it. I myself would like to get back at it and finish #3 which I started in January 2007. A new hobby is keeping from it.

For digging out the purfling channel, I use a small jeweller's screw driver with the tip bent to a curve and sharpened. It works very well.

v323.jpg

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Hi Matt - I like your purfling chisel - could you possibly put up a pic of the tip? I copied one that Brian was using but am not convinced that it is the best that one could do.

Your "shaving" tells a whole different story.

cheers edi

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