Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

how about a new 'what are you building?' thread

Darren Molnar

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 177
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Since we were in college together, my former roommate has had use of a nice Collin-Mezin that was loaned to him. Ten years later, the owners have requested the instrument to be returned and passed to the next "in need" college student. My friend does not have the money to replace it, so I asked my violin maker to show me how to finish a violin in the white for him both as a favor to a friend and as part of my training (regraduating, varnish, and set-up experience before attempting on my ground-up violin project.) It is obviously an inexpensive mail-order violin, but it seems to have some good tonal potential so far.

I haven't posted much other than pre-build tool making and adjustment for a while, so I thought I'd put this out there. These are pics in the white and then with the ground applied, and 2 coats of my violin maker's home brew "old gold" varnish mixture.

(Sorry for the angle view, this was at night and my lighting is overhead, so I couldn't get a straight on shot without terrible shadows. :) )




Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's quite a good varnish job, much nicer than my first, or fifth. How did you find the whole varnishing experience?

Since the last page seems to be missing, I thought I'd repost the pictures showing the progress of the viola I mentioned in my first post. No progress this week, though. Got the baby in one arm, while I type with the other, probably won"t do much work this week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's quite a good varnish job, C.B. esp for a first time. How did you find the whole varnishing experience?

Thank you for the compliment! Now that I'm just a few coats in, I find it fascinating and very enjoyable. I am looking forward to a couple other color coats to work on blending and shading.

Your viola is breath-taking. A true inspiration.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Michael, thanks. I oriented the flames to run continuously around the sides, the upper bout was big enough to do in one piece.

So looking at the profile, on the treble side the flames run uphill towards the top plate. and on the bass side, the flames run down towards the top plate.

because the back plate was glued up to point the flames uphill, the flames happen to form an upside down "v" on the bass side, but on the treble side, they both run uphill towards the top plate. I tried to take these pictures like I was rolling the sides along the floor, to show the effect. I kinda like it, too. Good eyes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here a violin I recently completed. The top is made from 25 year old sitka spruce and the back is from a peice of German maple I purchased in the 80's. I am including a link to a photo story video showing some closeups and shots of the instrument as it was being made.

Click here for Video. Turn on your sound.



post-23636-1212093407_thumb.jpg post-23636-1212093990_thumb.jpg post-23636-1212094087_thumb.jpg


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a general word of caution concerning masking things off on your violin…

I’ve seen several different posts on MN showing tape on fingerboards etc. Well, being a copycat, I decided to use some low-tack tape on my curly maple fingerboard. Lucky for me, I just masked the board-neck connection and didn’t tape up the entire surface.

After coloring the body and neck, I gently peeled off the tape on the fingerboard, so that I could do the final clear coat on everything. Unfortunately, some of the fingerboard pulp lifted with the tape, and there was a bit of color seepage as well… thus making masking pretty pointless. I didn’t burnish down the tape, or slather varnish all over the tape, or expose it too heat, or leave it on for a long time… it was simply too tacky, even the low-tack tape. In the end, it wasn't even good at “masking” small brush flicks. (I ended up bagging the fingerboard in wax paper when working on the top color, and then bagged the body when working on the fingerboard – and simply worked carefully around the neck/board connection).

So… in retrospect, tape on ebony might be a decent idea, but maple… don’t know what I was thinking! I was able to do some minor scraping to get things back to normal, so no real harm done… but an inconvenience worth avoiding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike S. Nice looking stuff! Lots of quilted maple showing up here. What are we doing, making mandolins? Making a scroll out of that can't be easy.

To Allant.. most of the posters I have of famous instruments are 351-354 so I'd say that is about standard. Around 350 is getting small and the 360+ Maggini is big.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike S. Nice looking stuff!

+1 on that! Wow, that's #2? I'm almost sorry I looked, I thought I was doing well on the belly purfling, MUCH improvement over the back (a bending iron REALLY makes a difference), but I truly envy your beestings. You seem to really have that down pat. I'll post a pic when I've got the purfling glued in and levelled, but it'll be nowhere near as nice as yours...

and, iburkard... what can I say? Simply mah-velous!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one I sent photos of before was my #8-- still not completed...I did go ahead and varnish #7, even though there are some issues I want to go back and address. (The neck is too thin, so I intend to do a graft, as it is a good skill to learn, and I have never attempted it.) Anyway, this is #7:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

That looks great. I really like the figure of the back. :)

Yeah, I like it too, and I have the other end of the same billet, big enough for a matched one-piece-back viola, to go with it...but I want to improve my skill a bit, before I do that. This one has some problems, and I want to know I am not wasting a great piece of wood, before I begin the viola.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All - I'm overjoyed - I can get back in. This morning I tried from the computer at work and managed to post a letter. Came home and tried this computer - and everything seems normal.

(FAMOUS LAST WORDS. My home computer once again refused me! Something about "menu disabled" after I tried to post a message here. So I copied it to my work computer and drove the 16km back to the office to post from here....)

OK - back in post #46 or thereabouts I posted my ribbed C-bouts. There were comments about the length of the points.

(I thought that I had copied that pic to the office computer - but no such luck.

Anyway if anyone can shed light on why the home computer is not keeping me logged in I'll very much appreciate it.)

cheers ed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...