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Posters versus Luthier's Library


Sharron

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I have used the Strad posters for my last attempts and as I lack experience and can't actually get my hands on decent violins I thought about taking a

subscription to The Luthiers Library.

It seems to have more information than the Strad posters and some good close up work etc. for me to look closely at.

I would like to use to be able to use it as I do the posters, and make a pattern for my mould, etc.

The problems I seem to have is in getting the correct size to print out....checking against their measurements.

I have emailed them and they have suggested this...

The easiest way I know how to make the full size patterns is to either

import the photo's into photoshop and use the measurements to size the

photo. Or, print out a picture and take it to a zerox maching and blow

it up until you get the size right.

Any comments?

If I can't get this site to work for me, then it will have to be the posters again.

I really fancied having a good look around and picking one that I liked the look of rather than ordering a poster that I hadn't seen.

If that makes sense :)

If anyone can make suggestions..........feel free :)

Thanks

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I don't know how the outlines are drawn from the Strad posters, but drawing an outline from a photograph seems somewhat dangerous for me due the problems of distortion, camera standpoint, etc. A photograph isn't a parallel projection onto a plane, it is rather a central projection through a single point, that is the optical center of the lens.

As for the cross arches, The Luthiers Library have plenty of infos but be aware that, as far as I understand it, they just measure the height in the center for different cross archings and draw a curtate cycloid out of this info. Basically, you could do the same starting from the longitudinal arch given on a Strad poster, I think.

I like the Luthiers Library very much and have suscribed to it, but I'm not sure it is really convenient to make models. The pictures are very nice to get a better feel of how good instruments look like, though.

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Hi Sharron,

I've done many drawings for violin forms, f holes, and scrolls, for my own use.

Methods I used were :

1. Photocopy the entire book of Strad forms, then check the photocopy against the form in the book, with measurements and tracings. I have photo copies of the forms, which I can send to you if you want.

2. Make your own form based on your own drawings, use arcs and compass, it's actaually amazingly easy to do.

3. Copy an existing violin from a Strad poster, but only copy one side of the back or the front, to get some symetry.

Some extras.

A. The forms that Strad used do not follow exactly the violins that resulted....the C bouts especially.

B. Using someone elses drawing (like the one I sent you last week) is not really a bad idea after all.

c. Making a totally symetrical violin form is easy, but make it symetrical with itself, and not with a pre-existing pattern.

d. I have 14 violin forms, 7 viola forms, and two 'Cello. Plus drawings I made, AO size proffessional drawings of everything from a Cittern by Gasparo Da Salo to Le Messie, and photo copies of all the Strad violin and Viola forms.

If you require any of the above, let me know. :)

Never tried the luthiers library, as I like to make my own library, on paper.

For me, violin making is about making something that I design based on other peoples ideas, not slavishly copying.

Cheers.

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I have used the Strad posters for my last attempts and as I lack experience and can't actually get my hands on decent violins I thought about taking a

subscription to The Luthiers Library.

It seems to have more information than the Strad posters and some good close up work etc. for me to look closely at.

I would like to use to be able to use it as I do the posters, and make a pattern for my mould, etc.

The problems I seem to have is in getting the correct size to print out....checking against their measurements.

I have emailed them and they have suggested this...

The easiest way I know how to make the full size patterns is to either

import the photo's into photoshop and use the measurements to size the

photo. Or, print out a picture and take it to a zerox maching and blow

it up until you get the size right.

Any comments?

If I can't get this site to work for me, then it will have to be the posters again.

I really fancied having a good look around and picking one that I liked the look of rather than ordering a poster that I hadn't seen.

If that makes sense :)

If anyone can make suggestions..........feel free :)

Thanks

I suggest just getting a good print and taking it to a zerox. You can do a few calculations on size adjustment for enlargement, and measure it again, go up or down a percent to zero in. But make sure the instrument is not at all tilted in the photo. I find this the easiest way, and if you can get good at it, you can come up with models that there have not been Strad posters made for.

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'' But make sure the instrument is not at all tilted in the photo. ''

How do you make a photo of a Strad that is totally perfect and without distortion ?

All the Strad posters I have ever seen are imperfect, since photography itself is imperfect.

Working from photos produces a good likeness, but not real accuracy.

When I draw a thin line on tracing paper, around my finished rib garland, I can fold the tracing paper in half and the corners and edges meet up exactly.

If you must use a photo from a Strad poster for making a from, (as I did initially) then use the purfling line as a rough estimate for the outline of the form.

Remember that the corner shapes and purfling in that area, does not follow the form.

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Luthier's library has archings taken with a laser, which should be very accurate, but no outlines as far as I have seen.

I'm surprised at how few people actually use the outlines from the Strad posters, but I guess the process seems a bit involved when compared to just working off the purfling lines on a photo. John Dilworth spells out a method for working from an outline in an article you can download free from The Strad magazine's web site.

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Things are much harder for us than it was for Stradivari - he never tried to copy a Strad.

Which is not as silly as it sounds. Basically I think there are two elements involved in trying to "copy" a Strad - getting some sort of handle on the aesthetic/stylistic thing, and getting some sort of handle on the tonal thing.

No matter who or what you are, it will always be "some sort of handle", and I don't think getting the outline of a particular mold or violin perfectly reproduced will even be a good starting point, never mind anything else.

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My mother use to have a saying that she got from the bible. "You strain on a gnat and swallow a Camel". This is exactly what a lot of people do with outlines. We're not counterfeiting $100 bills, we're making violins. It is not that difficult to make a mold from the Strad poster. Weather it fits this book or that book exactly makes little difference. Even those books don't match exactly.

Berl Mendenhall

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'' But make sure the instrument is not at all tilted in the photo. ''

How do you make a photo of a Strad that is totally perfect and without distortion ?

All the Strad posters I have ever seen are imperfect, since photography itself is imperfect.

Working from photos produces a good likeness, but not real accuracy.

When I draw a thin line on tracing paper, around my finished rib garland, I can fold the tracing paper in half and the corners and edges meet up exactly.

If you must use a photo from a Strad poster for making a from, (as I did initially) then use the purfling line as a rough estimate for the outline of the form.

Remember that the corner shapes and purfling in that area, does not follow the form.

It's also the instruments that are also imperfect, so why labor over it? I guess I'm really not going for that type of "perfection" because I've never seen it in any Cremonese instrument. I think you can get a pretty good result if you just use your eyes and judgement, take a few measurements when you're done, and try not too anal. It only costs a few bucks to do a little experimenting with a zerox, which is what I continue to suggest.. But make sure that the instrument in the photo is not obviously tilted, and accept the fact that there will be some kind of distortion by reassuring yourself that you are not making a copy, and that anyone who makes instruments off of Strad posters will have small distortions as well.

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Jacob--so can you recommend a course, a direction? Can you help free makers from the fetishizing of outlines? :)

I do what everybody else does, only I don't agonize over it so much.

I mostly "derive" my half templates from the outlines (not the photos) on Strad posters. I modify them until I'm happy that the violin which will emerge just might have the characteristics of the original. In this regard I pay special attention to the corners and c-bouts, the shapes of the top and bottom curves (sometimes these are more "square", sometimes more round, etc. I also make sure that the half-template will produce a violin with the dimensions I'm aiming for, instead of going nuts trying to size an image on a computer or a copy on a copy machine.

But anyway, others in this thread have kind of echoed what I've said. I especially liked "You strain on a gnat and swallow a Camel"

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Thanks for the input.

The reason for wanting to make as near accurate templates as possible is fairly straightforward. It's a way of me seeing and learning.

When I have used the poster outlines I have chosen which half I liked better and traced that half to make my mould and when it was made

I then drew around it on paper, then flipped it over to make sure there was still only one line. That way at least I knew it was starting out

symmetrical.....the asymmetry comes so naturally to me with lack of skills :)

In the faq section of The Luthier's Library it states that patterns can be made.

I emailed them and the reply I posted in my first post.

Seemed like a good way to go if it worked as I could have tried several shapes, etc. to get my *eye* into gear.

Ben kindly sent me some of his drawings.......now I understand even better how to make a drawing rather than just tracing off a poster

the way I was doing. Thanks again Ben.

I do know and understand and don't want to make exact copies........couldn't no matter how hard I tried, but it would be great to have a

really good set of accurate templates so that I can create my slightly inaccurate ones from.

I am learning obviously all the time and feel like the proverbial sponge soaking information up.

I would like the Denis book, but I am not sure if I would understand it at this point.

Please feel free to comment further.

Thanks again.

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Your post eloquently illustrates the meaninglessness of the exercise.

No two Strads (or violins by any Cremonese maker) are exactly alike. Based on personal preference, which may or may not be informed to any degree, you choose one half of an outline.

Then you take extreme care to reproduce a template based on one half of a violin which has seen wear and tear, distortion, an unknown amount of re-forming and restoration, and try to copy that as exactly as possible. Then you proceed to make a violin based on that half template, which will more likely than not bear no resemblance to either the whole violin from which it was derived, or half of it.

So, at the end of all this, what have you achieved any other than a slight advance in computer skills or photo-copier sizing manipulation? Have you learnt anything about violin-making, violin design or even copying from this process?

I'm not trying to belittle your efforts. However, that kind of approach illustrates what elements of human nature the producers of Candid Camera depend upon for their sequences.

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Sharron

Having only looked at the site once, I just went on the LL and, though the photos are very useful, I certainly would only try to make a template from something there if it was an instrument that had no info somewhere else. Was there an instrument there that you took a particular interest in? I know they have some on there from the NMM in Vermillion, but you can get plans for some of those from them the museum. I guess my point is that you can make outlines off of photos, but if there is a Strad poster of an instrument that you like,well, go with that over info from LL on the same instrument. It's just easier. I mean that's the actual outline of an instrument, which is obviously more accurate than a photo. The archings on a Strad poster will be easier to work with if you make arching templates. I find the laser photos helpful because I use photos a lot, and like to just look at an arch and try to reproduce it w/o making a template. If you're learning, go with the easy choice. LL looks to me like it's just best as a photographic resource

Sean

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Your post eloquently illustrates the meaninglessness of the exercise.

No two Strads (or violins by any Cremonese maker) are exactly alike. Based on personal preference, which may or may not be informed to any degree, you choose one half of an outline.

Then you take extreme care to reproduce a template based on one half of a violin which has seen wear and tear, distortion, an unknown amount of re-forming and restoration, and try to copy that as exactly as possible. Then you proceed to make a violin based on that half template, which will more likely than not bear no resemblance to either the whole violin from which it was derived, or half of it.

So, at the end of all this, what have you achieved any other than a slight advance in computer skills or photo-copier sizing manipulation? Have you learnt anything about violin-making, violin design or even copying from this process?

I'm not trying to belittle your efforts. However, that kind of approach illustrates what elements of human nature the producers of Candid Camera depend upon for their sequences.

I find your post a little harsh :)

I lack experience of course, the way I learn is to copy something I can look at closely which in my case are pictures/posters.

Believe me I know *how* I learn........mainly by just doing it, hands on.......understanding comes after the doing for me. I can look back and look again *penny drops* hurrah :)

What do I learn?........I learn to be able to see differences, understand processes and learn technical abilities to achieve more likenesses.

If I could hold it in my hand I would call it *touchy feely* but I can't so I can only look.

As to half templates......well I don't have a lot of option of knowing which side is the best side so I would choose the side with the least distortion. Really I only want the half template to make a mould from. The outline wouldn't have the corners worn and the overhang would hopefully be as even as I could get it.

Computer skills??????

I don't know what you are talking about, or photo copying.......I haven't done any of that so far. Everything I have done has been with the strad posters and paper, pencils and rubbers :)

How come Candid Camera comes into it?

Phew........you're not making it easy for me to learn if I can't use anything to copy off Jacob. We all have to start somewhere.

Ben has sent me some of his drawings and has offered me more......I am eternally grateful to Ben, he has shown me how he does his drawings......but I need to get the feel for doing them myself.

Any learning process takes time. I have helped many many people to learn to see and understand in my other hobby. Some people race ahead and others stick......but mostly given time and enthusiasm all get there in the end. What I do know is you have to see the *big* picture, but we all need to see the little bits that go into making that picture *big* and generally people focus on what they can understand at that time........

Sean,

I cannot look and see what I would like to choose from the strad posters as I can't leaf through them. The Luthier's Library won't let you look through theirs unless you are a member. It only lets you look at a demo and I like the idea of browsing through lots of instruments.

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I sympathise Sharron, the desire to learn can sometimes seem to be unwittingly extinguished by others who are happy, with what they already know.

Suffice to say, violin making is like photography and cooking, no question is silly, it's just the answers that are ! :)

There is a difference between designing and copying.

If you design your own form and stick to that then that's dandy.

Copying an existing form is also dandy.

Confusing the two is not dandy !

Put simply, the maker needs an objective or goal to attain, in a given time using given skills tools and mateirals.

Being confused does not help. :)

What kind of form are you planning on using ?

Perhaps you could start a new thread on that.

I like using a one piece form.

I say, make yourself a cracking & symetrical form using walnut, mahogany, MDF, or whatever you like.

Then make your violin, and forget posters untill you finish your violin.

When the violin is finished, take a few good photos, and make yourself a Shaz poster !

Then send me a copy.......

Cheers. :)

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I differ in that I do not use a half pattern to make a form. Because my garland is still on the mold when it is glued to the back, my form reflects the asymmetry from the strad it is based upon.

Ben,

Your recent pictures show a 2-piece mold. Are you going back to a 1-piece? If so, do you mind if I ask why? I haven't used a 1-piece, so I'd be interested in your answer.

CB

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C.B.

I use one piece and two piece forms.

13 of my 14 violin forms are one piece affairs.

Nothing wrong with either method really.

With the two piece forms you use, you get a very good flat rib structure, square and flush etc.

With the 18mm one piece, I can get both sets of linings in.

I have finalised my clamping methods, I use the Newark block and the Cremona dowels and rubber bands, all together. (sounds like a terrible affliction).

If you like, you could use your two piece form in two pieces to make two one piece forms..... :)

Which violin is your form based on ?

Cheers.

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There is a difference between designing and copying.

If you design your own form and stick to that then that's dandy.

Copying an existing form is also dandy.

Confusing the two is not dandy !

Put simply, the maker needs an objective or goal to attain, in a given time using given skills tools and mateirals.

Being confused does not help. B)

''Really I only want the half template to make a mould from.''

You are barking up ther wrong tree mate !

You need to make the form FIRST, then the corner shapes come from that.

First make a drawing and calculate the shapes accurately.

If you make your ourline first then try to make a form to fit inside it,

you'll be making a chicken for an egg............and the egg won't hatch easily.

Like I said befroe, the corner shapes do not fit the form exactly, you need to make a few

violins to understand that.

What kind of form are you planning on using ?

Perhaps you could start a new thread on that.

I like using a one piece form.

I say, make yourself a cracking & symetrical form using walnut, mahogany, MDF, or whatever you like.

Then make your violin, and forget posters untill you finish your violin.

When the violin is finished, take a few good photos, and make yourself a Shaz poster !

Then send me a copy.......

Cheers. :)

I have not made an outside template ever Ben.

I just drew the inside mould template without any corners and checked against the poster measurements to make sure they would be correct allowing for ribs and overhang.

When the mould has been made I have then, so far that is, cut and glued the blocks and freehand drew the corner shapes until they looked okay to me.

Remember I said to me

Then when the ribs and linings have been fitted I then have drawn around the finished garland (obviously corners,etc. have been trimmed).

That is my mark for getting top and bottom glued on......then I have taken a washer and drawn another line around and then cut the top and back out.

As you can see I haven't strictly followed a pattern yet.

My current one is a cross between a poster and someones top only corner violin and will be cornerless. I always fancied a cornerless and this is my first attempt at making something fairly freehand.

So.....I wanted to take it one step further and while this one is in the making........have a look for my next one with corners again and see if I can get things tighter.

The way I see this is with the posters now.

I have no chance of making a copy and wouldn't want to.......but to have something to inspire me I have to like the look of it.......don't know what it would sound like so I can't worry about that side.

Because I can't see instruments first hand Luthier's Library seemed to provide good shots of various instruments, which would have been great if I could have used a print out like I would a poster.

Everything so far has been with pencil, rubber and paper and will continue that way. I honestly can't see how I can make a mould template without something to trace around first though unless I start with compasses and stuff........great later but my brain won't take that at the moment.

Until I can see more details I will just keep plodding on.

I have always said that by no. 6 my skills should be starting to get familiar with the processes.

By no 12 I will probably have evened out *my* quality of building.......THEN......I will start to begin to understand and be able to take in more detailed information.

Moulds I have made have been destroyed each time........no point in keeping something when I want to improve.

So they have been mainly one piece MDF or good quality ply/blockboard. I prefer the MDF though. Each time I have changed clamping positions/ thicknesses to get the feel so that I can make a *keeper* eventually in something more aesthetically pleasing but stable.

All I was asking for at the beginning is simply posters or Luthier's Library (if I could print so it was like a poster).

I understand different shapes/archings, etc. but I really can only go one step at a time. :)

You have to also remember what it is like to learn........people forget very easily........and everyone has to learn, they are not born with the information, it is aquired.

Yes Ben you are right in that I am actually using an outline for a basic dimension mould and then ..................

Watch this space :)

Cheers to you too Ben.

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