priya

violin linings

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While looking in to various old violins I see a variety of linings, some spruce, some willow and others beech or a combination of the above. Is there some significant attached to the lining choice.

And what is up with the moulds?

I hear people talk about an inside mould and an outside mould but but when you are looking at a finished violin how can you tell which mould was used?

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With an inside mold, there is usually some slight cupping of the wood as it dries, like a very slight version of a parenthesis... (. With an outside mold, the entire width of the side is supported as it dries, so no cupping. As for the linings, I don't know. I think they're usually spruce, but I have heard some makers have used willow. I've heard willow was Strad's choice for blocks (and linings?). I used spruce (Englemann) on my #1 (in progress)...

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While there are some instruments that are easy to put in the outside mold category, others are harder.

The easy ones are the ones with really long rib mitres, frequently without corner blocks. Because the blocks,if present, are added after the ribs are put together, sometimes there are smaller indicators. Sometimes you'll see a clamping mark in the middle of the corner block. Sometimes the linings run very deep into the upper and lower blocks. I worked on a very early Roth last year, with the back off you could see that the blocks only touched the back where you can see when the back is attached, and this was the first indicator I had that Roths were made that way. There are many Italian instruments, such as those from Genoa and Ferarra in the 20th century, that employed outside molds, as well as French violins. It would be a mistake to assume that the use of outside molds is bad.

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Beech is often used by Neapolitan makers in both linings and purfling, esp. the latter. I would have to urge caution on this subject for two reasons. Most of these woods were used by makers of different countries, and not always consistently. Also, details like choice of lining wood are the easiest for a copyist.

So, observe the linings, as well as the blocks ( size, shape), but don't rule an instrument in or out onthis one feature

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While looking in to various old violins I see a variety of linings, some spruce, some willow and others beech or a combination of the above. Is there some significant attached to the lining choice.

Beech is the easiest to bend but the hardest to carve, it's my lining wood of choice. I also like how the top and back can be removed with less chance of damage to the linings.

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Hi,

I use willow linings for my first violin and find it quite easy to work with, it seems light and is bending easily. Don't have any experience with other lining woods, do they have the same properties?

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Ben, balsa is too soft, I think, but I think that Paulownia wood (known as Kiri in Japan) would be quite nice for blocks and linings, it is very very light and quite strong.

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i have consistently found italian looking violins with willow liners that my appraiser was sure were german, so i dont think you can identify a country by the liners, never seen beech though in old violins.... :)

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ive heard several people reccomend cricket bat wood for a source of willow, not the surface area treated with linseed oil though.... especially if you want wood that is already 'played in'!!!!!

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cb fiddler, bass wood is an american wood, deader and lighter (less dense) than the european equivalent lime or linden, which would be fairly similar to willow in density, from clavichord research the nearest tonal equivalent to european lime in us woods would be poplar, the denser the better. clavichords historically had limewood keys and many american makers substituted the much lighter basswood with dismal results, bass wood is not a tonewood in my opinion :)

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HI Ben,

I know you are in Ireland, I'm in Arizona and I just haven't been able to track down willow. So where do you get your willow, in your garden?

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I use what we call "Lind" in Norwegian. Latin: Tilia cordata, Wikipedia link

It's fine for booth linings and blocks. Light weight, easy to work and has a lovely smell.

Cut it 23 years ago, close to my workshop, and still use it!

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lind is the lime or linden i was talking about used for clavichord keys, there is none in america, just basswood which is much lighter, the whole allure of real willow is its flexibility, i would try some violin supply house or tonewood suppliers, someones got to sell willow, or you can look for some brits playing cricket and ask for an old broken cricket bat, there made of willow, sincerely lyndon

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The wood for Cricket bats is compressed, to give it extra resilience.

Not good for blocks, I'd say.

Besides, there's not much wood in a cricket bat.

Hi Ben,

The cricket bat is not compressed but is made from the lower part of the blue willow. All English cricket bats are made from trees that are grown from cuttings of one particular tree since the 18th century!

The most abundant willow in the Uk is the crack willow. The wood is very light. The bottom of the trunk is strong and resilient, ideal for linings or blocks. Higher up the trunk is good for blocks.

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