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Scroll eye with carved cross...

b sharp

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A friend showed me a very pretty violin with this curious detail: on each scroll eye there is a tiny carved cross. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me.

I vaguely remember reading about this somewhere (might have been here), but my searches didn't produce anything. Can anybody point me in the right direction?

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  • 5 months later...

Hi All - that sketch took me right back to 1957 - 1st year Engineering Drawing class.

Dug out my copy of French & Vierck and opened it at Involutes - and I quote...

"An involute is the spiral curve traced by a point on a taut cord unwinding from around a polygon or circle."

Trying to do that with an Indian ink filled nib was an excercise in frustration and messed up paper.

So we cheated and went cheap and nasty - approximating the spiral by drawing successive arcs with a pair of compasses (why a pair?) with the the corners of the polygon as the centre of each arc.

Cross my palm with silver and I'll draw and post you a sketch or two :-)

You are not restricted to a square - a pentagon or hexagon would work even better. The size of the polygon determines the rapidity with which the spiral unwinds.

cheers edi

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That's very interesting. I saw a violin on ebay a few days ago with a cross in the centre of the eye. I recall thinking it was odd there were no dots left and that the eye was hexagonal (or some irregular shape with facets, I didn't count). Now I know the probable reason why. I thought it was just bad/odd workmanship, but obviously there was a method to the madness :-)

Thanks for that useful engineering snippet.

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