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Sanding vs. planing?


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I know that violins are shaped by planing the wood surface. What are the reasons that sanding is not done?

Because it is not the proper tool for the job, in the same way a sculptor wouldn't sand a sculpture into existence unless he had lots of sandpaper and a few extra years.

Sanding can be used in conjunction with other tools but it is not really used as the main tool - unless you want to give it a try?

(just kidding - it's not a good idea)

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Just to be slightly more helpful, the accepted wisdom is that it doesn't leave as good a surface as planing and scraping. It can certainly spoil crisp edges as well. Most people aren't adverse to sanding down blocks to height or cleaning linings with sandpaper. But surface work is usually finished with scrapers.

Try sanding a piece of maple and then scraping the other half to see the difference.

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Just to be slightly more helpful, the accepted wisdom is that it doesn't leave as good a surface as planing and scraping

This topic came up recently elsewhere. In reiteration, sanding is a continuum. You cannot properly compare a sanded surface to a scraped surface without defining the grit one stops at. Available sandpaper runs from 40 grit to 12 000 grit, and everything in between will present a different finish on wood. Going as high as one can will leave a mirror like finish on most bare woods. I am not advocating sandpaper over scraping, but only indicating that comparing the two is like comparing apples to fruit.

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...comparing the two is like comparing apples to fruit.

more like 'prunes'.

Just to be a little more helpful, some of the older texts on violinmaking advocate the repeated 'wet and sand' approach to achieve the smoothest substrate for the ground/varnish.

Sanding can also produce a different 'winter-to-summer growth' surface texture on spruce.

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You missed the point. Prunes do not form a class. I understood your intent regardless, but those who ridicule sandpaper simply do not have enough experience in its use. It is a tool like any other, and thus requires plenty of experimentation to understand all of its properties. In inexperienced or impatient hands, the effect is unsatisfactory, particularly for violins, but that does not mean it is not possible for one to use it to good effect, if so inclined.

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You missed the point. Prunes do not form a class. I understood your intent regardless, but those who ridicule sandpaper simply do not have enough experience in its use. It is a tool like any other, and thus requires plenty of experimentation to understand all of its properties. In inexperienced or impatient hands, the effect is unsatisfactory, particularly for violins, but that does not mean it is not possible for one to use it to good effect, if so inclined.

Absolutely -

The myth that sandpaper should never touch a violin is just that.

I love sandpaper - and use it frequently, but really, it must be used in conjunction with other tools, and, for me it is usually used (specifically talking about the plates here) after planing but before scraping.

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It was determined in another thread that Stradivari didn't use sandpaper, however Pinnochio was prescribed, and used to good effect, sandpaper by Gepetto. :)

Because Stradivari didn't use sandpaper, using it would be breaking out of the Cremonese method of building.

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Depends. Which part of the violin are you talking about? I use sandpaper for some parts like the edgework, planes and scrapers for others. One tool isn't appropriate for everything.

ff holes too can be cleaned up with files and sandpaper - plus the scroll chamfer - etc.

Though again, reliance on strictly sandpaper, probably wouldn't be a great idea.

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I'm only repeating the reason given by the condemnants of sanpaper; I use it wherever a scraper fails to leave the desired final finish.

I slowly changed my mind about the running sandpaper myth, when I started really examining the various Strad posters for myself - and then, there was that stunning cover photo (Strad - Feb 2009) showing the Titian scoll.

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Absolutely -

The myth that sandpaper should never touch a violin is just that.

I love sandpaper - and use it frequently, but really, it must be used in conjunction with other tools, and, for me it is usually used (specifically talking about the plates here) after planing but before scraping.

I couldn't have said it better.

Mike

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Why not use sandpaper... because it rips the fibers instead of cutting them, thus making the wood less reflective.

As for sandpaper being used on older instruments - almost impossible to tell but highly likely... not necessarily the makers intent (because the violins have passed through so many hands and generations) but those of some repair person.

I do use sandpaper on post patches, and things like that, but I always follow up with a final scrape to get a clean cut.

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Anally retentive? Anally concerned to do a good job not a cheap quick one?Anally traditional as opposed to anally modern? Possibly. Hey, the world is full of all sorts of people. I think those who don't like tradition don't have the requisite skills to use the old techniques to their advantage. Or maybe not the patience to use them.

Who knows? Who cares? You will see I was referring to final finishing not pre-finishing if you open your eyes and don't read selectively.

Mock on, oh ye of little faith. Long may your Chinese factory machine-like creations please you. I can see where the danger of allowing sandpaper to be dissed could lead. God only knows, the next thing people could be telling you not to use power sanders, power planers, routers and band-saws on your "hand made" violins. Heaven forbid!

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There you go again using that word with which you are far too fascinated. To those who recognize the truth, your euphemism is used excusively by those of careless and lazy thought in order to identify other persons who have inordinately keen powers of perception and/or a penchant for high precision in all things, including speech. Thus there is no indignity in being the target of such a base insult. In fact, those who use the term frequently are merely frustrated with their insuperable limits in cognition, but why add one shame to another.

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I didn't mean using sandpaper for the entire shaping job, just for some of the finishing touches. In the past I had been told that sandpaper was never to be used, and the crushed and torn fibers of sanded wood vs. the clean cut fibers of planed and scraped was the reason given then. I have finished gun stocks with increasingly fine sandpapers ending with rouge paper and 0000 steel wool, and then "boned" the surface (taking a chicken bone or a ceramic rod and rubbing repeatedly over the wood surface to smooth it to an almost mirror-like finish). Now, that was for gun stocks, not for violins! I assumed that for violins, "boning" would compress the wood fibers and perhaps interfere with the proper vibration of the surface. But, to me, sanding as a final stage seemed a better way to get a very smooth finish (especially if using rouge and 0000 steel wool).

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Who knows? Who cares? You will see I was referring to final finishing not pre-finishing if you open your eyes and don't read selectively.

Here is your Post #4:

"Just to be slightly more helpful, the accepted wisdom is that it doesn't leave as good a surface as planing and scraping. It can certainly spoil crisp edges as well. Most people aren't adverse to sanding down blocks to height or cleaning linings with sandpaper. But surface work is usually finished with scrapers.

Try sanding a piece of maple and then scraping the other half to see the difference. "

Where do you refer to finishing and not pre-finishing?

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There you go again using that word with which you are far too fascinated.

If this is to me...I will not let this pass because you missed the point again.

I am against narrow mindedness and fully embrace the principle of the 'right tool for the right job'.

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Here is yoor Post #4:

"Just to be slightly more helpful, the accepted wisdom is that it doesn't leave as good a surface as planing and scraping. It can certainly spoil crisp edges as well. Most people aren't adverse to sanding down blocks to height or cleaning linings with sandpaper. But surface work is usually finished with scrapers.

Try sanding a piece of maple and then scraping the other half to see the difference. "

Where for you refer to finishing and not pre-finishing?

Er...See your quote of my post above. "Surface work is usually finished with scrapers." Clearer?

Not sure whom the post was aimed at about the "anally" thing, the original poster or me? In my case I was using it somewhat ironically in reply. I wasn't insulted anyway, it was obviously flame bait. I just like to fan those flames a bit, it's the best way to respond to them. It does however mean that those who can't see what's going on take some of the things said too seriously :-)

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If this is to me...I will not let this pass because you missed the point again.

I am against narrow mindedness and fully embrace the principle of the 'right tool for the right job'.

And it is usually me who is accused of being too subtle. But the observations on the derogatory term's common use has to stand. There is no reason why inordinately fussy people should be so labelled, and narrow mindedness is an illness unto its own, thus I can only discourage its use, entirely.

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