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What's on your bench?

Craig Tucker

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Hi Craig,

I am currently working on #9 also using slab cut quilted (soft?) maple ribs and a slab quilted (soft?) maple back. The neck will be cut on the quarter so the pattern will be on the bottom rather than the sides. I am getting little bits of tear out on the back so I am going to finish the arching with just sandpaper followed by a final gentle scraping with some very flexible scrapers. I used my oscillating sander to thickness the ribs to a thickness of ~1.25 mm with willow linings at ~2.2 mm. I have not started graduating the back but I will leave a bit thicker in the middle ... guessing at 5.5 mm. It will depend on its flexibility and tap tone.

Ribs and neck quilt?

You're one brave soul...

Nice quilt you got there.

My rough arching is coming along - what I love about quilt (other than the blister that shows on some of the better quilt) is the way the grain lines (Annual rings) shows up like a topographic map...

A very different look than quartered wood.


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There was a guy here for a few years that designed a "new" bridge (Tim2 was his name IIRC) that remind me a lot of the direction you're headed in with some of your bridges. I think you'd like his bridge design for aesthetic reasons.

I never did hold out much hope for the "superior" design taking over the violin world, but on the other hand, they were designed with an artistic eye and were very elegant. I really liked the way they looked - the wood choice and everything else, looks wise was very nicely done.

At the time, I couldn't get him to part with one for love nor for money, as, at that time I was interested in trying a few of them on some of my violins and repairs, etc.

Eventually, I realized that there was something else going on other than an attempt to market them or to get any feedback, so I gave up trying. Asking about getting a hold of one for use, seemed to irritate him more than anything else. (oh well)

I wonder if there are any old posts of his around with photos, or, if he continued on and decided at some point to actually make them available to the public. (Anyone?)

IIRC there was some sort of training required in order to fit them "properly".

I hate all of the modern sound byte, crapola coolspeak, (almost as much as I hate using emoticons…) but your designs really are "outside the box..."

Cool designs, beautiful work.

Thanks Craig

I know I've been barking up a lot of wrong trees lately (cedar and fir), but I still like the hunt and get lucky once in a while. The bridge experiments got started from a conversation with a mechanical engineer in India who is also a Maestronet Forum fan. He mentioned that it would be nice to separate the E and A strings from the D and G from a hertz standpoint. That along with all the forum discussions going on about densities, ankle size, and weights captured my interest. So far I've not bettered the ones made from elk horn with the two piece Maple experiments.

I enjoy being in the Maestronet school, and I'm now in the market for a good piece of Sitka. Who knows I might even make a real violin some day.



The big fish eat the little fish and... still looking for a copy of Wizerhammer and Stripman... post-30701-0-54031600-1298119294_thumb.jpgpost-30701-0-31998900-1298119258_thumb.jpgpost-30701-0-20158000-1298093885_thumb.jpg

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CT... interesting that it's a slab two piece?


Halved and bookmatched - I got several such billets from Orcas Island a few years back.

Some are heavy quilt (decoration), some are medium (like this one). This one isn't the most decorative piece I've ever seen, but it is wood that fairly well screams "Make a violin out of me!" it's dense and very stable, resonant wood.

When I look at some of the plainer old Italien instruments around, I used to wonder why the maker would have chosen a plainer wood over a more decorative piece.

By the way, I like the bigleaf rib material you showed - If it was side by side with some bigleaf ribstock I recently picked up, it would match perfectly...

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Right now, on my bench, is a 3/4 HP motor.

It came from my lathe.

I took it off because I'm getting a new bandsaw that has a 5 HP, 220V, 3-phase motor.

I don't have 3-phase power.

Or 220 V... at least, anywhere convieniently close to where the bandsaw will be.

But I'm not using the lathe motor for that... I have a variable speed motor on my old bandsaw I want to use.

Then, to sell my old bandsaw, I should have a motor on it.

I've been meaning to convert my lathe to variable speed using a motor I accumulated for that purpose a while ago.

So then I cold put the old lathe motor on my old bandsaw.

But the lathe motor has a special pulley on it.

And the bore of the pulley is smaller than the shaft of the motor I want to put it on.

No problem... I just have to bore it out.

With my lathe.

Which needs the pulley to run.


Yes, I'm certifiably nuts. I made myself that way.

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I have a figured cherry viola back, very roughly roughed in, that looks like light marbling or quilting. Cool wood just begs to be made into something. Why not violins? I agree with you CT, why use plain wood.


Very nice wood.

Cherry works well, in particular for viola.

I'll see your cherry and raise you one set of flamed, quartered black walnut...

I've been sitting on this set for the last twenty years or so, waiting for the right customer to come along.

There is a bookmatched set and neck block - I have seperate piece for ribstock around here somewhere.


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OK, Craig...I'm partway there. Here are photos of the viola and violin, as I promised...I still have no photos of the completed violin. I'll try to do that later.




There is still a great deal to be done on these, including repairing where I carved through the purfling...but overall, I am pleased with how they are turning out.

The viola is Red Maple, and the violin Bigleaf. Both are Sitka tops, but the violin is about 60 years old, or so, as the guy who gave it to me bought it 45 years ago, as old wood at the time.

(Edit: I got looking at them again, and realized that the viola top is actually Englemann...it is a different viola (also incomplete) that has the Sitka top. Sorry. It DID come from Tepper tonewood though...)


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This is how my workbench looked a few days ago. This is an electric fretless bass guitar that I'm building for a friend. The neck is cherry and the body is beetle kill pine. For the pickup I am just using a couple piezo elements in order to get an acoustic bass sound rather than an electric bass sound. This weekend I got the first coat of finish on the body. I went simple and just used a mixture of boiled linseed oil and tung oil. This dries quickly and doesn't attract dust or fingerprints. I have an electric guitar finished this same way and after about a year of regular use it is doing great.

The other picture isn't technically my workbench but since most of my house is essentially a workshop, I'll count my livingroom floor as shop space. Three halfbuilt electric guitars, one guitar body that wasn't cut out to my satisfaction, and a fully varnished violin waiting for a fingerboard and setup.



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OK, Craig...I'm partway there. Here are photos of the viola and violin, as I promised...I still have no photos of the completed violin. I'll try to do that later.

The viola is Red Maple, and the violin Bigleaf. Both are Sitka tops, but the violin is about 60 years old, or so, as the guy who gave it to me bought it 45 years ago, as old wood at the time.


Very cool Chet, are you taking them to the VMAAI?

Thanks for the photos.

As I have mentioned here before, Bigleaf and Sitka are my favorite woods. I'm keen on buying what is available locally or what is grown domestically..

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My "Strainer" is ready to be varnish. I will snap pictures later. It's a hoot. I also have the final coat of varnish drying on a cheap French Strad the I decorated with a pattern that I posted a long time ago.

Since I have two projects nearly in the can, I cracked open another one (top repair), and found this inside. The entire rib garland is made of one long ribbon of maple, rounded corners like a cornerless violin. The "linings" are part of the rib profile, a ] shape cross section, routed into the rib stock. The whole thing is constructed like a cornerless violin with matching grain maple corners applied (was impossible to tell until the top was off). The upper and lower bocks are also applied on the exterior of the ribs with matching maple -- very strange -- smart and stupid at the same time. This was made by GIEB of Chicago. It seems more like furniture than a violin.


check out the f hole pattern drawn in dark rosin


I may not love every aspect of NYC, but I got this stone for $10 at a street market... clean on boths sides!


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