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What's on your bench?


Craig Tucker

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I'm still in the "thinking about it" stage, with regard to home-made purfling...

Is hand made, hand dyed, wood purfling really worth the time and effort?

Yes, it is!

It's a lot of fun making it! Do it together with a friend, it's easier and even more fun!

And it gives one more dimension to your instrument!

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I am also trying to get better in cutting and cleaning of the purfling channel for violin number 5. Still lots of room for improvement but I am getting better and I actually was able to glue the purfling directly this time with not too much fuss. the number four violin received the weld lake glazing and a coat of mastic varnish.

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I'm still in the "thinking about it" stage, with regard to home-made purfling...

Is hand made, hand dyed, wood purfling really worth the time and effort?

Never made my own. Instead I buy premade wood purfling and the cut my purfling channel slightly too small. Then I scrape the blacks of the purfling until it fits. I scrape semi-randomly on both sides of the purfling to introduce thickness variations to the blacks. Of course if anyone looks close enough they'll see that the white line is of a uniform thickness but once they see the unevenness in the blacks they'll still think it was handmade purfling.

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Looks like another pretty fiddle coming up, Craig!

Thanks Chet!

I hope so, we'll see.

I am finishing a new viola, I named it "La Cathédrale Engloutie", after Debussy's prelude.

Manfio, superb work as usual - I love that varnish. I am also a fan of a deep channel.

I am also trying to get better in cutting and cleaning of the purfling channel for violin number 5. Still lots of room for improvement but I am getting better and I actually was able to glue the purfling directly this time with not too much fuss. the number four violin received the weld lake glazing and a coat of mastic varnish.

Looking good robertdo - It's a real Bee-itch, getting it right, isn't it?

The more I study the problems with my violins, the more I realize how poorly I usually join the black/white/black strips there at the corners, and that really detracts quite a bit, even if the purfling channel isn't that far off...

Then again, there's the way the purfling angles away from the *line* there at the corner, where the sting happens, towards the inner bout, but still, if you pull it off, it looks exactly right - one misstep, though, and it all looks awkward as heck.

Then there's getting the even spacing all the way around.

and then there's the...

and the...

The fact is that I did purfle this back today, but I am going to re-purfle it again tomorrow. This time I'm not setteling for any poorly joined, or mismatched corners...

Part of what I love about making violins is that there is so much to perfect. I can think of no other task where I have to force myself to sit still and think everything through to this degree.

I am also continually impressed with how much minute changes can alter the look of the whole to a huge extent.

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Indeed getting a violin made is one thing but when you really want to get every detail right it becomes difficult and challenging at the same time. It's what I am looking for. I am sure there will be a time when I will see a real and aesthetic bee sting in the corners of my violin... :)

P.S. the 2 people who played my third violin were impressed by the G and D string and I am not sure to know what I did for that. Is the bass bar the main culprit?

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...the 2 people who played my third violin were impressed by the G and D string and I am not sure to know what I did for that. Is the bass bar the main culprit?

I'd say arching and graduation, with bass bar a distant third.

On my bench today, Snakfiddle II has some tea and shellac on, and it's starting to look like something.

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Not quite on the bench, but nearby, I have 4 sets of top wood that just came out of the chamber yesterday (that blazing white slab is what the unprocessed wood looks like).

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I'm continuing to play around with processing parameters, and this time was almost a disaster, with cracks and shrinkage at the edges. The wood was thick enough so I can still get tops out of at least 3, and maybe all of them. For those who like numbers, one of the slabs measured RR=20 and Q=180. That's at zero moisture content, so it will come down, but still higher than anything I've measure so far. The maple is cooking now... at much milder conditions, and mostly to get some color.

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4 sets of bigleaf maple came out of the chamber this morning, nicely tanned but not toasted:

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... after which I put a filler/ground coat on Snakefiddle II, mostly to fill in all the grain gaps and tearout in the wild back maple. It's now in the lightbox.

None of this stuff is "on my bench", as the bench is covered with junk. And you may have noticed that the maple was laid out on a bandsaw table, and no, I didn't resaw it. There was no other available horizontal surface available for the photo. That brings up another project:

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... which arrived last night. It will take a couple of days to switch motors and convert it to variable speed, but I want to finish Snakefiddle II first.

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Don, I really like your bandsaw!

Manfio, Again I must say your violin varnishing is excellent! ... Are you still using your same method?

Craig, I am working on the inside graduation of the back plate. Any advice from experienced luthiers who have used quilted maple would be appreciated. This is my first experience with quilted maple. I am looking for a strong loud sound. The back is 110 gm with central thickness of 5.5 mm and with upper and lower bouts at 3.0 mm. The tap tone is 347 hz (a tad under F.

Should it be thinned further?

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Will a tall or a low bass bar give a better G and D, do you think?

My initial impression was: it's hard to say. A stiffer bass bar might get more area in motion, but at the cost of reduced admittance and higher mass. So it's hard to say which factors might win out. Then I cheated and looked at your correlation tables, and saw that there weren't any clear trends in low frequency response vs. bassbar height.

OK, so drop the bassbar importance a couple of more notches... with respect to low string fundamental frequencies.

Don, I really like your bandsaw!

Me too, that's why I bought it. So now I can stop thinking about any upgrades, as this is the biggest one that will fit in my shop (although I still think a 42" Tannewitz looks like a lovely machine :rolleyes: ).

The back is 110 gm with central thickness of 5.5 mm and with upper and lower bouts at 3.0 mm. The tap tone is 347 hz (a tad under F.

Should it be thinned further?

I would vote no.

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The back is 110 gm with central thickness of 5.5 mm and with upper and lower bouts at 3.0 mm. The tap tone is 347 hz (a tad under F.

Should it be thinned further?

I have only made violas with quilted maple backs, but I guess your back is thin enough. I prefer being on the thick side than on the thin side. Later thinning is always possible.

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Craig, I am working on the inside graduation of the back plate. Any advice from experienced luthiers who have used quilted maple would be appreciated. This is my first experience with quilted maple. I am looking for a strong loud sound. The back is 110 gm with central thickness of 5.5 mm and with upper and lower bouts at 3.0 mm. The tap tone is 347 hz (a tad under F.

Should it be thinned further?

Nice quilt, catnip - nice looking plate.

110 was what I used as a standard for the back for many years - 68 for the belly. (information from notes from some long forgotten VMAAI lecture...) Now I often go lower.

With my quilt, since it is unusually dense - perhaps I will go below that and to somewhere around 2.8 or even 2.7 at the extremities - I don't really know till I get there and flex and tap.

But those figures are well within the normal range. Hard to say over the phone.

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