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1st Cello Build; (Modelled after the 1712 "Davidov" Strad)


COB3
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OK...I think this is the last color coat (a golden amber)-- I may add a clear coat tomorrow-- or not. But I hope to have it playable by this weekend. I have all the fittings and so forth, thouh I will have to make a shaper for the end pin assembly-- I have the reamer, but no shaper to match it. No problem, there...it is pretty easy to make the shaper.

The rest of the tools are ready to go. I'm always a little nervous about this stage, because it is patently so easy to foul things up, after so much work. But (I comfort myself) I know how to repair such things, so...press on.

Here is what the cello looks like tonight. These were taken without a flash, hoping to get closer to what it really looks like-- the photos still have turned out brighter than real life. This is not a glow-in-the-dark cello. I don't know how to get an accurate photo. It is a clear, dark amber color all over. I like it, though the original was MUCH darker.

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I notice that the apparent color changes with the light and background-- so maybe there is a way to make the camera give an accurate image, in terms of color. Anyway...the next photos should have fittings and strings, I hope.

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Yes...beyond the propolis, which provided the underlying brown, I used a reddish purple spirit mix. The transtint colors I used are red and something called "Cordovan" or some such thing. It was a dark purplish brown. I only put about three drops of the red into the mix, and several of the cordovan, and it made a very dark red-brown in the jar, leaning toward purple or maroon, or something. It spreads thinly enough that it is easy to control how dark it gets on the wood; but go easy on the red-- pink is sort of a forbidden color in fiddles-- automatic rejection nearly guaranteed.

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Turned out there were some rough spots in the varnish on the back, so I sanded just the back and added one more thin coat of the amber varnish, using a very smooth camel-hair brush. Then, after that had dried, I gave the entire instrument a final clear coat.

So--tomorrow, depending on some other things (I'm having work done on two of our vehicles, so I have to go pick up one, and drop off the other...I may not be home very early), I hope to install the FB tomorrow night, and maybe the saddle. I will still be shooting for having the cello set up by this weekend. But life happens... and sometimes overturns the best laid plans.

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Turns out the car's troubles are of the terminal type...I will baby it along until I can get another, but it is on its way out. (Those of you familiar with my ugly little Toyota wagon can join me in mourning its passing. :) Still getting 32 mpg, but the transmission is just about toast. And with only 402,000 miles, too...what a pity!)

I have the fingerboard, endpin and soundpost in place-- the nut is shaped and ready to install, but no string grooves filed, yet. Same for the bridge. I had hoped to have strings on it last night, but we had a community picnic to attend, so I didn't. Possibly tonight...

The endpin was very easy-- I drilled a 1/8" pilot hole, then followed it through with a 3/4" spade bit, specially sharpened to eliminate tear-outs, and finally reamed it to take the endpin assembly.

The pegs went quite smoothly, too. I found one of the cheeks I had cut from the pegbox, and laid out the holes on it, then drilled them at 1/4". I used that cheek, clamped to the pegbox, to establish the correct location and angle for the holes, and drilled all the way through from one side. Then I reamed, set the shaper to match the reamer, and proceeded. They look nice, and seem to turn well...have just the amount of resistance I want in a peg.

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Well...this is as far as I am going tonight, I think. The bridge in the photos is not the final bridge...I was halfway done fitting the bridge, and realized I was running out of steam and daylight simultaneously, so I used an old Teller adjustable that was lying in a drawer, and it worked well enough. I'll replace it with the real deal tomorrow, I hope. Meanwhile, here is the finished instrument. Thirteen weeks from conception to completion.

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My thanks to all of you who watched, and encouraged me. I hope you enjoyed the show. There are numerous flaws, but I attempted to be transparent about them as they happened. Probably the next one will be better. I think I would like the color better if it was darker. I thought it was OK, but perhaps some of the color was not as stable as I thought-- it seems pretty light, now. That's OK. If it really bugs me I can add more color later. For the moment it is complete.

Thanks again.

Chet

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Thanks, Ernie.

Gonna have to wait on the five string for a bit...I am supposed to deliver a show-and-tell on this cello in September, and I have yet to prepare the slide-show. I'm not a real high-tech sort, so that sort of stuff is a little intimidating. (PowerPoint, etc.)

I have done it, and I know I can do this; I'd just rather build an instrument than take a lot of pictures, and do a photo-essay. Many of the photos I took for this thread will be used in the slideshow, so that part is mostly done. Anyhow...that has to take priority.

Also need to get in firewood, repair a generator, repair a porch, etc., etc.

Chet

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My thanks to all of you who watched, and encouraged me. I hope you enjoyed the show. There are numerous flaws, but I attempted to be transparent about them as they happened. Probably the next one will be better. I think I would like the color better if it was darker. I thought it was OK, but perhaps some of the color was not as stable as I thought-- it seems pretty light, now. That's OK. If it really bugs me I can add more color later. For the moment it is complete.

Thanks again.

Chet

Hey that's my whole life story there! :blink::lol:

Thanks for the most enjoyable thread, and remember 'Hope springs Eternal'.

Thanks again!!! ;)

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Chet,

Thank you for sharing your cello building process with us. - warts and all (!)

From the pictures, I like the color.

I have immensely enjoyed the pictures, your narrative and your humility.

I too am looking forward to seeing something about the upcoming five-string.

Blessings, Jonathan

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Thanks, my friend. Dr. Todd has volunteered to help with a video/audio (whatever) of the sound. The five-string, as I said, may have to wait a bit. Priorities are starting to stack up against it.

Though there were certain frustrating experiences within the overall journey, I think I enjoyed building this instrument possibly more than any before it. For one thing, I seem to have finally turned some sort of "corner" wherein I am no longer very intimidated by new things, or even mishaps.

I know what to do next, as a rule, and have only had to call and ask advice a couple of times. Looked stuff up in books a few times. Figured out a few things after the fact on at least one occasion, but that is pretty much my life experience in general, so I won't have too many regrets. I feel good about the instrument as a whole. But for the moment, I'm glad to be done-- I have a ton of stuff to do before summer is over.

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Great job Chet,really looks good. Its nice to know that people in the future will be abe to refer to the post for help with their project. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to do this. When caught up in the moment it is a task to remember to take photos, I'm sure many people will appreciate it.

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Thanks, folks! Very encouraging response...makes me want to jump right in and build another one. :)

If any of you will be around the Hillsboro area September 15th, the "show-and-tell" with a slide-show, etc. will be at 6:30 PM at Cornell Estates (a managed care facility). It is open to the public, and Dr. Todd and his henchmen have arranged a quartet recital on the instruments I'll have there.

Should be fun, and you'll get to hear an absolute novice share what little he knows about lutherie. (Sorta like when we were in kindergarten and a five-year-old fellow-student told us all about fire-fighters, because his Uncle was one...) :)

Anyway, it would be nice to see anyone who could come.

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I finished fitting and installing the bridge yesterday evening...somehow misread the data regarding the height over the fingerboard, so I made the bridge a bit too tall. Better than too short, I s'pose.

At any rate, Dr. Todd played it for a while, and we decided on set-up changes that need to happen. It had a very rich bass, but was a little thin on top, so I will be adjusting the soundpost, etc. to produce a better sound, and the bridge-height to enhance playability.

It was really good to have a cellist on tap, so to speak, to put the instrument through its paces. Hard to do adjustments if you don't play. Thanks, Dr. Todd!

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