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COB3

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

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Gotta make a new soundpost setter. My violin/viola setter is a copy of Mr. Darnton's setter, made of 1065 or 5160 steel (can't recall). My bass soundpost setter was a copy of Chris Dungey's model, made of 5160 steel, but I gave it away. (Gotta stop doing that...) So the only thing I had with which to set the post in this cello was the little one for violins/violas. I really needed something bigger.

I bought some 1095 steel (what was available) and used a hand-held plasma-arc cutter to cut out the perimeter after class last night. I will try to complete the project today after work. I'll grind it to the proper shape all over, then use heat to bend it to the correct angles, and forge the tip to the right shape, then heat-treat it and be done. OTOH, "there's many a slip..." So maybe it won't get done today. But I can hope. :)

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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.

... and the bridge-height to enhance playability.

I have been really enjoying this thread, and seeing the final cello has been for me the icing on the cake.

I should mention that I have read about cello necks 'settling' a fair amount sometimes, so I would keep an eye on the string heights for a while.

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In other words they could go higher, as the neck settles? Or lower, as the belly humps up under pressure? From what you say, I assume you mean they may creep higher. I will keep an eye on it for sure. Thanks!

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Just a suggestion for strings, I rock Jargar fortes on the A and D and Pirastro Permanent fortes (avoid soloists, they're WAY to tight under the bow!) on the G and C. They compliment each other nicely and the C string is as thin as a G making it super easy to play.

What strings do you have on there now? And where's that video?!?!

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The current strings (bear in mind I am not a cellist, so my taste in strings is not particularly well educated) are Kaplan Solo Cello A/D & Helicore G/C. Sounds good, but I know players always have their personal preferences.

Video will have to wait...I have a lot going right now.

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Some of you may be interested to see the new (and old) soundpost setters. Nothing fancy. For now, I chose not to heat-treat the tool-- it is quite stiff in the normalized state, and I may never need the extra-stiff character acquired by hardening and tempering the steel.

The small one was made as a loose copy of Mr. Darnton's soundpost setter, the larger is an even looser approximation (from memory) of the ones Chris Dungey sells.

soundpostsetters.jpg

I also shortened the bridge (may have messed it up...we'll see how the cellist likes it) and brought the strings to a more reasonable height. Moved the SP south and east a tiny bit. Seems to have better balance, now, but, again, we'll see.

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Thanks, Fjodor...they could be better, I know, but I was short on time, in both cases. I have never been one to polish a hammer...they are functional. If they need to be pretty, I can do that, but the first consideration is function. Chris Dungey's offerings definitely look better. I just can't afford them.

BTW, the cellist seems happy with the changes, so the instrument is out being played-in, and worked-over, so as to be ready for the presentation next month.

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Thanks, Fjodor...they could be better, I know, but I was short on time, in both cases. I have never been one to polish a hammer...they are functional. If they need to be pretty, I can do that, but the first consideration is function.

I like that! Function first!!! ;)

Chris Dungey's offerings definitely look better. I just can't afford them.

Missed that one, can you point me in the right direction. :mellow:

BTW, the cellist seems happy with the changes, so the instrument is out being played-in, and worked-over, so as to be ready for the presentation next month.

Looking forward to news about how the presentation goes! :)

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I have never seen them online-- he showed them to me personally at Oberlin. But I'll bet Linkman can find them. :)

Here is his contact information:

http://www.dungeycello.com/contact.html

I don't see the soundpost setters on his website, but maybe if you asked him, he might still have some. As I recall they were hand-forged, hardened and tempered to a stiff spring toughness. Nice tools, but on the expensive side.

The working of steel is pretty old-tech stuff, so, when he showed me his work (done for him by some master blacksmith somewhere) I simply decided to make my own. After all, working steel is what I do for a living. I would much rather build instruments, though. Gotta start somewhere...

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CHET! You did it! And I missed it by ... THAT much!

I've had a few distractions down here this year :-( and forgot to check in at Maestronet for a while. But I've just read the whole thread and now inspired to make one myself. A beautiful result you have there and I'm looking forward to hearing it, too. (Just have to finish a bass or two first ...)

Well done Chet.

best wishes

Matthew

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CHET! You did it! And I missed it by ... THAT much!

I've had a few distractions down here this year :-( and forgot to check in at Maestronet for a while. But I've just read the whole thread and now inspired to make one myself. A beautiful result you have there and I'm looking forward to hearing it, too. (Just have to finish a bass or two first ...)

Well done Chet.

best wishes

Matthew

Thanks, Matthew! You do great work. I know yours will be a real champion, as are all your basses. Keep in touch, my friend!

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For those interested; the presentation went off as planned, last night. There was a pretty good turnout, and people were very interested, asking a lot of questions. The Quartet included Dr. Marshall Tuttle, 1st violin; Nancy Vink a local violinist with the Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra, 2nd violin; Sharron Ogden, a local violist with the Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra, viola; and Dr. Todd Anderson, a cellist with the Hillsboro Symphony orchestra, cello. They sounded very good, and the audience was very enthusiastic.

I'm glad it went well, but glad it's all over...I was pretty nervous about it all. I am no expert, and I was uncomfortable lecturing about a subject within which I am pretty much a novice.

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BTW, the recital was taped, so, if I can, I will post it on YouTube, or something...provided the players have no objections. We'll see.

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After I get the DVD, I can put it on my YouTube channel if Chet doesn't want the hassle of creating an account at some video site or the hassle of converting the video formats.

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BTW, the recital was taped, so, if I can, I will post it on YouTube, or something...provided the players have no objections. We'll see.

That would be cool!

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Inspiring! I've lurked on this forum for a while but never had the courage to actually build an instrument. You make it look quick and easy. Amazing. Now maybe I'll go out and purchase some tonewood for instrument #1!

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Inspiring! I've lurked on this forum for a while but never had the courage to actually build an instrument. You make it look quick and easy. Amazing. Now maybe I'll go out and purchase some tonewood for instrument #1!

Well--I don't want you to start off with any misconceptions:

The first one is likely to be neither quick nor easy. I found it very difficult to get used to working with things that flimsy (my day job has been working in heavy steel for the last 25+ years), and in tolerances that close. Perhaps you will find it easy. I did not, though Mr. Strobel's instructions were pretty straightforward. Besides, I kept taking shortcuts, making modifications, and in general not really following the directions closely, and that made it even harder. If you can really follow directions, and avoid any experimentation on at least the first couple of instruments, it will help a lot.

Read through the books at least three times before beginning anything. Make sure you are clear in your own mind before you begin moving wood.

Another thing: if you can find a maker near you who is willing to coach you as you go through the first one, it will be a lot easier. It will keep you out of trouble, and you will find it very encouraging, as well. I didn't have that privilege until years later, and I had a lot of "unlearning" to do. This forum is another good place to get engouragement and pointers.

On the other hand, I don't want to discourage you at all. You can do this. If you are willing to commit yourself to some time every evening (or whatever works for you) and plan ahead of time what you will do for that time, so you don't waste all your work time scratching your head and deciding what to do next, then you can get a violin out in a reasonable period of time. And it will be a decent, playable instrument when you are done.

I hope you go for it, and I will look forward to seeing your progress posted, here on MN. Good luck.

Chet

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Well--I don't want you to start off with any misconceptions:

The first one is likely to be neither quick nor easy. I found it very difficult to get used to working with things that flimsy (my day job has been working in heavy steel for the last 25+ years), and in tolerances that close. Perhaps you will find it easy. I did not, though Mr. Strobel's instructions were pretty straightforward. Besides, I kept taking shortcuts, making modifications, and in general not really following the directions closely, and that made it even harder. If you can really follow directions, and avoid any experimentation on at least the first couple of instruments, it will help a lot.

Read through the books at least three times before beginning anything. Make sure you are clear in your own mind before you begin moving wood.

Another thing: if you can find a maker near you who is willing to coach you as you go through the first one, it will be a lot easier. It will keep you out of trouble, and you will find it very encouraging, as well. I didn't have that privilege until years later, and I had a lot of "unlearning" to do. This forum is another good place to get engouragement and pointers.

On the other hand, I don't want to discourage you at all. You can do this. If you are willing to commit yourself to some time every evening (or whatever works for you) and plan ahead of time what you will do for that time, so you don't waste all your work time scratching your head and deciding what to do next, then you can get a violin out in a reasonable period of time. And it will be a decent, playable instrument when you are done.

I hope you go for it, and I will look forward to seeing your progress posted, here on MN. Good luck.

Chet

Thanks for the advise! Right now I'm at the read everything I can stage. Between threads like yours and the books I have I may be able to spit out a decent cello like object some day. And thanks for the tip on finding a local maker. Not sure who's around Detroit, but once I get going I'll start posting and see where it goes. Thanks again for a great thread!

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Well...it's up to you, of course, but...if you are willing, I would recommend that you build a violin or a viola before tackling the cello. Learning to bend ribs, etc., you are most likely going to break a few. Violin/viola ribs are a lot cheaper than cello ribs. Same on plates, purfling, scroll-carving...pretty much the whole job.

If you want your very first instrument to be a cello, there's no harm in that; just be forewarned, it is a little easier to learn some of these tasks on a smaller scale first. Jasmine Davis, who used to post here, made her first a cello. Matthew Tucker did the same, but made a double bass. Each did a great job. But those who build smaller instruments first will usually affirm that it was a good move to have done so. Your call.

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Ah, good advise. I was thinking the Cello is larger so the detail work would be easier. Plus I want to eventually end up with a Cello since the dearest daughter plays cello. But I can see what you're saying about the mistakes. Big instruments equal bigger mistakes. Maybe a violin first then. Plus then there will be a matching pair!

Thanks again!

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