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Craig Tucker
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Has anyone taken a really close look at Strad's thicknessing spike shown in Torbjörn's article Inside Information? Can it work with a shell hollow-side up? Or, was it designed for the hollow-side down? The fact that the support pillar is rather tall suggests that it was intended for hollow-side down.

For me hollow side up, the elevation is needed to tilt the plate when you approach the edge in the areas of greatest curvature, to maintain the perpendicularity of the punch relative to the plate surface.

Without elevation would be unusable.

To get the same result in a comfortable way working hollow side down, should be necessary a greater height of the small pillar, with viola then the problem would be further enhanced.

Only my two cents.

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Yes.

Perhaps this is true

Though, just for arguments sake, I'll say that I have seen (or, read, actually) a good argument for their use, for this specific reason, that perhaps they were used in Cremona, and you're the first person I've heard say that they were NEVER used there.

 

I'm curious why you'd say this; have you tried them, and found them untenable?

Or are you simply commenting?

I'm not trying to start yet another CC argument here Torbjorn, I'm just curious if you've actually tried using them or not?

 

Craig,

 

I have made them as an excercise but not used them for an actual instrument. They (curtate cycloids) were considered as I worked on developing a complete theory for how the old makers worked their arches. But I found them lacking in conforming to the variety of Cremonese arches. There's a number of pieces missing in the CC theory. For example, there is no explanation for how the long arch was conceived. It would have to be a separate issue. Also, the CC's doesn't fit along the full arch, only in certain areas – in a few selected instruments.

 

If CC templates were used, they would be simply copied and handed down through the generations and copied from violin maker to violin maker. All violin arches would be pretty much the same. But that's not the case, is it?

 

Violins are musical instruments in which form follows function. If violins were furniture then CC's would be the way to go. Even I would be using them.

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For me hollow side up, the elevation is needed to tilt the plate when you approach the edge in the areas of greatest curvature, to maintain the perpendicularity of the punch relative to the plate surface.

Without elevation would be unusable.

To get the same result in a comfortable way working hollow side down, should be necessary a greater height of the small pillar, with viola then the problem would be further enhanced.

Only my two cents.

Hey Davide, could you show us a picture of your thicknessing punch? It is clear, for me at least, that the maker's intention for its use is revealed in the construction of their tools.

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Michael_Molnar, on 08 Sept 2015 - 08:54 AM, said:Michael_Molnar, on 08 Sept 2015 - 08:54 AM, said:

Has anyone taken a really close look at Strad's thicknessing spike shown in Torbjörn's article Inside Information? Can it work with a shell hollow-side up? Or, was it designed for the hollow-side down? The fact that the support pillar is rather tall suggests that it was intended for hollow-side down.

 

Isn't the pillar padded?  That would suggest an effort to not mar the surface that would be seen.   Also isn't there a cradle in the Strad tools indicating the outside  was arched while the inside is being worked on?  Maybe it was used for both surfaces at various times during the carving process.  

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Isn't the pillar padded?  That would suggest an effort to not mar the surface that would be seen.   Also isn't there a cradle in the Strad tools indicating the outside  was arched while the inside is being worked on?  Maybe it was used for both surfaces at various times during the carving process.  

Hello Mike, Yes, it does suggest an effort to not mar the surface. You want it as smooth as possible.

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Hey Davide, could you show us a picture of your thicknessing punch? It is clear, for me at least, that the maker's intention for its use is revealed in the construction of their tools.

Here it is, I also made a video on how I think it was used.

post-70417-0-78544200-1441744929_thumb.jpg

 

I want to clarify that I am not against your theory of "inside first", no one can be sure, but just try to guess.

Just seems to me more likely the theory "outside first", maybe because I'm too long accustomed to think so.

 

PS My support pillar is 2 mm shorter than the original, but I do not think this make a great difference.

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Just out of curiosity, I measured the support pillar on my thicknessing fixture (on a drillpress, but no matter).  It's 39mm.  A forensic investigator could come in and guess it was that high to allow external drilling, but in fact I have never done that. It was just random chance of how I cut it.  I do use it to drill thickness indicators on the inside of the of the pegbox, where the clearance is more necessary; in fact, I need to move the pillar to the edge of the table to get more clearance.

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Here it is, I also made a video on how I think it was used.

attachicon.gif18 - misure 1.jpg

 

I want to clarify that I am not against your theory of "inside first", no one can be sure, but just try to guess.

Just seems to me more likely the theory "outside first", maybe because I'm too long accustomed to think so.

 

PS My support pillar is 2 mm shorter than the original, but I do not think this make a great difference.

Very nice, Davide. Outside firsters usually don't need such a long anvil... But it's a nice model of the original although slightly larger in the dimensions.

Everybody should do what suits them best. Breaking old habits is hard to do, especially when you see no reason to do so.

 

Just out of curiosity, I measured the support pillar on my thicknessing fixture (on a drillpress, but no matter).  It's 39mm.  A forensic investigator could come in and guess it was that high to allow external drilling, but in fact I have never done that. It was just random chance of how I cut it.  I do use it to drill thickness indicators on the inside of the of the pegbox, where the clearance is more necessary; in fact, I need to move the pillar to the edge of the table to get more clearance.

Don,

Then you do have a reason for the length. And, working on a drill press table makes things rather different, I guess.

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I made my first two plates working the inside first, but now I work the primary shaping from the outside.  Now, my inside shape follows as a consequence of the outside shaping plus thicknessing.

 

I didn't start with any initial bias against working inside first. But I did start with a bias against templates, so it was natural to explore the inside first method.  But as my research into the geometry behind Cremona making continued, it led me toward an outside first process.

 

I wouldn't read too much into the height placement of the anvil in the Strad workshop thickness punch.  After, the anvil is placed basically midway between the jaws of the punch.   This is a logical but inclusive location.    If it had not been placed centrally, then you could draw conclusions.

 

Having good clearance above and below the anvil just gives you flexibility to angle the plate freely as you work.   This is particularly helpful when punching thickness in the tilted flanks of the arching in the areas around the corners.

 

 

 

Also, consider that some imaging cross sections of the old instruments don't show a well shaped interior curvature.  Rather there is the appearance that the interior shape is simple exterior curve plus thickness, sometimes giving ungraceful inside shapes with even some reversals of curvature.

 

post-30802-0-35030700-1441752660_thumb.jpg

Andrea Amati 1560 from MET

 

 

post-30802-0-59583400-1441753253_thumb.jpg

Brothers Amati   Henry IV violin from NNM

 

 

 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not against people building 'inside first', or arching using CCs for that matter.   Both methods seem to me like solid modern approaches to making good instruments, and to making instruments that have much in common with the old work.     However, I don't believe the totality of evidence supports either method as what the Cremona makers actually did historically.

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Is the only reason we use molds because there are actual molds in the Stradivari Museum?  If they were lost to time, would we wing that too?

(failed Saunders Academy)

What are the three methods of building a garland?

The three methods are:

1. Ribs built on back,

2. Ribs built on inside mould,

3. Ribs built on outside mould.

Are inside moulds known historically outside of Cremona?

Yes, they have been used in all of the major violin-building regions at various times.

Addie, Catechist.

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Has anyone taken a really close look at Strad's thicknessing spike shown in Torbjörn's article Inside Information? Can it work with a shell hollow-side up? Or, was it designed for the hollow-side down? The fact that the support pillar is rather tall suggests that it was intended for hollow-side down.

I've seen the thing used ten different ways, ribs, edges, both sides of both plates. My husband sold his calipers because of that object. It's very effective and versatile. You can unscrew the spike and put in a pencil, which allows a mapping of thicknesses. There's no reason to imagine it was only used one way. The difficult part for most people would be trusting it to do the job (any job) since it's about the opposite of high tech.

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 Davide, David Beard, and not telling,

 

It is clear, for me at least, that the maker's intention for its use is revealed in the construction of their tools.

 

Consider the actual size of the Strad punch in the Museo del violino.

 

The internal space where the spike and anvil is, measures approximately 55 mm from top to bottom. The anvil takes up about 53 % (29 mm) of that. The rest consist of the spike plus the thickness gap (26 mm).

 

The small space (55 mm) doesn't give much room for working both ways, although I don't know for sure because I haven't tried it. But I would assume, if the intention was to work both sides, that the anvil should take up maximum 50 % of the total space.

 

In Davide's punch the anvil takes up 40 % of the total space. This is the tendency with outside firsters' punches that I've noticed; that the anvil is less than 50 %. Oftentimes much less.

 

But I didn't intend to start a debate about inside vs outside first. My comment was regarding the historical use of CC curves in Cremona. I hope that I've made my point clear on that!

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Shit, maybe I should take some pictures with my good camera and write a Trade Secrets! Uhhh...I mean...you're totally right, that other stuff cannot be done, and whatever you do, don't try it.

LOL I don't know what you mean, but it sounds funny. Did I say something bad? Am I that scary to you, or stupid? ;)

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Oh geez...no...I was completely kidding. I was surprised to hear everyone debating which way is the only possible way originally intended for the tool's use, that's all. It's not a big deal. He only uses it that way because we ate his calipers. I doubt anyone else would be interested in not using calipers, right?

But if you were going to think about using the tool other ways, if you wanted to, I am certain you could figure it out.

Sorry if I came across in an offensive way. I often do, usually not meaning to. Truth is that there might be an article in some of my husband's working methods, even if everyone reading it will still want to keep their calipers. I hadn't seriously considered that before you were saying the tool wouldn't be any good used other ways. Of course, it is...actually it's kind of awesome. Secret's out.

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The graduation punch works very well on the inside of plates, except for regraduating back plates with the ribs on. The punch and the cradle are from the Cerani collection, not the Fiorini collection. The Stradivari provenance is not as rock-solid for the Cerani items.

One of the 'P' moulds has a transverse arch scribed on it.

Here is my copy of the Graduation punch. The deer skin looks white in the photo, but is actually tan.

Addie = back from vacation.

post-35343-0-77245300-1441823809_thumb.jpg

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The graduation punch works very well on the inside of plates, except for regraduating back plates with the ribs on. The punch and the cradle are from the Cerani collection, not the Fiorini collection. The Stradivari provenance is not as rock-solid for the Cerani items.

One of the 'P' moulds has a transverse arch scribed on it.

Here is my copy of the Graduation punch. The deer skin looks white in the photo, but is actually tan.

Addie = back from vacation.

It's looking good, Addie. Welcome back! Which one of the P moulds is that? Is it full scale?

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