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fiddlewallop

easier tool on the arms

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Lots of good advice here. I also use a long handle on my arching gouge although rather than pushing with my chest I hold my fore arm in line with the handle and my elbow held against my side so that I can use my body and legs to drive the cut. I use a #5 30 MM gouge for the first rough out then change to a #3 20 MM for the final gougeing to shape the arch within ! MM of finished. If the wood is realy hard I use the smaller gouge right through or smaller cuts with the big one. If you get into a rythm of about two cuts a second for 6 beats and either rest or return to the next starting point on counts 7 and 8 you can keep working steadily for two or three minutes at a time and then check  how you're progressing. I can keep up that pace for several hours which is long enough to rough out even the toughest cello set. The key to eficiency is to make each cut the same size and depth so when you are done all you have to do is take off the peaks between the gouge cuts and your arch is basically done and ready to scrape I also  use a scrub plane if the total hight of my wood is really oversize to bring it down to where I'm comfortable making a cut across the arch at the highest point to set a referance point of 1MM above my final arch hight.

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With the right tool and technique (bracing the end of the gouge against the body), the arms are used for little more than holding the gouge in position. Cutting is done with the body weight and the legs. Don't know if it's obvious from the photo, but all the cutting force is being applied by the chest. Forget about those little short-handled pansy gouges they sell for roughing. ;)

Not sure if this method works for women... :lol:

 

009a.jpg

 

Hey Bruce, there's your bench again (the bench Bruce had when he worked at Weisshaar).

 

Woah so much wood! Nice workshop Dave, I see that's not the only over-built tool you own!  :lol:

I like the mushroom end. Great idea. I've got a two-handed beasty gouge but it has just a straight handle, and every time I get to this part I come out looking like I've copped a few low ones from Mike Tyson.  :(

 

One other thing, while we're on the subject, the hooped handles provided with most gouges these days are designed for hammering. I believe these things are supposed to be used for sculpting, no reason why you couldn't take to a back with a gouge and a mallet!

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king Aurthur 3" wheel on a grinder, don't remove your finger, don't be a dust sissy, you could hog a cello in about 20 min...not a tool for the faint of heart, requires lots of intuition or depth holes predrilled....yes, its a chain saw

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The problem with using chainsaws Gemini carvers and similar devices is that unless you are very confident that you won't dip a bit too far or have a chip pulled out of a knot some where then you have to back off of your final shape far enough that you wind up too close to use your gouges yet too far away  to comfortably use your small planes.  I think  that the gouge is really the most accurate tool for three dimensional shaping and that the  planes and scrapers should  remove the tool marks from the previous step.The fact that we see marks of all of the various tools on old instruments tells me that these makers were getting just as close to the finished shape as possible even in the earliest stages of the process.

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king Aurthur 3" wheel on a grinder, don't remove your finger, don't be a dust sissy, you could hog a cello in about 20 min...not a tool for the faint of heart, requires lots of intuition or depth holes predrilled....yes, its a chain saw

that tool is a bit scary for me on a violin, bravo to you for the control!

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After the beating my shoulders took roughing out bass and cello plates, and after deciding that an electric chain saw was not the tool of choice for interior wood removal, I bought myself the largest Ibex violin maker's finger plane. With a file I rounded it a bit more along both axes so I could use it on smaller plates. Then, with a smaller file, I opened the throat, after which I ground a rounder front to the blade. In effect, I turned it into a small scrub plane.

 

I was pretty amazed at how quickly I could remove wood with this, and now I use it for everything. If I find the time, I might consider making a small two-handed version for use on basses by converting a plane with a wooden sole. The Ibex would be my choice for anything smaller. Although it might be a little slower than using a gouge, the ability to take just the right amount of wood with each stroke outweighs the speed advantage, in my view. It is definitely a lot easier on the body (you should use it while standing as much as possible), and you are far less likely to go too deeply as the plane gives you terrific control of the process.

 

I use the scrubber for both exterior and interior arching. When on the outside of the plate, I find it makes me think about the shape of the arching almost from the first stroke, whereas with the gouge I thought about just hogging wood out and not injuring myself. I still resort to the gouge when working on the outside arch in the center bout region along the purfling line, but I will probably modify a smaller plane to get into the tight spots.

 

Try it. You'll like it!

Hi Bob,

 

I think I might try creating the scrub plane as you describe here. I was wondering if you used the convex sole Ibex plane, or the flat sole to make your scrub:

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/ibexluthiersconvexsolepalmplane90mm.aspx

Thanks!

FW

 

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 The key to eficiency is to make each cut the same size and depth so when you are done all you have to do is take off the peaks between the gouge cuts and your arch is basically done and ready to scrape.

Wow, sounds like you get it a lot more accurate than I do.

 

 

One other thing, while we're on the subject, the hooped handles provided

with most gouges these days are designed for hammering. I believe these

things are supposed to be used for sculpting, no reason why you couldn't

take to a back with a gouge and a mallet!

I actually tried inserting a gouge blade in a pneumatic air hammer years ago, like you hear them using at muffler shops. Can't remember why I abandoned it. Maybe it was too expensive to outfit everyone else in the shop with earplugs? :o

 

 

 

king Aurthur 3" wheel on a grinder, don't remove your finger, don't be a dust sissy, you could hog a cello in about 20 min...not a tool for the faint of heart, requires lots of intuition or depth holes predrilled....yes, its a chain saw

 

It may be faster on maple, but maybe not on spruce, if you include cleanup time. We were both done with the inside of a cello top in about five minutes, but what a mess he made!

 

Wow, I used to have pigment in my hair. Joe Robson, can you recommend a wood stain I  could use?

 

man%20versus%20machine.jpg

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I have one of those, don't like it. the bevel is on the wrong side.

 

Here is every kind of power carving tool currently on the market.

 

I've not tried any of the reciprocating carvers.

 

I use a mallet quite often on cellos. It's best to use a plastic one rather than the traditional wooden one . A wooden mallet will eventually destroy your elbow and wrist joints and make you deaf. Plus the plastic mallet will drive the gouge deeper into the wood. 

 

Japanwoodworker.com has a very nice long handled violinmaker's gouge. The edge needs to be ground to a fingernail shape to work properly.

 

I tried all the rotary power carvers. I didn't like what they did to the wood and I didn't like what they did to me. It just wasn't any fun carving. At the end it wasn't any faster (especially when you include the set up and clean up time) and it wasn't any fun. 

 

I think it's very important to enjoy the process of making an instrument! I listen to the radio, chat with friends, sip some tea or just  serenely plod along until it's done.

 

Oded

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Hi Bob,

 

I think I might try creating the scrub plane as you describe here. I was wondering if you used the convex sole Ibex plane, or the flat sole to make your scrub:

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/ibexluthiersconvexsolepalmplane90mm.aspx

Thanks!

FW

 

There are makers who make their own scrub planes of wood. That's what I would do.

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Thanks Oded. Yeah, I agree that the electric carving tools probably take a lot of the fun out of carving. If I need to, I may go there, but will try to stay away from it. I certainly agree that the making process should be fun. I met a luthier once, and he acted like the making process was the most painful thing that he ever endured. I don't ever want to develop that mindset. I think your instruments (and you) will suffer. I enjoy the process, and I want to keep it that way! :)

Actually, the Japan woodworker gouge is the one I currently use. It's alright. Not a bad tool. Just puts some stress on the elbow with my old technique. May need to refine my approach.

I've never had much luck with wood planes in the past. I've bought a couple but the blade always pops out on me after a couple of passes. I usually find myself spending more time fidgeting with the plane, than doing any real work.

Maybe alternating between the gouge and an Ibex scrub plane would be a good way to go.

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Oh, wow. Did you make that Oded? That looks like it's made out of brass. Nice looking tool. But flat, not rounded on the bottom. hmm.

Although I've never tried the Pfeil gouge, it looks like it would be a good tool if only the bevel was on the other side. Shame they made in an in-channel bevel.

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Oh, wow. Did you make that Oded? That looks like it's made out of brass. Nice looking tool. But flat, not rounded on the bottom. hmm.

Although I've never tried the Pfeil gouge, it looks like it would be a good tool if only the bevel was on the other side. Shame they made in an in-channel bevel.

 

Oded doesn't seem to like the Pfeil gouge (see #35). Working with an in-cannel gouge for removing back wood, I have to say I don't dislike them at all, but I don't know the Pfeil one. Urban Luthier asked a question about Juliet Barker's method (see #16). I am not speaking for her and I am unaware of the article Urban Luthier mentions, but when I started the work on my cello back, Juliet did recommend an in-cannel gouge, which I found comfortable to use. See picture.

 

post-31586-0-60561900-1360683316_thumb.jpg

 

And does anyone know in which issue of Strad Juliet's method was outlined?

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Wow, sounds like you get it a lot more accurate than I do.

 

 

I actually tried inserting a gouge blade in a pneumatic air hammer years ago, like you hear them using at muffler shops. Can't remember why I abandoned it. Maybe it was too expensive to outfit everyone else in the shop with earplugs? :o

 

 

 

 

It may be faster on maple, but maybe not on spruce, if you include cleanup time. We were both done with the inside of a cello top in about five minutes, but what a mess he made!

 

Wow, I used to have pigment in my hair. Joe Robson, can you recommend a wood stain I  could use?

 

man%20versus%20machine.jpg

How can you argue with that :)  Shall we just call you John Henry? haha...Good show, I actully use both, very rarely will I use it on soft wood. I generally use it on the more intense Janka woods. It is NOT a tool for most people and has the potential to be a NO BACKSIES  with your fingers and work. A super natural feel must be achieved or you WILL poke your eye out. Really, I must say that I do not recommend this tool for the "general" population

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Oh, wow. Did you make that Oded? That looks like it's made out of brass. Nice looking tool. But flat, not rounded on the bottom. hmm.

Although I've never tried the Pfeil gouge, it looks like it would be a good tool if only the bevel was on the other side. Shame they made in an in-channel bevel.

 

Yes I made that plane. The bottom is rounded and works well on all size instruments but better for cello I suppose. The blade is  laminated Japanese steel fro Japan woodworker. I only made it because I couldn't find what I wanted in the market place. The tool is a joy to use, never clogs or chatters. The brass plates are pinned and epoxied to the infill body.

 

This is not a difficult plane to make. The core and sole are solid ebony. Anyone who can make an instrument can easily make a plane like this, with no special tools, and an afternoon to spare.

 

Oded

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Oded doesn't seem to like the Pfeil gouge (see #35). Working with an in-cannel gouge for removing back wood, I have to say I don't dislike them at all, but I don't know the Pfeil one. Urban Luthier asked a question about Juliet Barker's method (see #16). I am not speaking for her and I am unaware of the article Urban Luthier mentions, but when I started the work on my cello back, Juliet did recommend an in-cannel gouge, which I found comfortable to use. See picture.

 

attachicon.gifIMAG0459.jpg

 

And does anyone know in which issue of Strad Juliet's method was outlined?

Do you find it difficult to sharpen the in-cannel gouge? Do it by hand?

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MUST MAKE ONE........thanks ...awesome.

I may attempt this too.

Oded, do you happen to have any more pictures of this tool? I think if I saw a pic of the bottom and back of this tool, I might be able to develop an idea about how to go about making it. Would be interesting to see the curve/sweep of the bottom.

 

Thanks Oded!!

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Edi, my roughing gouge is about 1.5 times as long, which lets me make one long sweep to the far side of a cello while still against my chest. The part that goes against my chest is much larger and flatter too, which helps prevent bruising, broken ribs and lung punctures. :)

 

It also makes it easier to rotate or twist the gouge during the cut.

The tubular handle is filled with lead, because I found that the added mass makes it easier to cruise on through those occasional hard spots, as opposed to coming to a sudden stop and getting whiplash. :lol:

 

High David - when I get around to starting my cello I'll make myself a chest-pusher.

 

thanks - edi

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Edi,  ......I was so maxed out by the picture of the gouge it's self ....never saw one before.... the hunk pushing it didn't hurt either. :P

  I forgot to read David's by line on it's construction...........thanks for getting it back on the radar ...and David thanks for sharing.

 

 An old blacksmith trick ,when learning to hammer, is to hammer until the wrist is tired ...then hammer more until the fore arm is beat. On to the upper arm,Next the shoulder ...Just keep hammering. One by one, the individual components of the body will begin to act in supportive and sympathetic roles with no one aspect acting separate.Similar to how a bull whip works. I have to think this basic idea translates into all the hand trades.

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