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icebob99

Violin Ribs?

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I am new to the art of violin making. I am going to try first with a simple violin, this is really just a practice instrument, so I'm not bothering with using heat and pressure to bend the back and front, or stuff like that. I have a design to trace off of, (courtesy of Peter Horn) and I have the wood I need to construct the back and front. However, while I was talking with Peter, he did not give me actual rib measurements, so I'm floundering around looking for rib measurements. 

 

I understand that there are many different ways to make ribs, and that they vary from maker to maker. If someone could reply with a set of measurements (I can't find them on the web!) that would be great. 

 

Also, I'm still trying to figure out what a rib is. Looking through the first few pages of this forum, I found a drawing that had 6 blocks of wood at the top and bottom, and some at the corners near the middle. I think I have a good idea, but I'd like confirmation, as that piece of info is a prerequisite to making the ribs, obviously. A brief explanation would be excellent, thanks in advance if you do :)

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Icebob,

 

Buy a copy of this inexpensive book:

 

VIOLIN MAKING, STEP BY STEP by Henry Strobel, Second Edition.

It won't show everthing about violin making , but he has a pretty good description of ribs. The ribs are the thin pieces of wood that hold the top and back apart. viewed from the outside...From the inside we see blocks, linnings, and ribs and collectivly we call them a garland or rib assembly.

 My best advice, from a beginer to a beginer ,......Find a violin maker near you who can show some basic ideas visit them as often as possible. and remember that for every maker there is a method...some good ,some not so good ,a few that are great.

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In the meantime you can also visit the numerous websites showing the making of a violin from the wood to the finished product. Not many makers (probably even only a handful of them) use a steaming method to make the front and back plates although someone (Don Noon?) posted here this method step by step.

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icebob

 

since you know Peter Horn you must be in the Cleveland area

 

drop me a pm and i can give you a hand

 

www.reesewilliamsviolins.com

 

Reese

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Read several good books on the subject, over a period of 5 years, get some woodworking practice, then make a violin.

 

Ha -- I had no wood working experience when I made my first violin (it looks awful but sounds ok). 

 

If you are lucky to be near a college or school that offers an introductory course on instrument making it will help a lot

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Read several good books on the subject, over a period of 5 years, get some woodworking practice, then make a violin.

My approach too.  

I have a woodworking background, and so find I have some areas that are easier for me, than for other beginners.

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Get a worthless junky factory violin an remove the top. You'll see the individual pieces and how they fit together. Do lots of reading and ditto what the others said about finding an experienced mentor.

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Icebob, respectfully, from the way you describe things I believe you have some misconceptions that need to be cleared up.  For example, we don't usually steam and press the top and the back, although that IS done sometimes.  We usually shape the arches and the thickness with gouges and scrapers.  

 

The advice already given, to get books, look at the inside of a violin, and get help from someone is good advice.

 

But in the meantime, violin ribs are usually made with maple, and the ribs can be attached at the 6 blocks with either 6, 5, or 4 separate pieces.  They have to be different lengths, depending on where they go on the violin and depending on the model of the violin, and whether you do the upper and/or lower ribs in 1 or two pieces.  But the height (between the top and back) is about 31 millimeters (average) and about 1 millimeter thick.  That's quite thin.  You'll probably want to bend them with some heat or you'll be likely to crack them.  

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Give us some idea of your location so that we can advise possible courses. Otherwise the info above is all good. I have tried bending back and belly plates after hearing Bill Fulton on the subject. Some French factory instruments were made this way. I have also seen a Brescian instrument that had all the signs. But quite honestly it is a fiddly job and certainly not easier than carving.   

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That's a very interesting article.  Thanks, Mike C.

 

It looks to me it would take a great deal of skill to make an arch as sophisticated as can be done by carving.  Looks like it would be fun to try.

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I used to bend plates following the ideas of Fulton and Campbell. It's a lot of R&D. In the time it takes to learn how to bend plates you could have made several violins. Moreover, the bent plates are not always better than gouged plates.

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