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39 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

When I made my own mold for the Titian, I used the Strad poster and placed plexiglass over the CT scan of the ribs. I used a lot of light to see the lines clearly and picked the side I liked best. I drew a line down the middle of the scan and then cut out my half-template. In the end, my form may not be an exact match to the original (I chose not to copy irregularities), but I was not aiming for a complete reproduction of the measurements. 
 

I could be wrong, but I think I remember reading that the Huberman Strad and the Titian are made on the same form and share other traits that make them closely related.

Yep, the CT scans of the ribs seems to match quite well, even if the definition quality of those on the Huberman poster is worse than that of Titian.

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On 8/12/2022 at 3:59 PM, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Always use the front outline if you wish to make a copy. Front and back outlines differ on old instruments both from the process of the original making and the stresses over 300 years. The front of a violin is it's main personality...It's face..if you try to fit the F holes to an outline derived from the back it works less well. Ideally if going to great length to make a copy one might  use the outlines of back and front separately using a 3 part mold or something similar but even so have to factor in the fact that the copy will distort quite soon under string tension to a different shape...

If you want to make a new violin the same way the Titian was made, then use the P mould to make the back first. And let the process give your instrument a unique character, as happened in all the old making.

(Process: Build sides on thin Cremona mould, work with less controlable mix of heat and wet dry cycle bound to mould bending, attach neck immediately and do the pin and twist alignment of sides on board for back, work a fresh back outline reconciling to etch of sides, attach back and sides then etch sides onto front board, work a fresh outline for front reconciling to etch.)   Try for straight and true, but this process will automatically embed asymmetries and subtle irregularity that give each classical example its deep uniqueness.

If you want to copy the particular way the Titian turned out, then you can't really use the old methods.  You'll need more control than that allows.

Copy the specific front outline as Melvin says.  Maybe also copy the specific back out line also.  

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55 minutes ago, David Beard said:

If you want to make a new violin the same way the Titian was made, then use the P mould to make the back first. And let the process give your instrument a unique character, as happened in all the old making.

How have you come to the conclusion that that back was made, or was attached to the ribs first? While this happens to be what I do, I cannot find any reason to push it on someone else. There have been some very good arguments here for attaching the top first.

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16 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

How have you come to the conclusion that that back was made, or was attached to the ribs first? While this happens to be what I do, I cannot find any reason to push it on someone else. There have been some very good arguments here for attaching the top first.

I think Hargrave talks about back first in the del Gesu working methods. I'm more of a belly first guy, whether baroque or modern. Sure is nice to set a mortised neck with the back off, so you can examine all the joint surfaces with ease. 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

How have you come to the conclusion that that back was made, or was attached to the ribs first? While this happens to be what I do, I cannot find any reason to push it on someone else. There have been some very good arguments here for attaching the top first.

As you say, it isn't a provable point, and it wasn't neccesarily entirely consistent.

However, I strongly suspect this to be the sequence.   Having spent a very long time looking in terms of the design plan/choice/geometry, it seems to me that the top outlines make the most concessions to the vagaries of the build process.  The moulds are by far the most 'to plan'.  The back outlines seem 'more chosen' and 'less following vagaries of the actual build' compared to the top outlines.

However, soundhole placement and details and bridge line seem more directly tied to the actual final top outline.

IMO

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

How have you come to the conclusion that that back was made, or was attached to the ribs first? While this happens to be what I do, I cannot find any reason to push it on someone else. There have been some very good arguments here for attaching the top first.

Well said, you can never be sure of the order of the making steps.

Although I would also favor the back first, as if you want to use the pivoting effect on the pins to correctly align the neck attached to ribs, this could not be done on the top, or al least it would be very complicated with the flat endgrain surface of the top that rests against the neck, making the possible side movement of the ribs somewhat difficult.

But then, even this function of the pins is only a hypothesis, so we are back to what you were saying, no certainty.:)

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21 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Well said, you can never be sure of the order of the making steps.

Although I would also favor the back first, as if you want to use the pivoting effect on the pins to correctly align the neck attached to ribs, this could not be done on the top, or al least it would be very complicated with the flat endgrain surface of the top that rests against the neck, making the possible side movement of the ribs somewhat difficult.

But then, even this function of the pins is only a hypothesis, so we are back to what you were saying, no certainty.:)

No certainty in knowing exactly what they did.  There can't be.   It isn't the sort of circumstance that will ever allow proof in that sense.

But, we do know with certainty that they weren't copying in the modern way.   We can be sure they never even once traced a Strad poster.

We can look at clues like pins and asymmetries and neck systems and surviving moulds.

If somehow we desire, we can look at all the clues and throw up our hands saying 'nothing can be absolutely proven', so none of it matters.

Or we can consider the clues and what reasonable behaviors would account for the evidence we have.

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

How have you come to the conclusion that that back was made, or was attached to the ribs first? While this happens to be what I do, I cannot find any reason to push it on someone else. There have been some very good arguments here for attaching the top first.

As you say there are some good arguments for attaching the top first.  However, if you reduce the rib height from the upper corner blocks to the upper block on the top side as clearly seen to be the case in CT scan images of the Messiah Strad, might attaching the top first work against this remaining the case?  Attaching the back first would be more likely to retain what appears to exist in the mentioned CT images; i.e., the reduction in rib height clearly having remained on the top side.  Furthermore, given the way in which the rib height reduction has been achieved, might not attaching the top first introduce greater variation in top and back outlines than we typically see?  (I am assuming here that respective outlines were derived from the rib outline as opposed to some template.)

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30 minutes ago, David Beard said:

No certainty in knowing exactly what they did.  There can't be.   It isn't the sort of circumstance that will ever allow proof in that sense.

But, we do know with certainty that they weren't copying in the modern way.   We can be sure they never even once traced a Strad poster.

We can look at clues like pins and asymmetries and neck systems and surviving moulds.

If somehow we desire, we can look at all the clues and throw up our hands saying 'nothing can be absolutely proven', so none of it matters.

Or we can consider the clues and what reasonable behaviors would account for the evidence we have.

Of course I agree with you, the clues are there and we must take them into account to get an idea that is as realistic as possible.

But underlining the uncertainty of the conclusions is essential to avoid falling into dogma, which has happened to many for example by taking Sacconi's book as the Bible. I'm sure he himself was the first to be unsure of his conclusions about the construction method.

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8 minutes ago, John Harte said:

As you say there are some good arguments for attaching the top first.  However, if you reduce the rib height from the upper corner blocks to the upper block on the top side as clearly seen to be the case in CT scan images of the Messiah Strad, might attaching the top first work against this remaining the case?  Attaching the back first would be more likely to retain what appears to exist in the mentioned CT images; i.e., the reduction in rib height clearly having remained on the top side.  Furthermore, given the way in which the rib height reduction has been achieved, might not attaching the top first introduce greater variation in top and back outlines than we typically see?  (I am assuming here that respective outlines were derived from the rib outline as opposed to some template.)

I agree perfectly, the taper of the ribs on the belly side would cause noticeable deformation on the back side, which does not seem to be the case in real violins. I'm convinced the rib taper was done with the ribs still on the form, so before nailing the neck on. With the neck already attached it would be a real nightmare to do.:)

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18 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Of course I agree with you, the clues are there and we must take them into account to get an idea that is as realistic as possible.

But underlining the uncertainty of the conclusions is essential to avoid falling into dogma, which has happened to many for example by taking Sacconi's book as the Bible. I'm sure he himself was the first to be unsure of his conclusions about the construction method.

Totally agree. 

Sorry I got confused.  Sometimes it seems like opposition is scatter shot just to blockade discussion.   Not your m.o. at all. 

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

I agree perfectly, the taper of the ribs on the belly side would cause noticeable deformation on the back side, which does not seem to be the case in real violins. I'm convinced the rib taper was done with the ribs still on the form, so before nailing the neck on. With the neck already attached it would be a real nightmare to do.:)

Totally agree, and that's what I do. Makes everything rather easy. As I've said, despite the evidence to the contrary I do my taper on the back side, anyway.

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48 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

I'm convinced the rib taper was done with the ribs still on the form, so before nailing the neck on. With the neck already attached it would be a real nightmare to do.:)

I completely agree. 

Regarding neck attachment, given the type of rib taper mentioned, distortion resulting from attaching the top first could potentially necessitate a steeper initial neck set than if the back was attached first.  Top first might require more best guessing than a back first option.  I suspect that makers like Strad were fairly pragmatic when it came to such things.

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On ۱۴۰۱/۵/۲۲ at 02:21, Davide Sora said:

به خاطر داشته باشید که فرم اصلی G کمی طولانی است، حدود 350 میلی متر در خط مرکزی، که منجر به بدنه ویولن 357/358 میلی متری می شود و می تواند به طول توقف 197/198 میلی متر برسد. اگر می خواهید یک طول توقف 195 میلی متری "استاندارد" داشته باشید، باید تغییراتی ایجاد کنید که اگر بی تجربه هستید انجام آن آسان نیست.

 

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I've got about dozen Gesu violins in a Photoshop file (CT scans, Strad posters or from Biddulph book) all resized to true size and the backs are distinctively more symmetric and VERY uniform in outline (supporting the theory of one or two forms only) The tops typically have random bulges in curves here and there, especially in C bouts and less symmetric corners. This uniformity of backs would hardly be result if tops were the first to glue to ribs. Of course long term deformations and large restorations take toll on spruce so nothing is 100% certain.

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58 minutes ago, Sadssd said:

Hi David, do you have the dimensions of the arch of the J and PJ molds?

If you have, please send it to me

If you mean the P and PG forms, I had posted them on the first page of this same thread.

 

On 4/26/2014 at 11:06 AM, Davide Sora said:
Here are my measurements for the P and PG forms, if they can be useful for a comparison,
 hoping that they are understandable :unsure:
 
post-70417-0-43886300-1398502808_thumb.jpg
 

Davide

 

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9 hours ago, John Harte said:

I suspect that makers like Strad were fairly pragmatic when it came to such things.

I too suspect that these were very pragmatic people, given the number of instruments they produced.

A couple of efficiency advantages of attaching the top first:

1. Presuming that aligning the neck with the top is more important than aligning it with the back, having the top in place first would give a better reference for straightness when installing the neck.

2. Attaching the back first requires that the neck be fitted to the block/ribs and the button simultaneously, and then nailing on the neck while maintaining that good joint between the bottom of the neck and the button. Attaching the top first, and then nailing on the neck allows getting a good joint between the back-with-button, and the upper block and already attached neck, with a few plane strokes. This would also apply to the more modern mortised necks.

Of course, if the ribs were removed from the mold, and the neck then attached without either the top or back being yet attached, that upper-block/neck assembly could still possibly be planed flat, but it's a pretty spindly assembly to try to plane at that point.

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I like the idea of the top first and attaching the neck assembly. This ensures good alignment with the rib garland. One way to avoid springing the garland shape when removing it from the form is to just pry apart the top from the neck to the upper corner. This removes the bent top plate tension but maintains the rib garland shape. Of course, when the back is attached to the ribs, the neck alignment must be checked for possible adjustment.

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I haven't been talking about a prescription for what modern copy makers should do today.  But about what was most likely done in old Cremona.

Remember, they weren't making with our modern morticed neck.   And, they nailed the neck in place.  They weren't doing that from the outside with body closed in the modern way!!   We know that.

When did they get to fine tune the side to side neck alignmemt?   When they pinned the garland and nailed neck assembly to the block.

There is no difficult fitting the top an assemble garland and back.  The whole glue surface is open and exposed to work with.  Just don't attach the fingerboard first.

When do they get to fine adjust the vertical ange of the neck?  None issue using a wedge style fingerboard.  You have full control to match to strong angle when installing the fingerboard. 

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17 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I too suspect that these were very pragmatic people, given the number of instruments they produced.

A couple of efficiency advantages of attaching the top first:

1. Presuming that aligning the neck with the top is more important than aligning it with the back, having the top in place first would give a better reference for straightness when installing the neck.

2. Attaching the back first requires that the neck be fitted to the block/ribs and the button simultaneously, and then nailing on the neck while maintaining that good joint between the bottom of the neck and the button. Attaching the top first, and then nailing on the neck allows getting a good joint between the back-with-button, and the upper block and already attached neck, with a few plane strokes. This would also apply to the more modern mortised necks.

Of course, if the ribs were removed from the mold, and the neck then attached without either the top or back being yet attached, that upper-block/neck assembly could still possibly be planed flat, but it's a pretty spindly assembly to try to plane at that point.

You make good points.

I have never made a baroque style violin but have always assumed that the neck would be attached to the rib structure prior to either the back or top being attached. As you point out, planing the neck root to achieve a perfectly flush fit against the back button would require skill given the spindly nature of the rib assembly. Having said this, Roger Hargrave seems to think that this is a relatively easy task. (See p.69, Journal of The Violin Society of America, Vol.10, No.1)

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1 hour ago, John Harte said:

You make good points.

I have never made a baroque style violin but have always assumed that the neck would be attached to the rib structure prior to either the back or top being attached. As you point out, planing the neck root to achieve a perfectly flush fit against the back button would require skill given the spindly nature of the rib assembly. Having said this, Roger Hargrave seems to think that this is a relatively easy task. (See p.69, Journal of The Violin Society of America, Vol.10, No.1)

I make no claims to doing things with perfect historicity, but here's what works for me.

When the ribs are finished but still on the form, I plane the rib surface where it will receive the neck flat, just a couple passes with the plane set finely. I glue on the neck with fresh, strong casein. I take pains to get the neck glued on perfectly aligned with the centerline scribed on the form, but sometimes it is slightly off. That's ok of course because of the locating pin scheme.

I then plane the rib taper into the ribs on the back surface only. This could be done on the belly side only, or on both sides just before gluing on the neck.

Using the locating pins, I register the neck-garland assembly to the plates and take the outlines with the form still in. If I got the neck on right in the first place, this is just fine and whatever if any fudging needs doing can be done within the bounds of the oversized overhang. 

If, for whatever reason, the neck glued on more askew than I'd like, I take the form out and wiggle things around to get it all aligned on the back, take the outline, work the back and glue it in place before doing the belly. 

Final outline, purfling, and edge work done on the closed box. 

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I make no claims to doing things with perfect historicity, but here's what works for me.

When the ribs are finished but still on the form, I plane the rib surface where it will receive the neck flat, just a couple passes with the plane set finely. I glue on the neck with fresh, strong casein. I take pains to get the neck glued on perfectly aligned with the centerline scribed on the form, but sometimes it is slightly off. That's ok of course because of the locating pin scheme.

I then plane the rib taper into the ribs on the back surface only. This could be done on the belly side only, or on both sides just before gluing on the neck.

Using the locating pins, I register the neck-garland assembly to the plates and take the outlines with the form still in. If I got the neck on right in the first place, this is just fine and whatever if any fudging needs doing can be done within the bounds of the oversized overhang. 

If, for whatever reason, the neck glued on more askew than I'd like, I take the form out and wiggle things around to get it all aligned on the back, take the outline, work the back and glue it in place before doing the belly. 

Final outline, purfling, and edge work done on the closed box. 

Jackson, thank you. This all makes very good sense, at least to me..

Do you use anything other than casein glue to hold the neck in place, for example, some form of screw through the top block into the neck? I would imagine that if you were nailing the neck, as was the case in Cremona, this would ideally be done at the same time that the neck was glued, or maybe not???

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11 minutes ago, John Harte said:

Jackson, thank you. This all makes very good sense, at least to me..

Do you use anything other than casein glue to hold the neck in place, for example, some form of screw through the top block into the neck? I would imagine that if you were nailing the neck, as was the case in Cremona, this would ideally be done at the same time that the neck was glued, or maybe not???

I can't believe I forgot to address that! Thank you for asking. 

I add the  silicon bronze cut thread screw as soon as I have the rib-neck assembly off the form. I would add the nail at the same point. The casein glue joint is very strong and has no difficulty holding together between when I stick the neck on and when I get the form out. 

Depending on how you shape the heel, you could clamp the neck on, but I find gravity sufficient to hold the neck in place once the glue is applied, and once it's cured it's really quite stable. 

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I can't believe I forgot to address that! Thank you for asking. 

I add the  silicon bronze cut thread screw as soon as I have the rib-neck assembly off the form. I would add the nail at the same point. The casein glue joint is very strong and has no difficulty holding together between when I stick the neck on and when I get the form out. 

Depending on how you shape the heel, you could clamp the neck on, but I find gravity sufficient to hold the neck in place once the glue is applied, and once it's cured it's really quite stable. 

I would have asked the same question too:)

It seems like a great strategy, even in my opinion it makes perfect sense to glue the neck with the ribs still on the form and fix it with nails (or screws) later when the form is removed. This solves the problems with the taper that can be easily be done before attaching the neck, and planing the heel flush with the ribs on the side of the back, much more comfortable to do with the rib assembly made stable by the form.

May I ask what casein glue you use, or how do you make it?

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