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Homemade sound post insertion tool


jesuscf
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Very clever device, Jesuscf. I don't think it has the potential to replace my conventional soundpost setter (for reasons which have already been mentioned), but I think it might be a very good device for setting up an already-fitted soundpost which has fallen, for someone who hasn't yet developed a happy relationship with a conventional soundpost setter.

 

But what I'd really like to put emphasis on is it being a really clever engineering exercise, from someone who appears to have uncommonly good intuitive mechanical engineering skills.

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Jesus, I just finished duplicating your design and setting my first soundpost tonight (on a 1/8 violin). Thank you very much again for your creative design and generocity. It worked as well as I could have hoped.

 

I documented the process with images on my amateur repair thread here.

 

After being away from this forum for a while, I am very surprised about the positive reactions about my simple sound post insertion tool design.  I am also glad somebody else actually tried it:  thank you BassClef for replicating my experience with the tool!  I like your pictures; thats is very much what I did.  The only difference, perhaps, is that I inserted the tool through the clef side.  For a small violin like the one you are working on, it is probably easier to use the bass side as you found out.

 

Jesus

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Very clever device, Jesuscf. I don't think it has the potential to replace my conventional soundpost setter (for reasons which have already been mentioned), but I think it might be a very good device for setting up an already-fitted soundpost which has fallen, for someone who hasn't yet developed a happy relationship with a conventional soundpost setter.

 

But what I'd really like to put emphasis on is it being a really clever engineering exercise, from someone who appears to have uncommonly good intuitive mechanical engineering skills.

 

Thanks David.  Good guess:  I am an electrical/electronics engineer.

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 My concern is , would it hold the post tight enough so I could rotate it in the way I have just described?

 

Larry 

 

Not with the wire I used.  With the wire tool it is easy to push and pull, but there is not enough friction to rotate the sound post.  Perhaps if the tool is made with rubber coated wire as BassClef did in this post

 

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330299-ultra-amateur-repair-of-a-18-michel-ange-garini-help-wanted/page-26#entry650739

 

the sound post could be rotated.

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I wonder if there have ever been tests done to measure the resonance and sound conductivity of a untouched soundpost vs a soundpost with the typical tool holes in them. I wonder if the tool that Jesus conceived of, which allows for the insertion of an immaculate unblemished soundpost (vs one with a gash in it) improves sound in a measurable way.

 

Have any of you ever experimented with testing the resonance of different sound posts?

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  • 4 years later...

8FC0FD25-5A00-45E3-9384-37D5B613C3EC.thumb.jpeg.6b8199ee04c576ad1ed5f3b68bb8a412.jpegThis was really helpful.

I made the tool following your instructions, using an old wire coat hanger.

It was a bit difficult getting the dental floss in the correct wrap-around [perhaps you could post some recommendations there also ?], but after a couple of attempts was successful. Tone of violin is good, full and mellow.

You helped me a lot, Jesus, thank you

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks for your ideas. They were a springboard for searching for my own solution. After trying yours I wasn't able to find the right wire. Lost my sound post and made another from a bamboo chopstick. Sounds great! Will upload the tone before and after soon.

In the end I shape a very fine wire into the shape of the tool below - a bit like a pair of tongs. It took 1 minute to push into f-holes then straighten the post at the base.

soundpost tool.png

Edited by Homemade Instruments
aDDING IMAGE
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  • 1 year later...

Thank you Jesús, that was a great idea!

I modded your tool and added an additional loop, in order to be able to secure a pin that I have filed to a suitable shape:

IMG_8940_sm.thumb.jpg.2d0db5ea6e43564f7381c040407df538.jpg

This is how it looks with the pin inserted:

IMG_8943_sm.thumb.jpg.1b486d46b9b0385ef6abd11c04252ccc.jpg

And with the dental floss wrapped around the sound post and tool like in the following picture (the pin is a bit hidden behind the floss), it is absolutely secure and you can easily rotate the sound post:

IMG_8956_sm.thumb.jpg.3e66939160d349feeb38f7361d1126f4.jpg

I hold the ends of the dental floss with my fingers, so when I'm done setting the post, I can just let go and easily withdraw the wire and the floss.

Next I will put some protective tape or shrink tubing on the "straight" parts of the wire, so there is less risk of damaging the f-hole or scratch the top plate in case of accidental contact.

 

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17 hours ago, mezzopiano said:

Thank you Jesús, that was a great idea!

I modded your tool and added an additional loop, in order to be able to secure a pin that I have filed to a suitable shape:

IMG_8940_sm.thumb.jpg.2d0db5ea6e43564f7381c040407df538.jpg

This is how it looks with the pin inserted:

IMG_8943_sm.thumb.jpg.1b486d46b9b0385ef6abd11c04252ccc.jpg

And with the dental floss wrapped around the sound post and tool like in the following picture (the pin is a bit hidden behind the floss), it is absolutely secure and you can easily rotate the sound post:

IMG_8956_sm.thumb.jpg.3e66939160d349feeb38f7361d1126f4.jpg

I hold the ends of the dental floss with my fingers, so when I'm done setting the post, I can just let go and easily withdraw the wire and the floss.

Next I will put some protective tape or shrink tubing on the "straight" parts of the wire, so there is less risk of damaging the f-hole or scratch the top plate in case of accidental contact.

 

Everything that works for you is perfectly Ok, but it seems to me that a traditional setter is much easier and more efficient to use:)

 

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All these "improved" sound post tools that I have seen are bulky and clumsy when compared with a simple S-tool.  The secret of an S tool is in shaping the point so that it holds the post firmly, and nobody seems to snap to that idea, even when told. Since fitting a sound post well is the most critical part of setup, what are the chances that a person who can't take the time to figure out a simple S-tool will ever take the time to learn to fit a post well?

None of the "improvements" I have ever looked at so far actually have a chance of making it easier to set a post properly.

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The idea was not to improve the S-tool, but to address an issue some had with a homemade tool. It might look clumsy, but it gives visual feedback of where the soundpost will be positioned. A person trained as a luthier doesn't need it, but say you live in the middle of nowhere and your soundpost gets knocked over, or you have boght a violin on eBay with a fallen soundpost and just want to put it back (approximately) into place to understand if it's worth bringing the violin to a luthier, it might be useful.
Besides, I have bought an S-tool and indeed the tip it came with is pretty much useless: it is way too wide and not sharp enough. And I don't know (haven't looked up) how I can shape it properly. I suppose easiest would be a bench grinder, but I don't have one at hand...

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6 hours ago, mezzopiano said:

The idea was not to improve the S-tool, but to address an issue some had with a homemade tool. It might look clumsy, but it gives visual feedback of where the soundpost will be positioned. A person trained as a luthier doesn't need it, but say you live in the middle of nowhere and your soundpost gets knocked over, or you have boght a violin on eBay with a fallen soundpost and just want to put it back (approximately) into place to understand if it's worth bringing the violin to a luthier, it might be useful.
Besides, I have bought an S-tool and indeed the tip it came with is pretty much useless: it is way too wide and not sharp enough. And I don't know (haven't looked up) how I can shape it properly. I suppose easiest would be a bench grinder, but I don't have one at hand...

Yes, I understand the problem, the situations and the skill of whoever has to place it may require different solutions. As for the tip of the traditional soundpost setter, you can see mine in this video at minute 6:14

https://youtu.be/hA4Ze_znw4Q?t=374

 

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hi Michael Richwine --

Could you elaborate on how to shape the point of the S-tool? I'm currently setting soundposts starting with that spring-tool fiddlerman shop sells, then moving it around with the S-tool until it's in the right place. But the spring-tool is hard on chippy vanish, & I know I ought to be able to do it using only the S-tool. My problem is that the sound post falls as soon as I put it in -- it's not speared hard enough to get  the initial placement. How should I re-shape the point of the S-tool so that this doesn't happen? (I have a bench grinder so I can re-shape it however is needed; problem is I don't know what I'm shooting for).

Many thanks!

 

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I don't use the traditional s shaped setter for stabbing the post... Always felt the metal was too soft. 

I use a crudely modified small instrument screwdirver with a 3mm shaft of about 3-4 inches,  the end is ground to be about 3-4mm wide, and about 0.5mm thick at 3mm in from the end ... the end of course is sharp like a knife. Works like  a charm and it is easy to lift the post to position the bottom at its ideal spot... I hardly ever use the "mover" end of the traditional setter . Here are a couple of pics... notice that the mark in the post is very small and the same spot is used so that after many tests, the post is not mangled. The setter is pushed into the post only about 2-3 mm and that is sufficient to push and pull and rotate the post.... quick & easy! ... just don't stab your fingers!:P

... My 2 cents

 

1174844956_setterwithpost.thumb.jpg.15cd72ec67142f9f71a5203313ba8b99.jpgblade.thumb.jpg.2702ad6f57982c20e60270d177b1a43b.jpg

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22 hours ago, Al Cramer said:

hi Michael Richwine --

Could you elaborate on how to shape the point of the S-tool? I'm currently setting soundposts starting with that spring-tool fiddlerman shop sells, then moving it around with the S-tool until it's in the right place. But the spring-tool is hard on chippy vanish, & I know I ought to be able to do it using only the S-tool. My problem is that the sound post falls as soon as I put it in -- it's not speared hard enough to get  the initial placement. How should I re-shape the point of the S-tool so that this doesn't happen? (I have a bench grinder so I can re-shape it however is needed; problem is I don't know what I'm shooting for).

Many thanks!

 

This is my old setter that I've had since the 1980s. It's crude, and the metal is indeed soft, so I've bent it up a lot and re-shaped it a lot, but it gets the job done. The main thing is that it holds onto the post until I want it to let go, and it makes a small hole that I can use over and over. One other note, I use a #11 xacto blade to start the hole in the post.

s_tool side.jpg

s_tool top.jpg

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Honestly, a wire coat hanger or a piece of #9 wire and a file is all that's needed in an emergency, and it's really soooo much easier, hence my earlier comments. To each his own, but I'll usually try to save a person some wasted effort if I can. 

BTW, Mat's tool works the same as mine, and almost everyone who does this  a lot comes up with a similar solution, because that's what works. 

Additionally, Davide Sora's sound post video is wonderful, and his setter is shaped very similar to mine - because that's what works. It took me a long time to figure out to dampen the ends of the post to see where to trim to get the fit perfect. It's a huge amount of work to set the light and camera up  to illustrate something like that, not to mention the editing. Thanks Davide! and for the other videos, too! The few people who know what they are doing, and take the time and make the effort to share their knowledge with other people are greatly appreciated!

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Now that I see how the tip of an S-tool is properly shaped, it starts making much more sense to me. The tip mine came with is a sort of large wedge, and it cannot hold a soundpost firmly.
Thanks Davide, Michael, Mat, and all who share their knowledge on this forum!

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The problem I have with tools like this is that getting the post standing up in close to the right place is about 20% of the job. The rest involves a lot of trial and error and a sensitive feel that this tool won't have. So not only can you not do most of the job with it, but you will be actively prevented from learning the most important parts of the job and be stuck at 20% forever, want that or not

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5 hours ago, Mr. Bean said:

In an emergency situation (in the middle of nowhere) I even used a tent peg, sharpened wit a piece of rock as a soundpost setter. :P

Good to be able to use stone tools like the Neandertaler. 

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