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So I finally built a fiddle


lambert
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So when I was 23 I got interested in violin making. I quickly realized I was in way over my head, and after a few years of building other things, and sporadically learning to play the instrument, I've made a dang fiddle. Its not the best fiddle... I have much to learn, but it sounds good, and its not as bad as a couple primitive attempts I've come across in antique stores, so I am pleased. 

 

I havent had the chance to take lots of pictures so this one will have to suffice for now-- but thank you maestronet for answering thousands of my questions along the way. I learned a tremendous amount and am addicted and well into working on #2.

 

post-30512-0-54477700-1420952603_thumb.jpg

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I really appreciate the encouragement and kind words :)

 

Hull and Will L-- I based the mold off of the rib assembly scan on the Titian poster, and had "the art of violin making" and of course Maestronet as my teachers. Manfio's corner and scroll carving tutorials, and Roger Hargrave's edgework article (all of which I hope to improve in #2) were incredibly helpful.

 

The Varnish is the simplest (ie cheapest and fastest drying) solution I could find. Modified 1704 spirit varnish tinted with some aniline dye over an amber shellac ground over a thin gelatin seal. Overall I'm happy with how it turned out-- its got a bit more reds and browns than that infamous "safety orange" color I was trying desperately not to reproduce.

 

I am most pleased that I was able to match the spruce and the maple up color wise, because the red maple I was using was significantly darker than the engelmann. Still for my next attempt I hope to get further into the red brown spectrum overall, and could use some tips. I found that the Spirit Varnishing process was one of the hardest topics to find information on.

 

Regarding the fittings-- Ill probably be less cheap on number 2... Probably. :P

 

Thanks again MN!

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I found that the Spirit Varnishing process was one of the hardest topics to find information on.

Regarding the fittings-- Ill probably be less cheap on number 2... Probably. :P

My advice is never skimp on fixtures and fittings. They don't have to be the most expensive, but they do need to be good. Nothing ruins a reputation quicker than fittings that cause problems.

As for spirit varnishing, the reason why information is hard to come by, is that spirit varnish is difficult to get right and it is extremely difficult to describe the process. I was fortunate enough to have a good teacher, Glen Collins. Glen demonstrated the technique and I think that this is the best way to learn. Reading and looking at photographs is simply not enough. Good spirit varnishing is all about careful preparation and timing, especially timing. By comparison oil varnishing is a doddle.

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I must say, "that is impressive!" My first instrument, which incidentally I saw quite recently, was nowhere close. But are you sure that you live in the US? That brickwork looks very English.

Hi Roger,

 

Thank you for your encouraging words. I can only hope my 100th fiddle will be as good as your 2nd one :P Seriously, without the help of your articles, this instrument probably would have turned out 50mm too long and missing an f-hole

 

As for the brickwork, I live in an older part of Louisville (mid-late 19th century) so its entirely possible that the masons that built it were English. Now I'm curious what gives it away as such

 

Paint your nails with an itty bitty brush every other day or so for several years and I'm sure your technique will improve.   :D

you see, these are the kind of great secrets that the e-how writers won't give away to just anyone *scribbles in notebook* :)

 

First violin makers get so good results nowadays, makes me wonder where it will end.

 

lambert

beware it is addictive, once you have made a couple you can never stop, there is no turning back and I haven't found any rehab yet.

 

Peter- I think good results on first violins are thanks in large part to Maestronet existing. The amount of knowledge shared here is simply incredible. Some of my favorites while researching have been reading through other first time makers like PeSt and Kimmo89's photo documented progress. Being able to read through established makers suggestions is invaluable when it comes to trying to get things right or close to. 

 

As for the addiction... tinkering with violins has pretty much become a daily habit for me. Wont be long now till every wall in the house is covered in arcane scribblings on archings, and thicknesses. Even the cat isn't safe from a scroll spiral or two :P

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Hey good job! If i get close to yors on my first one, I'll be really happy (If I will ever make a first one...).

 

However, the way the shadows are cast on your fingerboard makes me suspect it is not ideally shaped, especially the line in roughly the middle of the fingerboard where the side which is lit by the sun and the side which is in the shadow meet is not very straight. No buzzing strings? Have you had a good violinist comment on how well it plays?

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