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jim mcavoy

Do you spring plates when gluing- revisited (speculation)

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re: niggling( a trifling doubt) that just won't go away~

in my opinion it's all visual. parallel ribs makes the c bout ribs appear too shallow, even tapered looks better and  tapered from top corner blocks down to top block look best.

rather subtle in all honesty, but another box to tick..... :)

I like this quote the best,

 

However..when the violin is strung up - the top becomes shorter and wider, the back becomes longer and narower (and the ribs are racked)  and this is the new set over time  ( as per  Dr Nigel Harris)

 

If as Davide says some of the strads are tapered, the only logic that I can come up with, it is to lessen the long term string deformation on the top arch (not to be confused with wood fatigue)

 

I can't see this as a end all - cure all, and the impact would be small, if at all ....Strad may have thought this relevent

 

Any thoughts...???

 

Jim

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I do know that gut strings were all over the place for gauge and tension and I have no idea what was used in Strad's time other than violins made the transition to modern strings

 

Things like high wind top strings and over wound G strings are a little beyond me

 

jim

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This though occurred to me today while working on the garlands of my next 2 fiddles:

 

Suppose I wanted the neck block short-ish for ease of playing and reduced weight... and wanted to crank out stuff as efficiently as possible.  How should I do it?

 

Making an even taper would mean either I'd have to start with different height corner blocks, or plane off more from the upper ones.  Seems like a bit of extra effort, or messing around with very slightly different sized corner blocks.  Probably better just to have some flunky cut a pile of blocks all the same.

 

It seems to me that the fastest method would be to use a shorter neck block, corner blocks of about equal height and perhaps just slightly shorter than the tail block, and do most of the tapering around the upper bouts.  No exotic acoustic or structural reasons, just plain practical way to deal with a thinner body at the neck.

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This though occurred to me today while working on the garlands of my next 2 fiddles:

 

Suppose I wanted the neck block short-ish for ease of playing and reduced weight... and wanted to crank out stuff as efficiently as possible.  How should I do it?

 

Making an even taper would mean either I'd have to start with different height corner blocks, or plane off more from the upper ones.  Seems like a bit of extra effort, or messing around with very slightly different sized corner blocks.  Probably better just to have some flunky cut a pile of blocks all the same.

 

It seems to me that the fastest method would be to use a shorter neck block, corner blocks of about equal height and perhaps just slightly shorter than the tail block, and do most of the tapering around the upper bouts.  No exotic acoustic or structural reasons, just plain practical way to deal with a thinner body at the neck.

Sounds quite reasonable.

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I think your idea has less margin of error  Planning for the taper is better than hacking neck block down

 

The taper in my speculation is planned... the neck block is cut short ahead of time.  In fact, all blocks are cut near their final height ahead of time, with the idea of having upper and lower corner blocks cut identically initially.

 

Don,

A sanding board makes quick work of this.

 

I agree that you can do things quickly, even other taper methods.  My point is that this just might be a tiny bit less hassle overall for a production shop (given that you want the body shorter near the neck).

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FWIW, I keep boxes of blocks precut (A tad tall) and insert them into the form. I think this is what you want to do.

 

It is just a little planning ahead and stocking sets of blocks. It works for me.

 

BTW, thanks to you, I made a run of block sets from spruce a year ago. Formerly, I used black willow. Remember?

 

Mike

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Factoid:  The Beare book lists 37 violins, violas, and 'cellos.  All 37 have the taper.  Most of the violins are tapered close to 2mm; a few closer to 1mm.  The "Lady Blunt" being very intact is actually gives as 2.2mm.

 

In general, the measurements at the upper corner blocks are similar to the lower blocks, but not religiously so. Some are spot on, such as the Conte de Fontana, 1702:  30.2/30.2.  When there ARE differences, the corner blocks are more likely shorter (although I think I had better double check that).  A big exception is the Gore-Booth 'cello which is 120 at the lower block and 123 at the upper corner.

 

Usually the differences are in 10ths of a millimeter, such as the Harrison: 31.4/31.5

 

I assume there must be some question about how much these blocks have been effected by repairs and the like.

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The reason I taper ribs is for easier access to higher notes.  Since that is my original reason I really would only need to taper the upper e string side bout.  David Lashof mentioned he induces a 0.5mm taper on the neck surface on the same side as the bout I would taper.  Just easier access to high notes is my reason.

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Factoid:  my measurements of the ex-Jackson Strad rib heights:  30 at the neck, 32 at the corner blocks (upper and lower were the same), 33 at the endpin.  

 

This fits my speculation that corner blocks were not of different heights.  Cutting and storing slightly different height blocks might not be a big deal, but if some flunky was gluing in corner blocks and got them in the wrong spot, you might not catch it until it's a bigger deal.  Making them the same avoids that potential problem.

 

I think I've just convinced myself to do it that way.  I have made a uniform taper thus far, and have slightly different height blocks for upper and lower corners,  I have to re-measure them all just to make sure what they are before I glue them in.

 

 

I made a run of block sets from spruce a year ago. Formerly, I used black willow. Remember?

 

Willow might not be a bad thing, but lead willow probably isn't so good.  I have some lead spruce (from you, by the way), and I still haven't quite decided what to do with it.  Endblocks might not be too bad, but corner blocks I think should not be too heavy.

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Factoid:  my measurements of the ex-Jackson Strad rib heights:  30 at the neck, 32 at the corner blocks (upper and lower were the same), 33 at the endpin.  

 

The Beare DOES give measurements at the blocks.  If anyone is interested, I've added some information to post #11.

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Willow might not be a bad thing, but lead willow probably isn't so good.  I have some lead spruce (from you, by the way), and I still haven't quite decided what to do with it.  Endblocks might not be too bad, but corner blocks I think should not be too heavy.

There are several kinds of willow just like spruce. There is a white willow that is low density. I feel that black willow, which I was using, is too dense. (Black willow has a distinctive musty odor.) All it did was add unnecessary weight to the garland. However, there may be some makers who like a heavy garland. 

 

As for spruce, I sent you "Adirondack" red spruce, I think. Some makers swear by it. Its density does have a huge range. I have seen some approach densities of  0.48 .

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[...] 

 

This fits my speculation that corner blocks were not of different heights.  Cutting and storing slightly different height blocks might not be a big deal, but if some flunky was gluing in corner blocks and got them in the wrong spot, you might not catch it until it's a bigger deal.  Making them the same avoids that potential problem.

 

I think I've just convinced myself to do it that way.  [...]

 

Tops come off and on many times over the years.  Edges get doubled.   Blocks don't get higher.  But blocks do get roughed up, and likely do get lowered at times, perhaps becoming less equal.

 

Also, note that the Strad molds very specifically mark 2 block heights, not 3 or 4.

 

My best take on the overall evidence is that makers normally made all except the neck block equal.  But of course, their 'equal' and 'square' depended on the maker and weren't necessarily up to today's precision.  The two marks on the mold give the sizes. 

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 The two marks on the mold give the sizes. 

 

Does the mold state explicitly that these measurements are for the ribs?

 

Or, is this an assumption?

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