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BigFryMan

first violin build thread - Del Gesu 'Alard'

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Looking good.

What's driving your purflng platform height and width?  What's your plan cutting the purfling channel?  Mark and cut with knife or try to cut with the purfling marker?

 

Cheers

Stephen

Was planning on getting to around 12mm wide flat space around the edges and then marking 11mm wide with the purfling marker to cut the fluting channel to. After the fluting channel is done I'll mark the purfling channel with the purfling marker and then cut with a knife.

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If you're aiming for 5.5 mm starting thickness then i guess you're following the Hargrave Classical Cremona technique.

One alternative is what is in the Courtnall & Johnson book.  They have 4mm edges, 4.5mm in the corners.  The platform is flat and the channel cut into this before fluting.  Mark with a Purfling marker and cut with a knife (alternatively you could make the outside cut with the marker then an inside cut with the marker the way  Roger and other do).  If you reduce your edge thickness to 4mm, make the platform 9mm in the upper and lower bouts and only 7mm in the c's to prevent cutting into your arching.  One advantage of this method is that it lets you make some mistakes at the top (the surface of the platform) since this gets cut away after.
The flute then cut way is the way that Davide Sora does it in his videos.  Davide does make it look easy, but i suspect there is less room for error.
 
(when i say 4mm edges, 4.5mm corners, I mean the height of the purfling platform before inserting the purfling)
Edited by Stephen Churchill

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Looking good.

 

Not quite.

 

Actually, the pictures in posts 99 and 100 show that the gouging of the maple is going longitudinally. This is pretty risky because the gouge can take a large chunk out with the smallest sweep due to the flame.

 

Much safer to gouge across the body perpendicular to the long axis.

 

With so many video by good makers, it is sad to see those resources under-utilised.

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That's a very nice plane and shooting board Joe!

 

I think my plane (stanley  #4) does leave a lot to be desired, the bottom surface is not completely true as it's been repaired (spot welded) where it looks like the front half cracked and so the front half of the plane lifts up by possibly half a mil. Because of this, (and because my plane is not very long) it's difficult to start at the very end of the board. When I say I can see the plane marks, I can mostly see them when trying to fix up somewhere along the board that was not quit at 90 degrees. so as you plane down at exactly 90 degrees to vertical, you can see where you new cut intersected the old slightly angled cut.

  

I got the # 7 Stanley for $70 at a flea market from a tool dealer. You could easily find a better plane down the road. Prior to that I was using a 14" Buck Bros. Jack plane. I only got the #7 for Cello work. But thinking it is good for shorter stock as well.

Hi Joe,

   Thanks for sharing your pictures.   I prefer to have my plate fixed and move my plane, in case I want to micro adjust the plane.   Also with the plane I can adjust the pressure .. again to micro shave where necessary.  It does take a very very sharp plane blade and practise.  When I joint plates I like to do about 4 or 5 at a time.

I just started using the shooting board for Cello work, and was skeptical how easy it would be to accomplish the task. The blade is still adjustable in the mount so that's not an issue. I'm pretty comfortable using it now so once it's adjusted properly it seems to work better for me than free hand.

:)

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Not quite.

 

Actually, the pictures in posts 99 and 100 show that the gouging of the maple is going longitudinally. This is pretty risky because the gouge can take a large chunk out with the smallest sweep due to the flame.

 

Much safer to gouge across the body perpendicular to the long axis.

 

With so many video by good makers, it is sad to see those resources under-utilised.

Thanks Janito,

 

I was starting to see a bit of tearout so I have switched to gouging with the flame wherever possible.

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Hi guys,

 

Slow progress at the moment unfortunately as I've been travelling and had extended family commitments to keep, life is too busy!

 

However I did manage to do a fair bit more work yesterday. 

 

First I spent a few hours cleaning up all the vertical edges with files and sandpaper. I found that I'd been a little generous in some areas leaving an extra few millimeters to trim down after cutting the outline with a copping saw. I regret that a lot, took too much time haha. On the strad poster for the Alard, the overhang for different sections of the violin varied a lot. from 2.3mm in some areas to 4.5mm in others and wasn't even all over the violin. I would presume that a lot of this was to do with the wear and tear of time and possibly even Del Gesu's 'close enough is good enough' attitude. I took the path of cutting the overhang to 5mm all around the violin and then to file the overhang smaller in spots that where it seemed that the smaller overhang was intentional. Attempting to do this symmetrically rather than haphazardly and much more evenly than the poster.

 

I'd put off trimming the corners to their final shape as I found that quite intimidating so I finally got around to doing this also. I wasn't 100% happy with the corners in my template so I cut my corners mostly by eye and by taking off just a little at a time with a piece of dowel wrapped in 120 grit sandpaper and a square sanding block. I've still left it just a little proud so I can come back to it with a fresh eye and do a final trim up with the back locked onto the ribs with the locating pins. I find the more I do things by eye, the more I enjoy it.

 

I spent a few hours more on the rough arching and cutting a nice platform around the edges of the violin. Getting a lot closer to where I need to be, but I feel I still have a few nights work ahead of me. This is where I got up to around the c-bouts:

post-78203-0-49741000-1434001331_thumb.jpg

I am going to check along the lengthways arch tonight as it looks as though there is still more timber to take down.

 

I want to know how close people tend to get their arching before they move onto fluting the edges. Is it a very rough arching, or to within a millimeter or two? I have been watching the Davide Sora videos a lot and it seems he leaves the back quite rough, cuts the fluting and purfles before finalizing the arching.

 

I found this hole in the side that looks like some kind of wood worm or something. It makes a nasty mark unfortunately, but I don't think there is anything I can do about it:

post-78203-0-06415000-1434001333_thumb.jpg

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I pretty much finish the outer arching completely.  I use 80 grit and a small eraser until drillbit/punchplate marks are gone.  Then with sharp 1/2" chisel I lower the edges to pretty much thier final height, give or take a 1/2mm.  That means the underside {gluing surface} should be finished flat first.  Then I router the purfling grooves, using several passes at different depths until at least a 2mm slot is made or blend the edges and arching areas some more and then router grooves.  Either works, just be neat.

 Davide is the best to follow, good luck.

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Finally got my edges flat and consistent all the way around the violin tonight. That step has taken an unreasonable amount of time. I think this is partly because I'd been playing it on the safe side with the arching as I didn't want to cut into timber that I need later so all the excess timber was in the way. However now that my fluting platform is in, the first thing I've been doing is checking all my arching templates and cutting out much more timber. Should have done this before fluting platform, but I was too chicken. As a side note, I didn't realise how much the maple had blunted my main gouge until I sharpened it again tonight haha, it's a brand new tool! The bluntness just sneaks up on you.

Anyways I had a brainwave tonight. I got really sick of clamping and unclamping the violin back every time I want to change carving direction and I haven't built a cradle yet. I've been carving on a slab of pine clamped to the kitchen table. Tonight I thought to drill holes through it in a couple of rows to take dowel rods that I can push the violin back against to stop it sliding which means that I don't have to clamp it down. Simple idea, but works well. Would never have got away with drilling directly into the table ;)

post-78203-0-51996000-1434140615_thumb.jpg

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 Simple idea, but works well.

 

Yep. 

 

Will work even better if you cut grooves in the dowels that allow the plates to slip in.  The top of the groove acts as a little clamp and stops any tendency for the plate to slide up the dowel.

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Yep. 

 

Will work even better if you cut grooves in the dowels that allow the plates to slip in.  The top of the groove acts as a little clamp and stops any tendency for the plate to slide up the dowel.

Nice idea, might try that. Thanks!

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Finally started the fluting today and so far it's not too tricky. Slow and steady at the moment, I'm about halfway through and enjoying it.

post-78203-0-53838200-1434202087_thumb.jpg

I've only got a couple of hours spare tomorrow, but I should be able to finish the fluting in that time no problems.

Also today I built a depth gauge in preparation of hollowing out the plate and checking the fluting depth.

post-78203-0-43510400-1434202111_thumb.jpg

Considering that the metal frame pro versions of these sell for $200 and up, I think my $3 dial and $5 timber job will do fine ;)

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Considering that the metal frame pro versions of these sell for $200 and up, I think my $3 dial and $5 timber job will do fine ;)

 

Yes, I agree.

 - though I do have a pro version of this tool - I also  used a homemade one, very much like the one you show here, for about the first ten years...

 

Nice! (3$ dial from a wholesale tool catalog? like Harbor Freight? I bought a dial caliper from them (under 5$) that's been working perfectly now for about the last twenty years)

 

You simply do whatever it takes to get the job done, right?

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Finally started the fluting today and so far it's not too tricky. Slow and steady at the moment, I'm about halfway through and enjoying it.

attachicon.gifimage.jpg

I've only got a couple of hours spare tomorrow, but I should be able to finish the fluting in that time no problems.

Also today I built a depth gauge in preparation of hollowing out the plate and checking the fluting depth.

attachicon.gifimage.jpg

Considering that the metal frame pro versions of these sell for $200 and up, I think my $3 dial and $5 timber job will do fine ;)

 

That looks great!  Nice job!   :)

 

You might also consider making one of these for marking contour lines on the outer arching before you start hollowing things out.  This will let you see the details and any minor variations in the arching.

 

post-43707-0-03150000-1434220432_thumb.jpgpost-43707-0-61429800-1434220430_thumb.jpg

 

Very handy tool to have.

 

Keep up the good work.  Its looking great!

 

Joe

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Yes, I agree.

 - though I do have a pro version of this tool - I also  used a homemade one, very much like the one you show here, for about the first ten years...

 

Nice! (3$ dial from a wholesale tool catalog? like Harbor Freight? I bought a dial caliper from them (under 5$) that's been working perfectly now for about the last twenty years)

 

You simply do whatever it takes to get the job done, right?

Haha, 'whatever it takes' is exactly it ;) - I definitely don't have all the patience and skill that I need yet, but I am pretty motivated to acquire them :)

I got the dial from Aliexpress and I could not recommend them highly enough for cheaply priced tools. My two thumb plane I got for $38 delivered for the pair! Incredible when the genuine Ibex planes are around the $80-100 each here in Australia.

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That looks great!  Nice job!   :)

 

You might also consider making one of these for marking contour lines on the outer arching before you start hollowing things out.  This will let you see the details and any minor variations in the arching.

 

attachicon.gif528271_325133650909031_810729754_n.jpgattachicon.gif523495_325133677575695_544152112_n.jpg

 

Very handy tool to have.

 

Keep up the good work.  Its looking great!

 

Joe

Aaaah yes that's the next tool I need to build! I like how you've cut it from one piece of timber rather than wasting time with joining timber - I'm going to use that, thanks!

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Hi guys,

I've gotten a fair bit more work done over the weekend despite being busy. I finished the fluting on Sunday and then cut the purfling slots and installed the purfling before and after work today.

I didn't have quite the right sized gouge for the smaller fluting around the c-bouts so I did multiple overlapping thinner cuts and then cleaned up at the end with a round scraper. Not perfect, but I left a little extra thickness around the edges so I can clean up after the purfling is installed. I also ordered another Dastra gouge that should take care of that situation for the spruce top.

post-78203-0-40344300-1434376095_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-85505200-1434376165_thumb.jpg

You can see the rough cuts around the c-bouts in that last picture, but they cleaned up well with the scraper.

It took a little while to get the hang of cutting the purfling slot - very fiddly job, but got there eventually. I did unfortunately chip my first corner after if just about got it perfect, but I managed to save the chip and will glue it in behind the purfling. This is the corner just before I chipped it:

post-78203-0-99935600-1434376278_thumb.jpg

Tonight I finally got the purfling installed:

post-78203-0-65651400-1434376565_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-88571100-1434376650_thumb.jpg

The mitres are a little rough, the laminations don't line up perfectly, but the join lines up reasonable. I'll put a bit more effor into those on the top. I am pretty chuffed now that it's starting to look like a violin, such a great step to get to :)

post-78203-0-50631500-1434376450_thumb.jpg

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In the future you may wish to be slightly more careful with your glue. For your first instrument you are doing very well. Glue, as you may or may not know absorbs very deep into wood grain, and can leave behind what are referred to as a "glue ghost" { A Molnar'ism}. A glue ghost is a glue spot that looks like its been removed to the naked eye, but once varnish hits it, it will turn cloudy white under the varnish and make for an unsightly spot. This ugly visual anomaly is often the reason that many will ground the instrument with a glue wash, by doing so you basically put a glue ghost over the entire thing, and then when varnished spots won't jump out. There is much debate about using gelatin/glue or not, most agree that the visual optics of the varnish overall will be not as visually appealing if gluewash is used, but one can get nice jobs by using it.

 

A very good trick for putting in purfling, so you don't get squeeze out , is to do the "Hargreave method", a great trick imparted to "us" by Roger. What you will do is mix up slightly thinner than usual glue, cut and fit your purfling dry, carefully remove it after doing so, then place it on some wax paper, then simply brush on to the cut purfling strips and allow to dry, once dry refit the purfling in the channel, then boil some water, with a paint brush, paint over the purfling with the hot water, and bam that's it.

 

The only way you can screw it up is if you make your glue so thick that it could make your purfling too fat to fit back in, but assuming you keep the glue thinnish, this trick will save hours of heartache trying to remove glue, which get's epoxy hard and or eliminates "surprise" glue ghosts which can be a real bummer to your varnish ego.

 

I'n the future if you end up getting glue in areas you don't want or need it, it is best to allow it to gel for about an hour, and then carefully remove by scraping with a plastic device. If you are to attempt to remove any excess at that point with a damp rag, at least you will not be reliquifying  and smearing so much into the grain, Soft wood will be more of a "Glue ghost" problem as it is generally more absorbent. So I would try the "Hargrave method", it is by far the cleanest most accurate way to install purfling. Dry thick hard glue around the edge can really be no fun to remove carefully so as to not damage the work.
 

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In the future you may wish to be slightly more careful with your glue. For your first instrument you are doing very well. Glue, as you may or may not know absorbs very deep into wood grain, and can leave behind what are referred to as a "glue ghost" { A Molnar'ism}. A glue ghost is a glue spot that looks like its been removed to the naked eye, but once varnish hits it, it will turn cloudy white under the varnish and make for an unsightly spot. This ugly visual anomaly is often the reason that many will ground the instrument with a glue wash, by doing so you basically put a glue ghost over the entire thing, and then when varnished spots won't jump out. There is much debate about using gelatin/glue or not, most agree that the visual optics of the varnish overall will be not as visually appealing if gluewash is used, but one can get nice jobs by using it.

 

A very good trick for putting in purfling, so you don't get squeeze out , is to do the "Hargreave method", a great trick imparted to "us" by Roger. What you will do is mix up slightly thinner than usual glue, cut and fit your purfling dry, carefully remove it after doing so, then place it on some wax paper, then simply brush on to the cut purfling strips and allow to dry, once dry refit the purfling in the channel, then boil some water, with a paint brush, paint over the purfling with the hot water, and bam that's it.

 

The only way you can screw it up is if you make your glue so thick that it could make your purfling too fat to fit back in, but assuming you keep the glue thinnish, this trick will save hours of heartache trying to remove glue, which get's epoxy hard and or eliminates "surprise" glue ghosts which can be a real bummer to your varnish ego.

 

I'n the future if you end up getting glue in areas you don't want or need it, it is best to allow it to gel for about an hour, and then carefully remove by scraping with a plastic device. If you are to attempt to remove any excess at that point with a damp rag, at least you will not be reliquifying  and smearing so much into the grain, Soft wood will be more of a "Glue ghost" problem as it is generally more absorbent. So I would try the "Hargrave method", it is by far the cleanest most accurate way to install purfling. Dry thick hard glue around the edge can really be no fun to remove carefully so as to not damage the work.

Jezzupe - Thank you so much for that, it sounds like a great method! I've come across ghosting before, but from white glue, not hide. For some reason I assumed hide glue didn't suffer from it a much so I really appreciate the knowledge! I will try that method on the spruce top.

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Jezzupe - Thank you so much for that, it sounds like a great method! I've come across ghosting before, but from white glue, not hide. For some reason I assumed hide glue didn't suffer from it a much so I really appreciate the knowledge! I will try that method on the spruce top.

Sure, as this is your first time doing this, I would suggest doing a test on a piece of scrap purf to make sure you get the right batch thickness, So when you place the dry glue coated purf back, prior to watering , This way you know you will "fit",... like I said, thick glue can create a "shell" around the purfling and make it too fat to fit in, may be best to get this figured out prior to "the real deal" depending on your fit, you may wish to incorporate some clothes pin like clamps to ensure the purf stays in place after applying the water, a snug fit may not need clamping however.

 

Also just things I notice, things that Ive been burned by before....

 

As I do not know how tall your purfling is, it looks like your channel may be a little shallow? as the purf is sitting up quite high, by the time all is said and done, after bringing it down and finishing the channel/edge, you may get "burn through"  {go through the purfling} and or wafer thin purfling that can be problematic. Your edge still looks a little thick, so keep in mind, once you get the purf level with the maple, you might not have that much more depth you can go before going through the purf. If I were faced with the question...."do I burn through the purfling and have to redo it, in an already existing channel, or "dutch" in a piece, vrs leaving my edge a little fat....I'd go with the later. First times in this are really quite good for just getting the basics of "how it's done" .

 

Making violins is like getting into hard addictive drugs :lol: , like heroin :lol: , you're in the "experimental phase" right now, seeing if a life of being "hooked on the junk" is appealing to you, if your meant to become a junkie, don't worry it will just happen :D after that  there will be plenty of other opportunities to refine your enslavement to the alive dead wood, so to speak :D

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As I do not know how tall your purfling is, it looks like your channel may be a little shallow? as the purf is sitting up quite high, by the time all is said and done, after bringing it down and finishing the channel/edge, you may get "burn through"  {go through the purfling} and or wafer thin purfling that can be problematic. Your edge still looks a little thick, so keep in mind, once you get the purf level with the maple, you might not have that much more depth you can go before going through the purf. If I were faced with the question...."do I burn through the purfling and have to redo it, in an already existing channel, or "dutch" in a piece, vrs leaving my edge a little fat....I'd go with the later. First times in this are really quite good for just getting the basics of "how it's done" .

 

Making violins is like getting into hard addictive drugs :lol: , like heroin :lol: , you're in the "experimental phase" right now, seeing if a life of being "hooked on the junk" is appealing to you, if your meant to become a junkie, don't worry it will just happen :D after that  there will be plenty of other opportunities to refine your enslavement to the alive dead wood, so to speak :D

 

Jezzupe - It's like you can see into the future! I had been tossing up whether to make the purfling channel deeper and in hindsight I should have.

 

The purfling is about 2.7mm tall and I thought I had pushed it deep enough into the channel, but I think a combination of me rushing to get it in and also the purfling swelling with the glue means that some of the purfling is sitting a bit high. I deliberately left a bit of depth in my fluting channel also so I could cut it down a bit with the purfling installed so I'm crossing my fingers not to run out of purfling.

I started cutting it down this morning before work and at one point the gouge actually pulled out some purfling that wasn't in very deep and obviously not glued solid. I cut it straight across and will have to splice some fresh purfling in there:

post-78203-0-42795000-1434414995_thumb.jpg

You'll also notice that at that point the lamination of the purfling strips are not even, one of the blacks is very thin. It didn't start out as violin purfling, I think it's meant for classical guitar as it's 1.7mm thick. I planed it down to around 1.3mm, but I've clearly planed one side down more than the other haha!! 

 

Also, full disclosure, my mitres are pretty rubbish! Bee sting they are not ;) This one is my least terrible:

post-78203-0-64104200-1434414997_thumb.jpg

and this one was awful:

post-78203-0-88099400-1434414998_thumb.jpg

 

As discouraging as that is, I'm totally fine with it as I'm learning via my mistakes and having some fun along the way. 

 

'Experimental phase' hahaha I love that. Totally true as well. It might sound strange having not even finished my first fiddle, but I'm really looking forward to number 2! I've already learnt so much and I know the second one would go together a lot neater and faster. In the same sense I'm really glad I started on the back because it means that hopefully the experience will help me do a better job on the spruce top so I don't have to look at all my mistakes constantly ;)

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Aaaah yes that's the next tool I need to build! I like how you've cut it from one piece of timber rather than wasting time with joining timber - I'm going to use that, thanks!

I think your way might quicker. I was trying to be "fancy" with a nice rounded handle. Also making it your way wastes less wood.

Have fun!

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