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BigFryMan

first violin build thread - Del Gesu 'Alard'

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The Courtnall book gives 24 at the nut and 42 at the bridge side.  The length sought be 270mm.  It should be thinned so you end up with 4.5mm on the vertical side (all the way down, but the end near the bridge can move up a bit.  

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To cut it down a shooting board would work great.  I just put it vertically in vice and carefully work it down.  You need to mark your goal line first of course.  To clamp it on I use a hollowed piece of spruce with some cork contact-cemented on.  

http://stephenchurchill.ca/past-projects/strad-titian-1715/strad-titian-neck-scroll/#jp-carousel-460

Here's some fingerboard pics from my first build

http://stephenchurchill.ca/past-projects/strad-titian-1715/strad-titan-fingerboard/

On my first I used a bass bar clamp to hold it.

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The Courtnall book gives 24 at the nut and 42 at the bridge side.  The length sought be 270mm.  It should be thinned so you end up with 4.5mm on the vertical side (all the way down, but the end near the bridge can move up a bit.  

Thanks Stephen.

 

In regards to height, I think I may have a problem already. This morning I had trimmed my width down on the shooting board, but mostly trimmed on the e string side as when I looked down from the bridge end, the side remaining outside the hollowed out point of the fingerboard was larger on that side. The widths are all good now on the fingerboard, but because I trimmed only on one side, the e-string side of the fingerboard is high. DOH! Shoulda thought of that before only trimming one side. So the e-string side is about 5.7mm high and the g-string side is about 4.8mm high. Now in the Strobel book it specs 4.7mm for the e-string and 5.5mm for the g-string so it would appear that this fingerboard is now trimmed too far and I should buy a new one :( grrrrrr My first non-fixable and costly mistake.

 

How important is it to have the fingerboard higher on the g string side? Or are some violins set up even across the fingerboard? Should I just throw the board away and get a new one or try and even it out? I'm a player so it will bother me a lot if it doesn't feel right, but not having measured many of the violins that I've played, I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes to feel. I would guess that 1mm out is a very big difference!

 

For the moment I have spot glued the fingerboard to the neck to use as a guide so I can keep trimming the neck to shape until/if I buy a new fingerboard.

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Interesting, I don't follow Strobel's measurements then.  

I think you're fine.  My Fingerboards are symmetrical, except for hollowing.  My edges are 4.5-5mm on each side and made even across at the 42mm radius.  The finger board is not flat from nut to bridge, but hollowed with a small hollow under the e-string and a larger hollow under the g-string (I'd have to check what I set these to).  

No offense to Mr Strobel, but I don't know why you'd want the G-side thicker... 

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A second thought... I guess the higher height on the g side could compensate for the extra hollowing.  Then they might have the same height at the mid point down the fingerboard...but I never bothered.  

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Interesting, I don't follow Strobel's measurements then.  

I think you're fine.  My Fingerboards are symmetrical, except for hollowing.  My edges are 4.5-5mm on each side and made even across at the 42mm radius.  The finger board is not flat from nut to bridge, but hollowed with a small hollow under the e-string and a larger hollow under the g-string (I'd have to check what I set these to).  

No offense to Mr Strobel, but I don't know why you'd want the G-side thicker... 

 

Hi Stephen,

 

How do you achieve your hollowing? Do you use a scraper? 

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I have had some success with bending a thin scraper over the fingerboard.  Alternatively you could sand with a block and plenty of cork on it.

Use a wedge (like a piece of cedar shim they use to square up door frames) to create a tapered feeler gage.  With a straight end along the length of the finger board you can push the feeler gage underneath.  Mark on the gage the thicknesses you're going for.  Courntall suggests .75mm under the E and 1mm under the G.  I think the E doesn't need that much.

The hollowing should be even end to end.  You can move a shorter straight end (maybe a 10cm rule or prepare a piece of wood 8-10cm long) along the fingerboard to check the consistency of the curve.

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Thanks Stephen.

 

In regards to height, I think I may have a problem already…..

 

Just take the e side down to match the g side.

no need to even think about scrapping it.

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Just take the e side down to match the g side.

no need to even think about scrapping it.

Thanks John, I'll do that. I'm guessing this is a job for a block plane?

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Got a bunch of work done on my neck tonight.

I tried to follow the method in Davide Sora's YouTube videos as much as possible. So I planed the neck root and sides to the angle of the mortise then put a 45 degree facet on each side and then filed down the corners of those faces to double the number of faces. Now the neck facets are done I need to round them off and blend into the neck root and scroll heel. Also still have a bit of scroll cleanup to do.

post-78203-0-49707700-1436450794_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-21644700-1436451087_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-02385600-1436451117_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-97236700-1436451147_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-24606200-1436451184_thumb.jpg

I was very nervous of this step and quite a few times I thought I'd screwed something up or filed too far, but I have to say that Davide Sora's methodology is very sound. You can check yourself so many times and there is still room for recovery even if you make a mistake at most points.

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Tonight was productive!

I smoothed out the neck and butt of the scroll and just about finished gouging the scroll fluting. I glued the last three sections of linings for the bottom side of the ribs and I also joined my spruce billets. I could not believe how easy it was joining the spruce billets, took my about 20mins all up to plane the join accurately enough. Thanks very much to my new veritas plane!! My maple back took 16hrs of frustration due to a crappy Stanley that didn't have a flat sole. Lesson learnt.

post-78203-0-87007300-1436539825_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-82762700-1436539859_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-35855100-1436539899_thumb.jpg

Feeling pretty chuffed about my progress tonight :)

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Tonight was productive!

I smoothed out the neck and butt of the scroll and just about finished gouging the scroll fluting. I glued the last three sections of linings for the bottom side of the ribs and I also joined my spruce billets. I could not believe how easy it was joining the spruce billets, took my about 20mins all up to plane the join accurately enough. Thanks very much to my new veritas plane!! My maple back took 16hrs of frustration due to a crappy Stanley that didn't have a flat sole. Lesson learnt.

attachicon.gifimage.jpgattachicon.gifimage.jpgattachicon.gifimage.jpg

Feeling pretty chuffed about my progress tonight :)

Looking good. The only advice I would give is to remeber you are doing this because you want to and love doing it, not because of or for money

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Looking good. The only advice I would give is to remeber you are doing this because you want to and love doing it, not because of or for money

Hahaha definitely not doing it for the money ;) - This violin will be a first time keepsake so its only gonna cost me. I'm pushing hard time wise at the moment because my wife and I are moving to Canada, probably in around 6-7 weeks so I really want to get this finished before then. If I can prove to myself that I can do a reasonable job then I can justify bringing my tools and continuing to make fiddles on the side as a hobby and hopefully even sell one or two.

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More progress, just been too busy to take photos and post it.

 

Rough carved spruce, cut the fluting and just started cutting the purfling slot this morning:

post-78203-0-46422100-1436943943_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-24309000-1436943942_thumb.jpg

 

I found the spruce top a LOT more scary to cut as it seems to cut so easily that mistakes happen very fast. I've had a few little minor chip outs around some of the edgework that I don't quite have the finesse to fix yet.

 

Also removed the ribs from the mold (SCARY):

post-78203-0-40017700-1436943940_thumb.jpg

 

Only has the lining on the maple side so that I could remove it from the mold. My plan is to temporarily glue the maple back to the ribs so that they hold their outline and then add the lining for the top of the ribs. After that I'll glue the spruce top on and then carefully remove the maple back so that it is easier to cut the neck mortise which is currently scaring the crap out of me.

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Partly cutting the neck mortice before gluing the ribs to the back is easier, assuming you get it right. 
I also drill and ream the end pin hole with the ribs in the vice before gluing to back. 
Particularly useful for Cello since the end pin line up is vital. 

I've made a few Alard inspired fiddles, they work well as a design mainly because the Alard is wide at the hips...essentially a box that pumps well. 
The corners on the Alard are actually quite dainty and the original has plenty orange varnish on it. 
 

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After looking at those pictures for a little while, the edgework really stands out to me. The fluting is a lot deeper than I realized and the edgework is still in great repair. The f holes are quite obviously different to each other in shape, but also positioning. A very beautiful instrument, but the f holes do look a little agricultural hahaha. It'll help me to feel a bit better when mine don't turn out perfectly ;)

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Hi guys,

A lot has been happening at the moment so I've been a little busy to post. Last week I was made redundant at work so I only have two weeks left before I'm finished. Looks like my wife and I are moving to Canada early September so this gives me a month to finish this violin!

Despite not posting much, I have also been very busy with the violin and making solid progress. The spruce top cut like butter and scared the crap out of me. It feels like you only have to sneeze and you can knock a chip out of the edge work. I won't bore you with too many details, but the purfling's in, top carved and scraped, have done the basic graduating and I cut 1 and a half f holes tonight before my wife coaxed me away to bed.

I couldnt explain to you how much fun I'm having doing this, I really enjoy it. If I disn't have a wife, I probably wouldn't sleep.

post-78203-0-27398800-1437489187_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-81333400-1437489323_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-11021800-1437489433_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-69061100-1437489469_thumb.jpg

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Hi guys,

...and I cut 1 and a half f holes tonight before my wife coaxed me away to bed.

Hah!

Me likes. Good work, keep it up.

Thanks for showing your progress.

"Coaxed", yes I've been there many times.

Smart girl.

sometimes they keep us grounded and realistic, when, probably, we need a bit of both...

(- the only thing I can't figure out how to do, is; likewise, when it's her going round, and being an idiot with some stupid project involving; either the home, or decoration - something STUPID like that.)

Oh, our better half's...

Thank GOD for their realistic comprehension of the universe, and our tiny 'man-brains' absorption in these idiotic, non-essential pursuits!

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Hah!

Me likes. Good work, keep it up.

Thanks for showing your progress.

"Coaxed", yes I've been there many times.

Smart girl.

sometimes they keep us grounded and realistic, when, probably, we need a bit of both...

(- the only thing I can't figure out how to do, is; likewise, when it's her going round, and being an idiot with some stupid project involving; either the home, or decoration - something STUPID like that.)

Oh, our better half's...

Thank GOD for their realistic comprehension of the universe, and our tiny 'man-brains' absorption in these idiotic, non-essential pursuits!

 

Hahaha,

 

You're definitely correct there Craig, I’m not sure where I’d be without her keeping me sane! We’ve only been married for about 20 months and I can tell you that it took a lot of adjustment on my part to make sure I was worth living with. I used to get very involved in my projects constantly outside my 9-5 job and I’d just work till I was so tired that I had to stop, usually around 1-2am every night. I can deal with no sleep for a few weeks at a time no problems. Took a while to get it through my head that my wife didn’t enjoy me doing that and she needs a lot more sleep than I do! Because of this however, I’m a lot less grumpy and a whole lot healthy so I can’t thank her enough. You can last for a lot longer working on a project when you've got sleep J

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Lots more work done this week, charging through at the moment!

 

Soundholes are cut and I finished graduating and tuning the plates.

post-78203-0-44870400-1437742980_thumb.jpg

 

Because I only had the bottom side linings attached (so I could remove the ribs from the mold) I have temporarily glued the bottom plate to the ribs so that i can glue in the top linings. I also sat the spruce top on just so I could have a good look at how it will look glued up.

post-78203-0-53450500-1437742974_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-15245500-1437742983_thumb.jpg

 

I fitted the bass bar with chalk. That was not super fun, there are a lot of complex curves to get right. The biggest mistake I think I made was cleaning up the chalk afterwards with water. This caused the spruce to swell slightly so that the bassbar no longer fit the spruce until it dried out a bit!

post-78203-0-25325600-1437742978_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-59710900-1437742970_thumb.jpgpost-78203-0-61234000-1437742972_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

I finished planing the neck root to length and glued the fingerboard back on for lining up the neck mortise.

 

Tonight I glued the top linings on so that I can trim them tomorrow, remove the back, trim the blocks and then glue on the spruce top to begin the neck set on sunday. 

post-78203-0-42817800-1437742976_thumb.jpg

 

I am having so much fun building this violin. It definitely won't be the most accurate or beautiful fiddle in the world, but I have learnt so much that I know I can do a much better job on the next one.

 

Apologies for lack of details, but I have just been powering through as the timeline is about to get very tight and I do NOT want to leave the country without getting this finished. Varnish drying time is now starting to make me nervous!

 

 

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And we have a (temporarily) glued up box!

post-78203-0-17102500-1437838447_thumb.jpg

Tomorrow I'll detach the back to make cutting the neck mitre a whole bunch easier, but it still feels good to get this far.

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