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I am about to put the linings on fiddle no 3 , on the first two I copied an old violin I had ( which was in bits) and let the linings into all the blocks. For this one I am following the Art of Violin making book , this shows the the linings just let into the C block with the rest just butted up to the blocks. Is there any theory on this or is it just what different makers do?

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In the C bouts, if the linings try to "unbend", they pull away from the ribs.  In the upper and lower bouts, they tend to stay where they are.  This would be even more important if you don't bother to pre-bend the linings carefully.

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Don's explanation is one that I've heard.  The other is that the small-radius bends at the ends of the C bouts gives them a tendency to crack across the grain at the edges of the corner blocks, especially in highly-flamed wood.  Linings set into the corner blocks span the edges of the blocks, reinforcing the ribs in this fragile area.

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I heard it has its origin in the old Italian method.  Many modern taught methods based on the inside form have the builder take the 

ribs off of the form with linings applied to just one side, then glue the linings to the other side afterward.  Current thinking is that the 

old Italian masters put all the linings,top and bottom on, then removed the rib garland, albeit with not a small amount of distorting of it to relieve it from the inside form.  The letting in to the blocks of the C bout lining it is theorized facilitates this stressful removal operation.

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