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Step 1: First Violin - Template


Frank Nichols

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I am about to start my first violin. Having read a few books and lurked (and asked various questions here) I think the first thing I will be doing is making the template and mold. I will be making an inside mold using the templates/drawing provided by Addie (THANKS ADDIE for all that work! I really appreciate it).

 

I will do some googling and reading specific to making a mold for the next couple days, and then start with a practice mold or two...

My question today: Is there an advantage to making a "thick" (3mm to 6mm)  template out of plastic or acrylic or plywood that can be saved and reused as opposed to printing the template and using spray adhesive to stick it on to the wood I will be making the mold out of. The print it and stick it approach seems to be less work, but I thought I would ask, and see if there are any advantages or preferences either way.

 

Thanks in advance

Frank

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My two cents would be to go ahead and make a good mold - and build your violin based on that. Then go ahead and make a good template once you get a hold of violin making. Chances are your rib structure around the mold will not be perfect, like mine isn't, and shape your top and bottom after that.

Using a paper template for the stuff I needed a template for has worked for me at least.

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Here is a page that has helped me out quite some. It has 1/1-sized printable templates of molds, FF-s etc etc.

Just in case you haven\t seen it: http://www.makingtheviolin.com/

Thanks, yep, that is already in my bookmark bar in my browser! I could just dive in and follow that and/or a book or two I have, but I am very interested in peoples opinion here. I have seen the most good advice on this forum.

 

Frank

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IF you make a proper template. for multiple uses it should be thin thou... Not a 6mm plywood...

 

The reason I thought about that was I saw a comment (here somewhere I think) that using a thicker template allow you to use a router to cut the wood for the mold. I will be cutting this one with a coping saw, so that won't matter now, but I expect to get a router sooner or later.

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I use a lot of paper templates printed on card stock. It's thick enough that you don't have to glue, just cut out and trace with a pencil.

Note: the Making the Violin templates are in A-sizes, not U.S. Letter, Legal, or Tabloid.

 

Do you also cut out the holes in the template to be drilled into the mold, or do you measure and drill them separately?

(And thanks for your drawings Addie, I am using your drawing (PG) for the Messiah - I think that is the correct one?

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Are you using an app? In my browser I have a button "More Reply Options" and that will get you to the edit/format options without having to post first.

I wrote, pressed post, and the read what I wrote. I had formulated my self very messy, so I edited it after it had been posted. And just to avoid the "What do you mean with that" questions, I crtr-Xed my text and reposted `something` only to ctrl-V and edit my text... Yey! ;)

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Just my two coins: any kind of paper can be a subject of dimensional changes, cause by changes of humidity and/or temperature. 

 

Yup, thanks for reminding me, I guess that means I print it, check it and use it at once. That also would imply maybe spray adhesive needs to be reconsidered - something that doesn't wet the paper and result in swelling or shrinking before I finish cutting - Thank! Good point.

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Routers are for chinese fiddle-workshops. Go manual!

 

I agree, the reason I am making a violin is that I want to enjoy the process of making it with my hands. The router, should I get one, would be used in the making of tools - and I guess I kind of think a mold is a tool, but I guess that is a rationalization :) I should not use a router in the process of making the violin. Period!

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I mark the hole centers with an awl. Mark out the scroll the same way, or poke holes in the paper and mark the volute with a pencil.

The holes in the forms are different from the big ones that people use with C-clamps these days. If you use Strad's holes, you have to use his dowels and sticks (counter forms) as well.

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I mark the hole centers with an awl. Mark out the scroll the same way, or poke holes in the paper and mark the volute with a pencil.

The holes in the forms are different from the big ones that people use with C-clamps these days. If you use Strad's holes, you have to use his dowels and sticks (counter forms) as well.

 

Using the punch is a good idea, thank you, it seems I always come up with the more complex way to do things - lol.

 

Cool, thanks. I was planing on using dowels on the mold and form fitting pieces pressing on the outside of the ribs with dowels in them and then rubber bands between the two to hold the presses and ribs in place and shape . I will read more on how to use the holes - thanks.

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Yup, thanks for reminding me, I guess that means I print it, check it and use it at once. That also would imply maybe spray adhesive needs to be reconsidered - something that doesn't wet the paper and result in swelling or shrinking before I finish cutting - Thank! Good point.

I am out of that business, but when I worked in the print shop, when we had to prepare something in full color, we used some kind of transparent foil, instead of usually used transparent "paos" paper.

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I make my moulds by starting with 1/8" polycarbonate. I spray the paper template onto it, and shape it with the bandsaw and then files and finally fine sandpaper. I only make the half mould this way. Then I put it down on 12mm ply with two indexing pins and trace it, bandsaw it, and then use the template to rout it out. Perfect symmetry and right angles all around. The only drawback is no "organic" inconsistencies. But I suppose those will come along as the mould wears.

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 I only make the half mould this way. Then I put it down on 12mm ply with two indexing pins and trace it, bandsaw it, and then use the template to rout it out. Perfect symmetry and right angles all around. 

 

 

I don't understand the use of 1/2 template for symmetry vs a whole asymmetric template? It seems the Stradivari are asymmetric, and if we are using them as an example, then why start with a symmetric mold? Is the assumption the asymmetry is a result of age, and it started symmetric?

It doesn't seem to be that much more work (maybe less?) to start with a template reflecting the model I am basing my build on (Messiah in my case) - maybe the asymmetry is partially responsible for the sound? 

 

Inquiring minds want to know - only one more day until I cut the mold and at this point I am going with Addie's template which is not symmetric? Should I change my mind?

 

Frank

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Do we know if the masters started with symmetric moulds?

 

Some original forms of Stradivari are asymmetrical, but I believe that the asymmetry is created with the drawing and working process of the form, not made intentionally in the original design of the form.

For example, the PG form has corner block lines which are out of square to the center line, and if one starts with a block which is higher than other asymmetries are unavoidable.

However, I don't see large intentional asymmetries.........come on, after all they are "almost" symmetrical. :rolleyes:

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