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Nick Allen

How long should it take to carve a scroll?

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Just out of curiosity. I'm working on my first real go at it. I've sunk about 10 hours into it so far and I'm at the point where I have it all roughed out and now I'm cutting the side fluting. Haven't started the pegbox yet. 

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Well ...we did have a 3 hour contest a while ago. But I think it's okay to take a bit longer...

;)

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I suppose how long it takes depends on how often you have done it before, how familiar you are with the geometry of that particular model of scroll, how sharp your tools are, and how concerned you are about ruining a nice bit of wood.

The specialist copyists in Reghin take about an hour per scroll, maybe 2 for the whole neck, but that's all they do, day in, day out ...

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1st. scroll, time doesn't matter. Keep it square and the work clean. Pay attention to the throat, the comma of the eye, and keep the middle ridge of the fluting straight. Second scroll, you can worry about time. The third, I'll let you know when I get there. :lol:

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How long should it take to carve a scroll?

 

[Vents the containment, raises her gilded visor, and wrinkles her nose at the smell of laser-broiled maple] That all depends, does coding time count? ;)  :lol:

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I used to be worried about my time doing a process and I was very mistaken doing so. 

 

To my standard these days, and definitely not the standard I want to be at yet, I take 2 days for a violin or viola scroll.

 

This includes selecting the wood, planing it, carving the scroll, hollowing pegbox, making fingerboard, making top nut, reinforcing the heel, shaping the neck and having it ready to go into the body. 95% of the neck work done. 

 

Did two at a time last week and it definitely shortened the times. It is a lot quicker if you work in batches. 

 

 

My two cents worth.

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You say that you've spent a good many hours roughing it out Nick. I wonder how many of us rough out first and then go over the whole scroll to finish every surface at the end. I tend to finish as I go along, first the pegbox and then the turns till I get to the eye. Then the fluting. Of course I make adjustments when I can see the whole form.

I think that a great deal of time is lost cutting oversized, and sneaking back to the line. Better I think to just go for it. The results seem far more immediate and fluent, even in less practiced hands. My favourite work always has that sense of conviction about it.

You should of course take your time, but just a thought.

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I read somewhere that del Gesu carved a scroll in 45 minutes (!) but then some of his scrolls ...

Which, one notes, haven't hurt his violins a bit.  An inspiration to us all. :lol:  Nick, take your time and don't worry how long it takes, so long as it gets done. :)

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Found the pictures... These were made from my Strad and Stainer drawings. The Stainer didn't come out right. They are ordinary (red?) maple.

post-35343-0-48057200-1481308096_thumb.jpg

post-35343-0-23360700-1481308110_thumb.jpg

post-35343-0-99062200-1481308123_thumb.jpg

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Two very nice new necks. One new neck appears to have bushings already. For antiquing purposes?

Yes, for antiquing. That and the holes were in the wrong place. :o:lol:

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Just out of curiosity. I'm working on my first real go at it. I've sunk about 10 hours into it so far and I'm at the point where I have it all roughed out and now I'm cutting the side fluting. Haven't started the pegbox yet. 

 

It takes as long as it takes you.

 

What is your goal here? Working against the clock, comparing yourself to everyone else, or doing the best you can do with what you have in front of you.

 

Give yourself two weeks, and feel good if it only takes you one week and you have a nice scroll to start with.  

 

Keep in mind scroll carving is the easiest and most straight forward part of violin making ;)

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It takes as long as it takes you.

 

What is your goal here? Working against the clock, comparing yourself to everyone else, or doing the best you can do with what you have in front of you.

 

Give yourself two weeks, and feel good if it only takes you one week and you have a nice scroll to start with.  

 

Keep in mind scroll carving is the easiest and most straight forward part of violin making ;)

 

Definitely the best answer.

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It's getting done. I have maybe two hours a day to work these days. Still have to hog out a rock maple pegbox. Christ...

These pictures are from a more unfinished state, though. What do you guys think for a first attempt? I can post better pictures also.

post-78514-0-22301800-1481562419_thumb.jpg

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post-78514-0-54715600-1481562479_thumb.jpg

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 Don't rush it and don't think about time.  Leave that for factory workers punching a time clock. 

 

I remember once Gregg Alf mentioning he was going on vacation down to Mexico. I asked him what he was going to do and he said, "Sit on the beach and carve scrolls."  

 

He made the idea seem so inviting and charming that I had one of those little moments of enlightenment we have from time to time.  Some procedures can be done anywhere.  And taking one's time while taking advantage of different light and angles—and seeing with fresh eyes—allows the scroll to develop rather than being stiffly controlled by force of will.

 

Also, I have heard it said that the scroll is where a maker can put the stamp of his personality if he chooses to.  (I suppose one reason is because it is the part of the instrument which is solely ornamental.)  I can imagine the old boys, after a hard day of making in the shop, taking a scroll with them into the salon and whittling away while telling stories and catching up on the news and gossip of the day.  It seems pleasant to think of working a scroll independently, without concern for perfect efficiency,  as if it is a reward for all the work we are doing on the rest of the instrument.          

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