Sign in to follow this  
Nick Allen

First F holes critiques?

Recommended Posts

Hey guys and gals, 

I completed my first real attempt at cutting f holes. I only used my eye and a sharp knife (with the aid of a paper template I made) to do it. I hacked em out in about four hours. 

To me, they look a bit boxy and stiff. 

Waddya think?

IMG_20161113_202030.jpg

IMG_20161207_172611.jpg

IMG_20161207_172555.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

Hey guys and gals, 

I completed my first real attempt at cutting f holes. I only used my eye and a sharp knife (with the aid of a paper template I made) to do it. I hacked em out in about four hours. 

To me, they look a bit boxy and stiff. 

Waddya think?

 

I think they look nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, carl stross said:

I think they look nice.

Thanks. I was worried they were simple garbage lol. I'm aware I still have much work to do until I'm at the level of anyone on this forum. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

Thanks. I was worried they were simple garbage lol. I'm aware I still have much work to do until I'm at the level of anyone on this forum. 

Not mine - my level is zero. But they look nice to me. In the end you have two options : make a really nice violin and bs people it sounds good too or make a great sounding/working violin and everything will take care of itself if the price is right. I mean, low enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nick, they look pretty nice.  We've cut the same number of f holes so take my observations for what they're worth.  The lower wing (not sure what you're suppose to call them) should be fluted (hollowed out a bit).  Style wise I believe (probably wrong) Strad takes the fluting right to the edge and GDG is a little different, but distinctive.  Look at some pictures and you'll see what I mean. 

Cheers,

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything hand made will look bad if you look too close. :)

Addie's corollary: anything hand made by you will bother you for the rest of your life.  :lol:

Scrolls and sound holes look off if they have bumps and kinks that interrupt the flow of the curve.  I see minimal kinks here.  So, no problem.

Just one question: are you copying the asymmetry, or was it spontaneous? If spontaneous, it's amazingly good... they please the eye, but aren't the same at all. Rather like the human face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Addie said:

Scrolls and sound holes look off if they have bumps and kinks that interrupt the flow of the curve.  I see minimal kinks here.  So, no problem.

It's all relative.  I do see some unevenness in the flow, some bumps and kinks, and the width of the opening might be a little too uniform for my taste.  Here is a comparison with the Kreisler Guarneri F, to get an idea of the differences (another example probably would have been better, but this is what I had easily available).

F compare.jpg

Still, pretty nice for a first one.

I'm much more disturbed by the choice of the top wood, but I kinda obsess about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Turn the violin upside down and look again at the F holes when they are the wrong way up - you will see new things.

Humans are not very good at 'taking in' details of images that are presented horizontally.  There is strong preference for up-down images, probably related to innate facial-recognition wiring.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another  trick is to take the gun barrel  view of a line or curve. You'll  see any bumps and lumps  very easily.

Remember to  look at your  f holes from the  side  too. See how  they sit in the arching. I like them to be parallel to the edge. 

Well done!  (As  Jacob Saunders once said)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're good 1st fholes.  Nice job.

I do see the unevenness that Don mentioned, though.  It is tough to avoid that with the hard grains in the spruce, but there's a basic principle that can help.  My teacher told me to 'use the largest tool that is practical for the job'.  Over time I've come to understand that to mean different things in different situations.  In the case of fholes it means you want something that follow the contour well.  For example, I would use a bridge knife with a long tip and about 35-45 degree blade angle in the eyes.  It will turn those corners nicely, but I wouldn't use the tip of that blade for the long flat areas.  In fact I might consider switching to a different knife with a longer bevel that gives a longer, flat area for the blade to ride against the wood.  This reduces the amount it wants to dip in to the soft areas.  The knife I use has a 25 degree bevel and is not ground to have such a long pointed tip as my bridge knives.  It won't do tight curves without chatter, but it will be easier to cut a gentle curve with.

I might get in there with a file in some spots.  I'd use a tiny bird's tongue file for this because it has a variety of radii for the eyes.  You always want the radius closest to the shape you're cutting without running the risk of the edges digging in and causing flat spots.  The bird's tongue is great for this.  You would want something a bit flatter in the body of the fholes, again getting as close to the contour of the work as you can, but no need to have more than 2-3 file choices here.

The bumps that I see are all on the winter grain, so that's something to watch next time around.  Really can't complain for a 1st set of fholes, but hopefully some of that might help next time around.  There's always something...
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overall they look good especially for your first time.   I see a bit of asymmetry in slant... the left side has more tilt that than the right side... or it could be just the distortion from how the top was photographed.  The more slant you have the more spruce grain lines have been cut which will have an influence on the sound.  I tend to keep my f-holes a bit more vertical than what you have.   What is your spacing between the upper f-holes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick

The only straight lines in an f-hole are at the end of each wing. (they are part of the "comma")

As you approached that straight line you unconsciously straightened out the approaching line.

The notches are positioned at the inflexion of the line joining  the commas. Notice how, starting at the notch, the radius of curvature decreases as it approaches the comma.

Have a close look at Don's post of the Guarnieri repeating to yourself "no straight lines - no straight lines..."

cheers edi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Addie said:

I would leave them alone.  

Best advice I've ever been given is "treat them like etudes". I had to hear it many times before it truly sunk in. Sometimes you just accept it and try to correct it on the next one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Thanks for the critiques guys. Although it's nice to hear I did a good job, I value the critical information much more. I've figured out where I'm seeing stiffness, which is where Don mentioned the uniform width of the opening, and Edi said about the straight lines. 

I didn't plan the assymmetry, Addie. I just kinda laid em out, and didn't notice the difference in position when they were on pencil lol. 

Measurements: 

Between upper eyes- 42mm

Inner edge at diapason- 76.5mm

Between outer edges of lower eyes- 139mm

Length (L)- 78mm 

Length (R)- 79mm

Distance from edge lower eye (L)- 12.4mm

Distance from edge lower eye (R)- 12.9mm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, edi malinaric said:

Hi Nick

The only straight lines in an f-hole are at the end of each wing. (they are part of the "comma")

As you approached that straight line you unconsciously straightened out the approaching line.

The notches are positioned at the inflexion of the line joining  the commas. Notice how, starting at the notch, the radius of curvature decreases as it approaches the comma.

Have a close look at Don's post of the Guarnieri repeating to yourself "no straight lines - no straight lines..."

cheers edi

Ditto, although a bit of straight lines lie in the stems.

I think this analysis of the curves (thanks to David Beard) is very useful to keep in mind when cutting, not necessarily as a design system, but as an idea of the development of the lines.

Lady Blunt F-hole curves.jpg

 

The pair of your F-holes with the stems so straight and tilted give an appearance that resemble more a triangle than a more appealing trapeze,  hence the overall impression of stiffness to my eye.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also note how the body of the fhole runs parallel to the grain for a bit in the Guarneri photos. In order to get that straightness you would have to move the upper arc of the fhole outward and straighten up the body. Let it arc more into the narrow portion rather than such a straight body into a more abrupt transition into the eyes  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, catnip said:

Overall they look good especially for your first time.   I see a bit of asymmetry in slant... the left side has more tilt that than the right side... or it could be just the distortion from how the top was photographed.  The more slant you have the more spruce grain lines have been cut which will have an influence on the sound.  I tend to keep my f-holes a bit more vertical than what you have.   What is your spacing between the upper f-holes?

Your f-holes are almost too perfect, which is why I like the bit of asymmetry pointed out by Catnip.  The "stiffness" you mentioned is what comes, I believe, from being too perfect -- in my eyes,  "sweet neglect more taketh me" (Ben Jonson, about 16th century), hence my affection for Guarneri del Gesu over Stradivari.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Trenchworker said:

Your f-holes are almost too perfect, which is why I like the bit of asymmetry pointed out by Catnip.  The "stiffness" you mentioned is what comes, I believe, from being too perfect -- in my eyes,  "sweet neglect more taketh me" (Ben Jonson, about 16th century), hence my affection for Guarneri del Gesu over Stradivari.

Well, "perfect" is another story.......:)

Personal, yes, and this is appreciable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.