Cloth linings on cello ribs


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I use cloth straps about 5 cm wide spaced about 1cm apart, just overlapping the linings. I do it to strengthen the ribs, which I like to make  fairly  light. The ribs are really  tough when they're lined. 

Stradivari  lined his, and according to Saconi, not one crack has appeared in ribs where the cloth remains in place. Good enough for me!

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I believe that rib miters on pre-violin instruments without corner blocks were sometimes reinforced with linen.  So it would not have been unknown to Stradivari.  Considering how thin a 'cello's ribs are in relation to the amount of their surface area it seems like a logical and easy way of adding support.

I saw a G.B. Guad that Sacconi had just restored which had a patch of linen covering the lower third of the back.  Whether this was added or original to Guadagnini I don't know.  

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The grain in the rib runs against the grain in the blocks, and so the two are working  against  one another. Often the glue  holds and the rib  cracks as it shrinks. A cloth reinforcement  will support  the rib, while  still  being  flexible. 

I sometimes  make violas without corner  blocks, and tuck a patch of linen into the corner.  It makes for a very strong corner, maybe even less likely to  fail than one with a block.

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1 hour ago, arglebargle said:

Thanks guys,

Conor, when you say "light" how thick do you mean?

Any particular reason you don't do the whole rib rather than just stripes?

I'm not sure what Conor's experience was, but I found the smaller pieces of cloth are just easier to handle. It might be quite awkward to glue in one large piece of cloth soaked in glue onto the lower rib in a cello.    

I've used linen cloth in some cellos and also in violas da gambas. 

Here is a cello with linen cloth on poplar ribs.

58c187ee2f01d_cellowithlinenclothonpoplarribs.png.446d5568875c5b2188e9f70e203c1197.png

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On 3/8/2017 at 1:38 PM, arglebargle said:

Hi All,

For those of you that line your cello ribs with silk or muslin or some other cloth, could you please explain the reasoning behind that.

Is it to strengthen the rib or to stabilize it?

It's easy to do an experiment with scrap pieces of cello rib. .With linen glued to one side, bend the rib by applying force to the opposite side (impact or deflection on cello ribs will almost always be from the outside). Force required to break the sample  will be vastly increased, compared to a sample without the fabric.

Like Connor, I overlap the linings a little bit to avoid creating a stress concentration where the linings end and the fabric begins.

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12 minutes ago, arglebargle said:

Thanks.

Linen, silk or something else?

I use linen, partly because it will expand a little when glue is applied (as will the wood), and they seem to contract at about the same rate when the glue dries. I don't know if silk will do this, or if adhesion with silk would be as good. I haven't experimented with it.

One wouldn't want the wood to contract, and have the reinforcement not contract.

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It just occurred to me that one could test the tension silk or linen or other reinforcements might create with humidity changes by making something like the wooden hygrometer. 

The wooden hygrometer is made by gluing a long strip of spruce cross grain to another piece of wood. Hard to explain, but both pieces are very thin and the winter grains of spruce end up looking like rungs of a ladder along the long strip. As humidity changes the spruce shinks crossgrain and the other piece doesn't shrink much along its length, so the piece bows one way or the other with the seasons.

If you replaced the spruce in this example with another reinforcement you could get some sense of humidity related stress. Seems as though these materials have a long history of use in the industry, but I have wondered about different materials and how closely they change with the wood. 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

I use linen, partly because it will expand a little when glue is applied (as will the wood), and they seem to contract at about the same rate when the glue dries. I don't know if silk will do this, or if adhesion with silk would be as good. I haven't experimented with it.

One wouldn't want the wood to contract, and have the reinforcement not contract.

Hi David,  On maple cello ribs with linen cloth glue inside, what thickness do you typically plane the ribs to?   

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I always use the strips of cloth for cellos, in order to keep the ribs thickness on the thinner side (1.5 mm), using cotton tapes for dressmaking that have the advantage of being hemmed on the sides and not to fray, and that can be found of any desired width.

I have started to do so by following the tips of Sacconi, who said that Stradivari always used them for that reason, but I've always wondered if he was the only one to use these reinforcements : has anyone ever seen these strips inside cellos such as Filius Andrea, Montagnana, Guadagnini or other makers of the classical period?

 

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47 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:
 

I always use the strips of cloth for cellos, in order to keep the ribs thickness on the thinner side (1.5 mm), using cotton tapes for dressmaking that have the advantage of being hemmed on the sides and not to fray, and that can be found of any desired width.

 

I have started to do so by following the tips of Sacconi, who said that Stradivari always used them for that reason, but I've always wondered if he was the only one to use these reinforcements : has anyone ever seen these strips inside cellos such as Filius Andrea, Montagnana, Guadagnini or other makers of the classical period?

 

Thank you David for the measurement.  I haven't heard of or seen cloth on other classical Italian cello ribs. It's a good question!  (I've only seen them on a J.B. Vuillaume cello we had in the workshop)

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I've seen them on a Rugeri cello with 1.5mm thick poplar ribs and they are original. 

The patces in question are fitted as Sacconi mentions them and do not extend onto the linings. Over time this has caused cracks around the ribs at the boundary of ribs and linings. As a consequence I always extend my linen patches onto the linings as a precaution against this.

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10 hours ago, Aubrey K Alexander said:

Are any of you pre-shrinking your linen, or pre-sizing the linen with glue?

Hi Aubrey-  I haven't tried pre-shrinking the linen or pre-sizing the linen with glue.  I haven't found a need to do that, since it seems to work fine without any extra preparation. 

But if you did pre-size the linen with glue, it would have to be a very dilute glue, otherwise the linen would be so solid it wouldn't bend and fit onto the rib. Linen soaked with regular hide glue is very strong - like Melvin said it's "the Kevlar of their day".     

 

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I make the pre-wash in hot water as Conor to shrink the cotton (that should not be done with T-shirts......:)) and then immediately before gluing I brush plenty of glue on the strip on a separate piece of wood to let them impregnate thorougly.                                                                                                                                                               

What you do not want is to glue the strip without being well impregnated with glue, to avoid accidental ungluing that may cause some rattling in the finished cello, that is the main risk of this procedure.

 

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