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Here you can follow me constructing the super-light violin. It will be the craziest thing I ever made and please don't take it too seriously. It is the violin maker joke from my workshop. But at least I am serious enough to make it the most professional way I can imagine. So following the footprints of Antonio Stradivari everything starts with a drawing. I decided to throw over board symmetry as well and came up with the funny design below. To save weight the length is only 351mm and all distortions follow the 10 percent rule which means that one f-hole is 10 percent longer than the other.

23658365_1735802469785038_7369979204439717402_n.jpg

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Andreas, you starting a bench thread is an unexpected pleasant surprise.  I look forward to following it.  Is there actually a 10% rule or is it just a SWAG (scientific wild a$$ guess)?

-Jim

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I should have mentioned this previous thread before about making a ridiculously  lightweight fiddle.

It's not done by a high-level maker, but there might be something in it to think about.

If the goal is to see how light you can go, then using a small body and messing with the geometry makes sense.  If the goal is only to get down to 350g or so, I think it could easily be done with a normal, larger body.

 

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1 hour ago, Jim Bress said:

Andreas, you starting a bench thread is an unexpected pleasant surprise.  I look forward to following it.  Is there actually a 10% rule or is it just a SWAG (scientific wild a$$ guess)?

-Jim

Jim,

when you sit at the design desk, you get easily taken away by too extreme thoughts. The hugest difference in the length of treble side f-hole versus bass side f-hole I know of is the Cannon with something like 2mm difference making roughly 2.5% difference. So first I designed at 5% difference but this was not visible enough so I went to 10% and applied this rule more or less to the circles in the design. For the head I thought it would be fun to use the pattern of the Leduc del Gesu because it doesn't have so much material around the volute. And again I will diminish the overall proportions by 8%. 10% looked a little bit too small.

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14 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

I should have mentioned this previous thread before about making a ridiculously  lightweight fiddle.

It's not done by a high-level maker, but there might be something in it to think about.

If the goal is to see how light you can go, then using a small body and messing with the geometry makes sense.  If the goal is only to get down to 350g or so, I think it could easily be done with a normal, larger body.

 

Actually I have looked into his thread before. Quite audacious! And he didn't cheat about the results so I will take some too radical recipes as a warning.

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Fascinating Andreas! I really like these threads and experiments....proof 'n pudding 'n stuff <_<

hopefully you can make some video's with a good player playing it when it's finished.

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46 minutes ago, Emilg said:

Fascinating Andreas! I really like these threads and experiments....proof 'n pudding 'n stuff <_<

hopefully you can make some video's with a good player playing it when it's finished.

I have actually a kind  of dream for this violin: I want to donate it to the community of violin players as a 'messenger for a good cause'. Any professional violinist is eligible to play on it under 2 conditions: The entire revenue of the concert shall be given to a good cause of the violinist's own choice and each time the violin is played a commissioned  fun piece by a contemporary composer must be in the program. After  the concert the violinist puts his signature on the instrument and, if the organization receiving the donation agrees, their logo as well. Anyone is free to contact violinists to arrange a performance.

In real terms those concerts can be for example the Generalprobe for a serious recital.

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17 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I have actually a kind  of dream for this violin: I want to donate it to the community of violin players as a 'messenger for a good cause'. Any professional violinist is eligible to play on it under 2 conditions: The entire revenue of the concert shall be given to a good cause of the violinist's own choice and each time the violin is played a commissioned  fun piece by a contemporary composer must be in the program. After  the concert the violinist puts his signature on the instrument and, if the organization receiving the donation agrees, their logo as well. Anyone is free to contact violinists to arrange a performance.

In real terms those concerts can be for example the Generalprobe for a serious recital.

that sounds like a really nice plan, hopefully the violin turns out to be a good one :D i dont know if Japan has a vast community of players, otherwise you can try South Korea ...

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2 hours ago, Emilg said:

that sounds like a really nice plan, hopefully the violin turns out to be a good one :D i dont know if Japan has a vast community of players, otherwise you can try South Korea ...

Players in Japan are extremely conservative. But this offer is for players world wide and if you know someone, let me know!

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Got a nice nickname for the project now (after a few beers with friends)

STRDIVARIS REVENGE:lol:

you could make a documentary about the project, a bit like the movie 'Strad style' :D

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On 2018/4/1 at 4:29 AM, Emilg said:

you could make a documentary about the project, a bit like the movie 'Strad style' :D

I wished a day had 48 hours and I would immediately jump on it. But maybe I can make a film clip not more than 3 minutes.

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12 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I wished a day had 48 hours and I would immediately jump on it. But maybe I can make a film clip not more than 3 minutes.

i wasnt very serious <_<  i hear it's a nice documentary btw (Strad style)

any short clip will do, would love to hear it when it's done

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5 hours ago, Michael Szyper said:

Dear Andreas, very interesting to follow your project. Did you already make decisions about wood densities? (Especially the top and back wood?)

Michael,

usually I use for my copies very dense and rather heavy wood to match the quality of old Cremonese instruments. This time I am going basically the opposite way, so especially for the heavy parts made of maple I am trying to find wood of very low density.

In case of the top I am not sure if lightweight spruce such as Engleman spruce is a good idea. I heard somewhere that it doesn't produce the best sound. So for the top I am rather trying to find ways to keep the grain straight and uncut within the plate. Maybe it is possible to partially bend it.

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On 4/3/2018 at 6:49 PM, Andreas Preuss said:

Maybe it is possible to partially bend it.

You might as well try bending it all the way - it doesn't take long. 

https://helenviolinmaker.com/steam-bending-fronts-a-practical-demonstration/

Helen Michetschlager's method isn't like Bill Fulton's. It uses steam/heat to plasticize the wood fibers. By the time the bent plate has dried, the fibers now are set in this new configuration with no tendency to return to the original state. 

If you don't like it, you can at least say you've tried. 

Talk to Ben Hebbert about English viol construction. Apparently it was not uncommon to have a central stave bent, flanked by two carved sections. He's got a very successful small viola that was made in this way, or rather produced from cutting down a small gamba. 

Edit: by the way, it is also possible to use Helen's method to bend the back, though it is perhaps less advantageous.

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9 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

You might as well try bending it all the way - it doesn't take long. 

https://helenviolinmaker.com/steam-bending-fronts-a-practical-demonstration/

Helen Michetschlager's method isn't like Bill Fulton's. It uses steam/heat to plasticize the wood fibers. By the time the bent plate has dried, the fibers now are set in this new configuration with no tendency to return to the original state. 

If you don't like it, you can at least say you've tried. 

Talk to Ben Hebbert about English viol construction. Apparently it was not uncommon to have a central stave bent, flanked by two carved sections. He's got a very successful small viola that was made in this way, or rather produced from cutting down a small gamba. 

Edit: by the way, it is also possible to use Helen's method to bend the back, though it is perhaps less advantageous.

Jackson,

thanks for the link to the explanation how to bend tops.

I was actually thinking about testing different tops on my super-light violin. At least two carved tops, one with a high arching one with a low arching. 

Looking at the work procedure for the bent top, I don't like so much the idea to make a double edge for the blocks from the beginning. I was wondering as well what would happen if a finished top is made wet from both sides? But I think you are right, it is definitely worth a shot.

My thoughts of the bent top were rather like making a composite material. If we glue paper on a thin wood board it will bend across the year rings. This could be used to partially bend it crosswise and lengthwise I was thinking of forcing it (not too much) to the ribs) However thinking about how the arching must look like before bending it becomes a sort of a headache.

 

 

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If I ever do a bent top, I'd bend a 50mm wide strip to match the center arch, then glue wings (unbent) to each side.  The wings could be slightly off-quarter to follow the slope of the arch a bit.  I think the center part is the most important structurally and acoustically, and this way you minimize cutting the longitudinal fibers.  The wings are less critical.

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2 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

If I ever do a bent top, I'd bend a 50mm wide strip to match the center arch, then glue wings (unbent) to each side.  The wings could be slightly off-quarter to follow the slope of the arch a bit.  I think the center part is the most important structurally and acoustically, and this way you minimize cutting the longitudinal fibers.  The wings are less critical.

Yes, Don, this was also going around in my mind. I was also thinking about bending the whole top in one direction and making it completely straight along the grain.

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3 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

If I ever do a bent top, I'd bend a 50mm wide strip to match the center arch, then glue wings (unbent) to each side.  The wings could be slightly off-quarter to follow the slope of the arch a bit.  I think the center part is the most important structurally and acoustically, and this way you minimize cutting the longitudinal fibers.  The wings are less critical.

You'd be in good company with Richard Meares.

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8 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Yes, Don, this was also going around in my mind. I was also thinking about bending the whole top in one direction and making it completely straight along the grain.

I think you'd run into trouble trying to bend a 16mm thick slab.  Or you'd have to have variable height ribs.

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On 2018/4/9 at 3:21 AM, thirteenthsteph said:

I'd be interested in a super-light viola right now! Violins are light enough. :lol:

How light is a super light viola? My lightest viola so far weighted 515g and has a 405mm body length Albani model.

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Because I am planning to build composite ribs from very thin maple reinforced with paper, silk or something similar I need an outer mould to assemble the ribs. The counterparts had to be chalk fitted and to prevent the ribs getting glued to the form I covered it with clear tape. For the corner blocks I am planning to use balsa wood. I was thinking long how to make the linings and finally decided that it is structurally best to make it like some Italian guitar maker luthiers: so they will just continue over the corner blocks.

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