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New Fingerboard


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34 minutes ago, keyboardclass said:

The new board is much thicker.  Should I put it on a belt sander or fit as is?  Thanks yet again.


Most of those at the higher levels of the trade don't make much use of belt sanders.

Sure, becoming skilled at using hand tools isn't easy. And learning to become a highly--skilled machinist isn't easy either. But I wouldn't describe using a belt sander to be even a barely adequate description of either someone who is highly skilled at machining, or woodworking.

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No offense meant but the finger board blank above is not a fingerboard. It is, with luck, enough wood to make a finger board.

Tools involved with making and installing a finger board would include planes, scrapers, templates and a gluepot with the correct grade of hide glue. Your question indicates that you are too inexperienced to take on this job. Please see the recent thread on self taught violin makers. 

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On chunks like that, I finish the width first +.5mm per side, then basically finish the scoop on the playing surface,, mark the edges for the thickness, about 5.5, then take it down to just a hair under the line to finish it up by hand. It is almost impossible to finish that much surface perfectly flat with a belt sander. It is fine to take it down with a belt sander, on the sides and bottom,,,, if you are good with it,,,and the belt is sharp and of good quality but leave the last little bit for hand work. If you have an overlapping belt, I grind off the lap with a diamond stone to get rid of the bump, and the table needs to be dead flat preferably with a graphite bed on it.

Then fit to the neck, add the side scoop, and touch up the finger scoop to match.

Got to be careful,, taking too much wood off one side or the other can make them warp, they bend back easily with a bit of heat.

Belt sanders can be wonderful, it just takes a different skill to work them,,,

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55 minutes ago, keyboardclass said:

It's either me doing it or the bin as the instrument's just not worth spending any money on.   Belt sander here I come!  But thanks as always folks, it's all interesting.

A Medio Fino will make a perfectly good violin for a child, it's most likely around 100 years old or more, and they do have some value. It's not like a skylark!

Reading your posts just makes me think you are about to ruin something, which could easily and quickly be fixed by someone who knows what they are doing.

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As others have mentioned, there needs to be quite a bit of forethought and then woodworking to fit a new fingerboard.   For instance, do you want to change the projection height (assuming you aren't going to do a neck reset...maybe a shim is needed for projection, neck thickness,  or overstand issues...or maybe plane a bit more off the bottom of one end of the board to correct projection )?  Do you want to use the new board to center an off-center neck set?   Are there any issues with the neck width which could be corrected in conjunction with fitting the new board?

Is the neck surface perfectly flat?  Then, there are the numerous steps involved with properly shaping the board and fitting it to the neck.

Bottom line is that you could end up causing huge, unnecessary  headaches for the next guy who has to correct your mistakes, and there is the possibility of damaging the neck or the body.  Is there any chance of visiting a luthier who could at least give you some guidance?

At least, read the section on fitting a new fingerboard in Michael Darnton's online book:  http://www.darntonviolins.com/violinmagazine/book/setup.pdf

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Please protect your health, keyboardclass. Breathe as little ebony dust as possible. Read up on the health effects of breathing "exotic" wood dust; this stuff isn't like framing pine or fir. Use cutting tools to remove as much wood as you can, then scrape/sand as necessary at the very end. Even the scraper will keep most of the ebony dust out of the air (a sharp scraper used well mostly cuts; you'll get shavings and just a little dust). But do most of the work with a plane.

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2 hours ago, keyboardclass said:

Thanks Joe.  I appreciate the health warning.  And Brad,  I'll read that first!  Woody, it has some historical interest but as a violin not much.

Hi Keyboardclass - Michael Darnton's article on making and fitting a f/b touches all the bases.

As for removing stock, a plane is much faster than a belt sander and it makes far less mess. Do you have a plane? A simple Stanley 102 will do the job.

I have a friend who, bless his heart, has undertaken to restore a double bass. He elected to remove the black colour from the f/b using an 9" angle-grinder. Now he has to remover the crescent shaped hollows as well. I suppose all practice, even repairing the repairs, serves a purpose.

MD's article would be an easier read if there were some pics. A troll through the I-net found these...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S8lYRDhQP4 - this in 3 parts

They should make it a bit easier to follow his article?

cheers edi




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