wooden

Neck block grain orientation

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Hello. I have this violin for complete repair and I have been surprised by the grain orientation of the top and bottom blocks. It is not the usual (at least for me) one as it runs horizontaly. (The front part of the top block seems to be a later addition) The bottom one has the linings morticed in it. Has someone seen these features before? Do they belong to any school or are they more common than I thought? Thank you very much in advance.

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The grain on that block -- independent of its orientation -- looks funky to me.  The grain should be straight, not wavy.  As taught in Mittenwald, the grain should run out from the ribs at an angle, not parallel or perpendicular to the rib structure, for maximum strength.  This is also the case for the corner blocks.  Whether The Ancients did this I can't remember at the moment, but others will.

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On antique instruments especially Del Gesu you find all sorts of grain directions.

we should be reminded that the top block had  before 1800 a slightly different mechanical function: it was meant to hold the nails. Today the top block is weakened by the neck mortise. 

The old makers were rather concerned about how easy the material could be cut and at the same time chose light wood. 

 

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