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Jacob

Conte Vitali measurements

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I have the Strad poster of the Conter Vitale viola. The LOB is given as 419mm. However, the body outline provided as well as the photos is more like 414mm. So, which is it?

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Hi Jacob, the given numbers are probably correct. If you measure the lob on side view photograph, the lenght is around 418-420. Given number - 419mm should be also the measurement taken from an actual viola (hopefully). Photos of the top and back may be "deformed" to some degree I guess, although I can not understand, whay would thay draw an outline 5mm shorter than original one. Scaling issue in print prep.? 

I made my template from the drawn outline though, so I ended with viola with 415 lob (406mm lenght on the template). After discovering my "mistake" I decided to leave it as it is. 

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I think that most people who make this model will have used the drawing (or a symmetrized interpretation)on the poster as the basis for the outline. The "2D" back length is about 415mm giving ~417mm over the arch. The 420mm quoted on the poster as the over the arch length for the front is consistent with the plaster cast, so the 419 mm OTA for the back will be right.

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I don't know about their newer posters, but some of older ones are terrible. I understand it is nothing to do with contributors who provided photos, plans and measurements, though. The one I remember particularly is the G.B.Rogeri violin poster, which the back outline was scaled to match the measurements taken over the arch, so it's actually way too big. 

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This highlights the problems of using any info or measurements which you didn't take yourself. In addition to outlines being incorrect dimensions, many strad posters also have mistakes in the written measurements.

I think as technology has improved, the newer posters may be better, but I haven't checked this. I think the worst in terms of accuracy are the Pringle drawings from the Ashmolean.

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Errors on the Strad posters continue to occur unfortunately. The recent poster of the ‘Armingaud, Fernández Blanco’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ had the completely wrong outline. It’s since been reprinted with the correct outline.

Regarding this particular poster I had an email from one of the contributors of The Strad magazine:

“I could not imagine how such an error could have occurred, and made a cursory check of the measurements basically to reassure myself. I have now gone back and looked more carefully and find as you have, that something has clearly gone wrong”

So it always pays to check things carefully or measure instruments yourself.

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I'm so envious of makers who have the access to great instruments to measure. 

For many amateurs like myself (who don't have access to old masters) the strad posters are a very valuable resource. Like Guy, Tests and others, I've also found printing errors in some of the posters that make them unusable without correction. 

But CAD apps can be a valuable resource. What  I typically do now is scan the Strad poster, bring it into a CAD app, scale the outline to verify it against the printed dimensions. IF things line up, it is easy to trace the outline using 3-point curves. Symmetry can be verified and even bits from either side can be use to compensate for distortion or wear to better estimate the original outline. If there isn't a ct scan of the ribs, it is a snap to create the mould structure by using the offset function from the outline.

Typically I use Autodesk Fusion for this. It is free and the drawing tools are easy to use. Moulds, outlines, and templates can be easily sent off for laser cutting or cnc.

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