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When do you convert 1:20 pegbox taper to 1:30 ?


Woodman
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The few times I've come across the stubbier peg taper, I've dealt with it.  Once by converting. Otherwise, I have worked with the existing peg holes.

This Sebastien Kloz (copy) will want a new E-peg, preferably all four pegs, plus a touch-up to true up the peg holes.  I'm 1:20 reamer-less at the moment.

The pegbox was damaged, cracked and repaired in the 1800s. The neck is reset (my first mortised end block), the top is wonky sizewise, etc. So I'm not looking at a mid-high four digit instrument here.  But it will still be worth something to someone.  She's very light, should sound great, and will have a nice setup.

Is there a financial ramification reaming this pegbox to 1:30?  Ethical consideration?  Is it just "not done" when it can be avoided?

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Sebastien Kloz An 1700 32.jpg

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Bush the peg holes and drill new holes and go on. I do not think that there is any ethical concern with most fiddles. Some violin makers made their own cool pegs, like C. Candi, and I would work hard to retain things like that, but I also wouldn't hesitate to bust the holes and send the old pegs along with the fiddle.

"Converting" the taper is not a term that I have ever used. The pegs need to work, and if you don't have the reamer/shaver to make the existing taper work, then bushings are appropriate. 

On cheaper fiddles, I will fit Witter viola sized pegs instead of bushing them.

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There is plenty of pegbox to ream to the "modern" standard of 1:30 taper, no bushing necessary. I have that reamer. That is what I want to do but I hear some say "preserve the instrument as much as possible". Mostly, the guy selling the "irregular" 1:20 taper peg hole reamer.

The smaller ends of the peg holes will get slightly larger, then the two holes trued up with one another. Modern-standard pegs should grip slightly better, with more surface area.

I've converted the peg hole size of one violin of value which went to a student; it did not make sense to send her daddy a fiddle for which pegs were not readily available from the local catch-all music store (more rural area). The others were old violins, pre-1900, but valued under a few hundred dollars. The players never asked; they want instruments  well set up, easy to tune, without slipping pegs.

The "converting" term?  I'm taking a peg box with holes to fit 1:20 taper pegs and "converting" the box to accept modern pegs of 1:30 taper. I do not know where I picked that term up, but it sounds far less a big deal than I was lead to believe.

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10 hours ago, Woodman said:

The few times I've come across the stubbier peg taper, I've dealt with it.  Once by converting. Otherwise, I have worked with the existing peg holes.

This Sebastien Kloz (copy) will want a new E-peg, preferably all four pegs, plus a touch-up to true up the peg holes.  I'm 1:20 reamer-less at the moment.

The pegbox was damaged, cracked and repaired in the 1800s. The neck is reset (my first mortised end block), the top is wonky sizewise, etc. So I'm not looking at a mid-high four digit instrument here.  But it will still be worth something to someone.  She's very light, should sound great, and will have a nice setup.

Is there a financial ramification reaming this pegbox to 1:30?  Ethical consideration?  Is it just "not done" when it can be avoided?

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Sebastien Kloz An 1700 32.jpg

The rib looks completely separated from the block here. 

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Thanks, all!

 

Brad, there was a previous repair to the button. Back in '86 I surmise someone chewed through the neck heel and button. They made repairs to the button, and it is in fact whole. They tried shimming the button, possibly to change the yaw.

Meyer, look at the E-peg. Looks "stubbby", doesn't it? That one hole is wonked out but the other three are smack on the 1:20 pitch taper.  Several pegs were checked with my calipers as well.  A 1:20 peg increases 1mm in diameter along 20mm of length ...  PLUS I have one precious 1:20 peg left when I made several for a restoration job, to use as a comparison, and it acquitted itself in fine fashion.

Nick, good eye.  It is not only separated, it is not even glued. I had the wrong spruce at first and carved EIGHT blocks, slowly moving further from failure.  Better spruce subsequently arrived, I carved three semi-failures, then the next morning, nailed it on the first try.  The block is sitting there as I decide my glue procedure.

The problem always came back to the neck sitting 'wrong'. I trued the base, glued  a 2.5mm maple sheet to the base, then carved the base to a taper, narrowing towards the button. Lower the scroll and raise the overstand. Glued the new end block to the neck and matched its base to the flatness of the modified neck base.

The ribs were loosened so I could swing the neck left/right, glued the neck/block assembly to the back, careful to align because everything was out of line.  Next day or two, the ribs are reattached to the back and glued to the end block.

I now have 6mm overstand and 24mm off the end of the fingerboard.  If I had done nothing the fingerboard would nearly have been scraping the top of the violin.

Because the neck block base angles inward, part of the button was sacrificed. I held the job up a good week, trying to make a mortised end block which would do everything I wanted, but the extra neck angle needed threw a spanner into my plans every time. Adding the compound  mortise joint to retain 100% button might have worked but would have placed part of the unfinished neck heel outside of the ribs ... As Roseanne Roseannadanna would have said , . . . 

As my first carving experience, I found the new spruce to be soft but not very distinguished. Green?  It lacked a crispness.  Maybe end blocks should be carved from aged spruce blocks?

 

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Reading all of that, it looks like you made things hard for yourself. I think a different approach would have saved a lot of time, and given better control over the end result.

It would have been easier to make the button repairs before attempting anything with a new block. That way you have a flat stable platform to fit the bottom of the block to. I would also have used a piece of maple cut the other way, if it was solely to raise the overstand.
I'm not clear if the piece you have fitted is an attempted button repair, added height for overstand, or both at the same time.

Personally, I would never glue a neck to a new block, and then try to fit that into the body. It will be very easy to slide out of position when gluing, which could result in the neck not being aligned with the body centreline, and also the elevation being wrong. You might also have issues when refitting the belly later, trying to fit the "wonky" top to the ribs could change things.
Hopefully the neck and fingerboard fit together well, since you appear not to have cleaned off the old glue, or planed it flat. If you need to true these up later, you will again lose some of the elevation you are trying to correct.

I am not sure why it took so many block attempts, but 12 is a lot!
If you glued the block into the body first, and remembered to use the grain direction to your advantage (unless it was split wood, which I'm guessing it isn't, due to the way you describe the quality), and carefully aligned the ribs, it is pretty simple to cut a new mortice once the belly is in place. That way everything is fixed, and you can concentrate on getting the neck in straight and to the correct elevation, and the button will line up with the neck root.

The scroll repair looks horrific at the A peg, and seems that the attempted repair was split when drilling the peg hole, and then another piece was needed to fill that split.
Regarding the E peg, you could try swapping it for another 1:20 peg, if the hole is reasonably round, otherwise I'd just buy the correct reamer, which will save a lot of time over bushing all the holes, re-drilling, retouching....

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A dozen attempts seems like a lot?  Au contraire, Butcher. The first was the first one I've ever done in my life and the spruce was as hard as nails with a twisted grain running the wrong way. Not even a proper work bench to brace my efforts.  I'm surprised I did not end up in Emergency with a ¼" chisel through my palm. It got a little easier as I went on, but not much easier.

By the 9th try, with the softer, straight-grain spruce, it was cutting like butter.

Yes, I swapped pegs do see which holes were true and which were out of round. The E is damaged, probably someone using the wrong peg. I "fixed" the peg with scratch cloth, for now.  I see no reason to bush at this time. I'll simply ream the existing holes to 1:30 taper and be done with it. I'm making a player for someone who plays every day. If they want a restoration later, they can still bush, drill, and ream to move the peg holes a tad.

The scroll repair was evidently done in the 1886 restoration. The key piece is mortised to fit into a slot on the scroll like a keystone (I wanted to ask if that was standard). Under the piece of wood was a layer of paper of some sort. Parchment  spacer? I experimented with making a new replacement out of maple but decided there will be sufficient "grab" to that A-peg as-is, so made a small repair to the scroll then re-glued the century-old patch back in place.  It can always be done later but to sacrifice a fine later of dirt just to make the patch prettier?  Non, mon Boucher ...

The button was uneven from a previous repair. Although it looks loose and uneven, it is in fact flat and stable, on the same plane as the block. The shimming was to both increase overstand and to change the neck angle.

Gluing the block to the neck, making it sit exactly as I wanted, and gluing one unified item to the back, seemed the easiest way for me to retain control in placement and alignment. It could have been a millimeter further out but alignment is perfect, pointing right back to the end pin.

I did not glue the block into the ribs and back first in case the violin neck ended up with the wrong alignment, angle, or height. The neck heel had previously been sawn, the tenon cuts suffered over the years and were no longer true, and as a novice, I felt a conventional approach would have yielded an unplayable violin.

Yes, the neck and fingerboard were both scraped clean of old glue. An astringent-smelling glue over a hundred years old ... I glued the fingerboard, removed it an hour later, scraped it clean again, and slept on it. This morning, glued it again, and it is much better. The ribs did take a little attentions here and there to make the top sit without flexing the top unduly. A few high spots, especially at one of the corner blocks, was addressed. I held up gluing the top by three extra days to allow repeated test fits and perimeter examinations.  And even after all that, along with the cumulation of all the mistakes I've made over the past few years gluing tops onto violins, I still decided, upon removing the clamp, that I could not be satisfied with top placement (scooting it forward releases unintended consequences). So three hours into the glue process I reluctantly peeled a perfectly good adhesion joint apart and then spend over an hour removing the old glue residue.

My round-about method addressed each difficulty in a manner to give me time to fully understand the nature of the obstacle. (I also had to trim the top's neck mortise 1.5mm and scoot it forward).  Lots going on.

This job had a number of firsts: Neck reset, mortised end block, address overstand and neck pitch issues.

The fingerboard is gluing, the saddle is carved, the nut will be reused (with luck). Then stand the sound post, tone tap, and string her up with the existing pegs (which are usable).

I try to leave nothing to chance and expect tone to be spectacular. Wish I had better strings - 6-month old D'Addario Kaplan Vivo at the moment.  I'll have the violin reviewed by a teacher - so used to her 17th century $300,000 fiddle - and then played by a woman who runs an orchestral department. The second is quick with valuations as she buys so frequently.

 

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One other question, and I hope someone sees it here ... The strings are on but I had to use the tallest bridge I had.  At the most, it was lowered only a few millimeter.

The new bridge is fully 10mm higher than the old bridge.

Increasing overstand aside, was I supposed to compensate (add) for the height of a French belly?  The belly of the top is 7mm-8mm higher above the ribs than another violin I have handy, an early 1900s German fiddle.

Do French pattern violins typically have a lower fingerboard, not the 27mm edge to top as one tries to achieve on a German violin?

Or do French violins typically have really high strings?

If I had done nothing especial to the neck, straight reassembly, the fingerboard would barely have been 2.5mm above the top.

IMG_1155.jpg

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2 hours ago, Woodman said:

One other question, and I hope someone sees it here ... The strings are on but I had to use the tallest bridge I had.  At the most, it was lowered only a few millimeter.

The new bridge is fully 10mm higher than the old bridge.

Increasing overstand aside, was I supposed to compensate (add) for the height of a French belly?  The belly of the top is 7mm-8mm higher above the ribs than another violin I have handy, an early 1900s German fiddle.

Do French pattern violins typically have a lower fingerboard, not the 27mm edge to top as one tries to achieve on a German violin?

Or do French violins typically have really high strings?

If I had done nothing especial to the neck, straight reassembly, the fingerboard would barely have been 2.5mm above the top.

IMG_1155.jpg

Mirecourt violins typically have a very low overstand, but the projection is normal, creating a very steep angle over the bridge. Setting the neck to a normal projection and overstand was the right thing to do and the violin will probably sound better and certainly play easier than before. I find that a "normal" bridge is around 33.5 mm tall, measured at the center to the top of the violin. If the bridge is much taller than 34 or so mm then you set the neck angle (projection) too high.

So, to answer your questions, in my opinion: 1-No, French violins do not have a higher fingerboard than German violins. 2-No, French violins do not have really high strings. If they do, they need either a lower bridge or a higher neck angle.

Although it is difficult to tell from the angle of your photo, I think that you may have set the neck angle too high.

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2 hours ago, Woodman said:

...was I supposed to compensate (add) for the height of a French belly?...

 

You should have installed the neck so the fingerboard has the correct overstand and the correct height projected to the bridge.  The nationality of the belly has nothing to do with this.

 

2 hours ago, Woodman said:

...Do French pattern violins typically have a lower fingerboard, not the 27mm edge to top as one tries to achieve on a German violin?...

 

A 27 millimeter fingerboard projection sounds about right regardless of the national origin of the violin.

 

2 hours ago, Woodman said:

...do French violins typically have really high strings?...

 

The string heights are determined by the bridge height, the fingerboard height and the fingerboard scoop -- not by where the violin was made.

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11 hours ago, Woodman said:

One other question, and I hope someone sees it here ... The strings are on but I had to use the tallest bridge I had.  At the most, it was lowered only a few millimeter.

The new bridge is fully 10mm higher than the old bridge.

Increasing overstand aside, was I supposed to compensate (add) for the height of a French belly?  The belly of the top is 7mm-8mm higher above the ribs than another violin I have handy, an early 1900s German fiddle.

Do French pattern violins typically have a lower fingerboard, not the 27mm edge to top as one tries to achieve on a German violin?

Or do French violins typically have really high strings?

If I had done nothing especial to the neck, straight reassembly, the fingerboard would barely have been 2.5mm above the top.

 

I think you have now discovered the things I was trying to explain yesterday. There is a reason things are done in a particular order, it helps you to get it right.

It sounds like the elevation is way off, and you will have to reset the neck :(

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Thank you for straightening this out!

The end of the fingerboard to the top is 24mm. But the bridge height is 40mm.

I was using as a guide for the neck angle - don't laugh - an image of the correct angle.

On the plus side, admittedly the worst of the violin players in the world, I find this violin easier to scrape along upon than others. it's a little wider and thicker than I normally see.

As my first neck reset, I'm not going to sweat it. Two more worthy victims are en route from a shop closing in Maine. Both over 100 years old, one may be American.

For now, I'll repeg the violin at 1:30 taper and replace the A-cheek if it slips.

Maybe I'll take it all apart over the winter, maybe not. Because of the way I put the violin back together, it would be easier to remove the neck and block as one, and make a new block. If I do, I may separate the top center seam and redo that as well.

I appreciate all of your observations, notes, and advice.

Here are the Before and After pictures:

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Sebastien Kloz An 1700 1.JPG

Sebastien Kloz An 1700 B.jpeg

Sebastien Kloz An 1700 A.jpeg

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How high the end of the fingerboard is off the top is irrelevant. Place a straightedge on the fingerboard and measure the height of the bottom of the straightedge at the place where the bridge will go. That should be 26-27.5, with exceptions but not ones that matter here.

 

In general, ya done good, but on the finer points you missed the mark. Just make a list of things to not do on the next one, and don't sell this one to anyone until you have corrected things.

I might suggest removing the back to reinforce the button, removing the neck block, fitting a new one, putting the back  back on and re-setting the neck, in that order.

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Thanks, Duane. Indeed, I left one important part of the equation to chance (at least!). Plus my data was learned wrong. I had plenty of time to examine projected height at the bridge but instead was looking at the fingerboard height off the top.

I got some feedback from a guy at a high-end shop as well. I'm going to replace the pegs and let a buddy play it over the weekend - he is interested in what the tone will be with such a high bridge.

Measure-once, cut-twice, it seems to be to far.  A great lesson.

This violin sounds wonderful, is gorgeous and SO light. I'll definitely make the corrections. And possibly keep it.

I'll cipher over the angle I used for another week - I *think* I went with 9˚ - Then I'll take it back apart. I had planned on removing the top to work but I see the benefit of removing the back instead.. Thanks again, everyone, for your feedback and encouragement.

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Don't use the protractor and square, and don't use a picture of another violin. It won't get you where you want to go.

Before you do it, start a thread on resetting a neck, then sort out the good from the bad, but you basically want to use a straight edge on the actual fingerboard and measure the projection where the bridge will sit. Nothing else works. The only straight lines on a violin are the strings!

I have a violin making friend who was famous for the statement: "I've cut it twice and it's still too short!"

It's wood. So long as you used hide glue, you can take it apart and do it again.

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Carving a mortise has always been a mystery to me; probably why I've never done a guitar neck reset. The mental block is gluing in an end block, reassembling the top or back, and then cutting the mortise wrong.

I did run the numbers through an angle program; it looks like I wanted to use two less degrees with my existing overstand. I'm looking forward to making this job right; I'd start right now (probably work until midnight) but a friend wants to play it with the high bridge. I'll start on Sunday night.

Are shims ever used inside of mortise joints to correct chiseling errors?

 

 

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Woodman...I have chosen to use small wedges of replacement wood in a situation where the neck joint had been badly repaired on a long ago previous occasion. They had used a permanent glue similar to epoxy and unfortunately set the neck at a far too low angle and had also left the neck short in the process. The bridge was actually 10 mm shorter than the normal 33-34 mm, on a belly around 16 mm high! There was much damaged and missing wood on the block from the previous attempt, with some of the voids partially filled with this abomidable glue that they had used. The violin was probably a low value (German maybe?) one that can be seen in my post a few days ago asking for help with identity (Neck Soup & Violin ID).

Since I did not wish to go and rip the top off and try to make an entire new block, I chose to replace missing wood bits in several areas on the existing block after I had carefully chiseled out the old glue and cleaned up the surfaces to allow better gluing of the replacement pieces. So far the repair has held up to string tension and playing for the last several months and the violin seems to sound great to the owner/violin player that I know (I do not play the violin). It was actually my first ever violin repair (although I have had plenty of experience with a cabinetmaking chisel, which I am sure helped). Attached are a few pictures of the process...

Kevin

Cleaning old epoxy glue out of gap so new wood can be inserted and correctly glued.JPG

New wood test fit in place in neck socket.JPG

A thin layer of hard maple epoxied to the base of the neck to bring it back to correct length.JPG

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The peg holes I reamed to 1:30 taper. Sorry for the inaccurate topic line, but I guess you figured out what I was saying. The new pegs grip wonderfully. I'll let them seat for another month before trimming the ends further. A little more touchup to do as well.

Thanks again for your guidance. I did not exactly follow directions (next time I will), but ended up the same place. My mortised end block, I had cut the slot wider as it got deeper to match the neck heel;  the neck heel locks in like a keystone. And I did not want to undo this joint. 

But I reinforced the button, did this and that, and used the original bridge with a little modification. Ended up 11mm lower, at 29mm. Sunday a retired music teacher played this violin at a 4 hour gig and was thrilled as it opened up. He said it was a perfect setup, as good as his Sderci (I got lucky). Aside from 6-month old -discarded- Kaplan Vivo strings.

The top seam is not perfect but I'm getting better. And mixing old old pigments and tints is getting easier, less guessing on the color (I've a big box of the old stuff from chemists shops). The quick wipe of varnish is becoming more practiced.

Another violin just arrived (not pictured) with the neck loose. The edges of the mortise are cut at 90˚ angles and fit the neck's 90˚ heel. Are necks set horizontally into a mortise slot, like Ken posted? Or are some mortise joints cut so that the neck has to slide in from above? The way the Kloz neck was set, it will not pull out unless it rips the endblock off the back or shatters the endblock. I included images of the old endblock perched on the fiddle before I took the violin back apart to reset the neck angle 2˚ less. Hard to understand how the old build worked with such a shallow mortise. Are the ribs considered a substantial part of a mortise joint? Of course, everything may have fallen apart shortly after the repairs of 1886.

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On 9/18/2018 at 9:16 AM, Wood Butcher said:

It would have been easier to make the button repairs before attempting anything with a new block. That way you have a flat stable platform to fit the bottom of the block to. I would also have used a piece of maple cut the other way, if it was solely to raise the overstand.
I'm not clear if the piece you have fitted is an attempted button repair, added height for overstand, or both at the same time.

Yes, better late than never! I get it now, but did not want a major switch of direction mid-river on this past project. I did reinforce the button though, after getting the angle wrong, extending a 1mm thick piece of maple into a flat depression sawn/chiseled into the back then sanded flush.

Originally I changed the angle of the neck and had to add to its heel. While I considered adding maple - or spruce - under the block, one builder told me of changing the tone of a top by gluing a sound post crack patch directly to the top. I wondered if adding mass to the bottom, under the block, would be detrimental.

Does an end block work as a big sound post, in its own way?

I'm still trying to figure out the mortise design. If I had been cutting a slot with 90˚ walls, I could have used the old spruce. But I thought the neck was supposed to lock in on its own. The new spruce is not nice old, brown, aged, fine-grained as I would have liked. But the joint would have held tight as can be without glue.

 

NOTE: I finally found a sketch ... my neck joint is a "dovetail" joint, which you'all knew, I'm sure. :-) But now I know what to call it.

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22 hours ago, Woodman said:

...Are necks set horizontally into a mortise slot, like Ken posted? Or are some mortise joints cut so that the neck has to slide in from above?...

The normal way a neck is inserted into its mortise for gluing is so that it slides toward the back button.  Whether this is "horizontal" or "from above" depends on the orientation of the instrument.  During the neck fitting process, which is done before gluing, wood is cut out of the mortise to allow the neck to move in whatever direction is needed to achieve the proper measurements and orientations.

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17 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

 During the neck fitting process, which is done before gluing, wood is cut out of the mortise to allow the neck to move in whatever direction is needed to achieve the proper measurements and orientations.

Thanks, Brad. Thanks, BaroquecelloI cut the end block with a dovetail joint. I can see how a straight mortise joint would have been far easier for fitting and adjustment. I was even trying to change the direction of the neck at one point with a compound angle in the dovetail but gave up on that, choosing another method.

Are some violin necks joined with dovetail joints  or are most/ all mortise/tenon joints?

So now I know why it was so difficult. My first neck reset, and I used a dovetail joint instead of a straight mortise/tenon.

Endblock note: So reinforcing a button with a T-shaped piece of maple (reaching into the back) does not necessarily diminish the tone of the instrument ...?

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