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PhilipKT

“You can build a Stradivarius violin”

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Morning folks! I have just purchased a copy of this book as a gift for a brilliant woodworker I know. The man is a master craftsman and artist. His furniture is incredibly beautiful. His two children play cello and bass,  And I bought him the book to stimulate his interest in violin making. It means the Corvette will remain unrestored, but art requires sacrifices… My question for the crowd is whether there are any other books specific to the details of violin making that would be of benefit to my friend?

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"The Art of Violin Making"

By Johnson and Courtnall. 

Pretty straightforward and practical. 

Useful measurements for violin maker's by Henry Strobel for reference as well. 

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I always looked at the "You can build a strad" book as a vehicle for the sale of the parts and tools that are listed in the back of the book. Sorta like Stew-Mac does today.

 

The Courtnall and Johnson is perhaps the best and most useful.

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I'll be starting my first build in the next month or so; the two books I have are Juliet Barker "A Practical Guide" and Henry Strobel "Step by Step". Wish I had Brian Derber's book but it is out of my price range.

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2 minutes ago, fiddlerjer said:

I'll be starting my first build in the next month or so; the two books I have are Juliet Barker "A Practical Guide" and Henry Strobel "Step by Step". Wish I had Brian Derber's book but it is out of my price range.

It all depends on how many violins you intend to make.

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You can amortize the cost of all your books, tools, machines and wood by the number you make.  Obviously the first one will cost the most to make but the next will be half the cost ... etc

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Ah of course. However that's not going to fly in my household for a $400 book, not right now, specially since I'm going to be buying a couple hundred $ worth of tools in the near future.

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53 minutes ago, catnip said:

You can amortize the cost of all your books, tools, machines and wood by the number you make.  Obviously the first one will cost the most to make but the next will be half the cost ... etc

My first violin cost me over five figures to make... I could have done it cheaper lol. 

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39 minutes ago, fiddlerjer said:

Ah of course. However that's not going to fly in my household for a $400 book, not right now, specially since I'm going to be buying a couple hundred $ worth of tools in the near future.

one of the best things you can do is buy a decent cheap chinese copy for 100 bucks, as long as the copy is good, which there are many where all the proportions are basically correct enough, then you can use it as a real world reference guide for lots of the information you will need.

Some examples, 

the over all dimensions of the plates

the rib heights

the neck overstand

the fingerboard, shape, length and projection

the spacing of the pegholes

a visual reference for carving the scroll

the location of the ff's

the dimensions or the nut/saddle

the location of the bridge

really one could go on, there is lots to be had with just a simple decent copy, a measuring stick and a caliper.

I constantly refer to some of my previous work to get measurements for things I'm working on now.

 

 

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4 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

“You can build a Stradivarius violin”

Of course you can.  I figure that all the violin mills in China, working collectively (of course.... :ph34r:), manage to excrete at least one, purely by accident, at least once a day.  So, if you make say, 5000 violins, I figure there's a Strad equivalent in there somewhere:lol:

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49 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Of course you can.  I figure that all the violin mills in China, working collectively (of course.... :ph34r:), manage to excrete at least one, purely by accident, at least once a day.  So, if you make say, 5000 violins, I figure there's a Strad equivalent in there somewhere:lol:

Well, of course it was the title of the book, but your comment makes me think of the infinite monkies on infinite typewriters eventually writing the works of Shakespeare.

I actually think the book itself is kind of funny, but if the plans are included, as they are in the copy that I purchased, it’s a good starting point. And you haven’t lived until you’ve seen this guy’s furniture. It’s just beautiful. Very shaker style, very clean and crisp, with beautifully chosen wood And artistry obvious in every angle.

And remember William Conant got his start as a furniture maker

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4 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

"The Art of Violin Making"

By Johnson and Courtnall. 

Pretty straightforward and practical. 

Useful measurements for violin maker's by Henry Strobel for reference as well. 

I'll second this.  I still refer to the Johnson/Courtnall book often, when I forget things.  Which is often.

When I was librarian for SCAVM, I looked through lots of other books on violinmaking, and didn't find anything very good.  Unfortunately, the J/C book doesn't have anything detailed on an actual body (form, arching, graduations), so you need something else too... like a good Strad poster.

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Johnson & Courtnall is certainly a good book, but for the actual construction, the secrets of Stradivari has better measurements. I find secrets of Stradivari, coupled with a good poster will go a long way.  

I can’t say which is the better, as johnson and courtnall is more comprehensive. 

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Some of these books have very different aims.    

The J and C book gives a good account of more or less standard modern building, ala Newark School.  The omitted details are what you're expected to get from the particular model you're copying.

Something like the You Can Build book tries to answer all of a novice's questions so they can just follow instructions and end up with something that looks violinish, at least to a novice.

Sacconi's Secrets book in contrast takes a few steps toward trying to understand Old Cremona work and methods.

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The J&C is a useful book, but in my estimation it is absolutely dwarved in importance and utilitiy by the Derber manual. If your only option is to learn from a book, you can't afford not to buy Derbers book. It will save you money that you would otherwise waste buying unnecessary tools and damaging wood through ignorance. 

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May I ask who wrote the book "You can make a Stradivarius violin" ?

I do have J and C's book, Sacconi's book and most of Strobel's work,  Herron Allen etc.

I would agree that J and C's and Sacconi's are very useful. Darnton is also very helpful. thanks

Thanks,

Pete

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26 minutes ago, Pete Moss said:

May I ask who wrote the book "You can make a Stradivarius violin" ?

I do have J and C's book, Sacconi's book and most of Strobel's work,  Herron Allen etc.

I would agree that J and C's and Sacconi's are very useful. Darnton is also very helpful. thanks

Thanks,

Pete

No idea who Joseph Reid is

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

The J&C is a useful book, but in my estimation it is absolutely dwarved in importance and utilitiy by the Derber manual. If your only option is to learn from a book, you can't afford not to buy Derbers book. It will save you money that you would otherwise waste buying unnecessary tools and damaging wood through ignorance. 

Hi Jackson.

Could you tell us a little bit about Brian Derber's book?

Thanks

James

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