Thomas Coleman

Thomas Coleman's bench

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Although I can't remember the exact context, I had mentioned to longtime Mnet member @lpr5184 that when I started this project I would start a bench thread about it.  I've been wanting to make a viola d'amore for several years but info on them is very scant.  I've only had the opportunity to hold and inspect one turn of the century German model.  After looking at every photo on the internet and emailing a few people some questions (if you're one of those people and are reading this...THANK YOU!!!) I've begun in earnest.  If you follow my Instagram page you'll know that over the last 20 years I have 3 failed starts on instruments due to some mistake or another.  After about 19 instruments under me, I'm hoping that this won't be my fourth false start!  The model is my own.  I've decided on a "modern" violin style neck joint.  The corpus will be 390mm.  150mm neck length.  Fully arched top and back, as opposed to a flat, canted back.  Wish me luck!

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Very happy to see this thread Tommy. Your model looks great and I especially like the top block!  There is someone here who makes VdA's and who does a fantastic job. I'm sure they will chime in.

Looking forward to lots of photos...

 

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Happy New Year!  I truly hope that all who read this have a happy, fun filled and productive year.  Here is a wee-bit-o-progress.  After rough arching I temp glued the plates to the rib garland to finalize the edge margin.  Popped the plates off and cut the purfling channel.  I've always finished the edge margin with the plates temp glued to the ribs but I'm debating not doing that anymore.  It seems unnecessary but it's the way I learned so....anyway.  The arching is still full at this stage.

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11 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

Is the lower bout basically just a circle drawn from a compass?

Honestly?  I don't know!  The outline is blown up from a drawing I have.  Unfortunately, that's basically the only thing said drawing was good for.  Here is a link to a discussion about geometry awhile back where Ben Hebbert, Francois Denis, and Kevin Kelly give some great info about viols that you might find interesting.  Not sure if the link will take you to the relevant page but it starts at page 9

 

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What is the width and curve # of your roughing gouge? To what angle do you grind the edge?

Thanks for sharing! Work-in-progress along with the tools and bench layout are so helpful.

 

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2 hours ago, ctanzio said:

What is the width and curve # of your roughing gouge? To what angle do you grind the edge?

Thanks for sharing! Work-in-progress along with the tools and bench layout are so helpful.

 

The roughing gouge is a japanese gouge sold by Japan Woodworker and marketed specifically as a violin roughing gouge.  I love it.  It holds an edge like you can't believe.  It is 30mm wide and I think about a 5 sweep.  The cutting radius is around 50mm.  The grind angle is about 29º but to be honest I didn't know that until I just measured it.  I try for a bevel length of about 2 (up to 2 1/2) times the thickness.  In this case the thickness of the blade is about 4mm and the bevel length is 9mm.  The steel on the gouge is very hard and therefore brittle and it took me a go or two to hone in on the right angle (pun intended).

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7 hours ago, Thomas Coleman said:

The roughing gouge is a japanese gouge sold by Japan Woodworker and marketed specifically as a violin roughing gouge.  I love it.  It holds an edge like you can't believe.  It is 30mm wide and I think about a 5 sweep.  The cutting radius is around 50mm.  The grind angle is about 29º but to be honest I didn't know that until I just measured it.  I try for a bevel length of about 2 (up to 2 1/2) times the thickness.  In this case the thickness of the blade is about 4mm and the bevel length is 9mm.  The steel on the gouge is very hard and therefore brittle and it took me a go or two to hone in on the right angle (pun intended).

I looked on the website and Googled with no success. Do you have a link by chance? Thanks

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50 minutes ago, scordatura said:

I looked on the website and Googled with no success. Do you have a link by chance? Thanks

I'm sad to say that they don't look available anymore. And that doesn't surprise me.  Since the purchase of Japan woodworker by Woodcraft i've noticed that they've been downsizing.  I did find two for sale on ebay that were a decent price. 

21 minutes ago, Evan Smith said:

This is looking real nice.

Like to watch it coming together.:)

Evan on the edge of his seat.

Thanks!  Tommy on the edge of his seat too!  haha

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8 hours ago, lpr5184 said:

What are the arching heights of front and back?

Thanks E.  The arch on both maple and spruce is 18mm

Here are a few more photos.  Although I like doing the channel I find it to be painstaking and slow. Second photo is a pencil line on the joint, not a huge canyon! haha

 

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So, both the arches are done.  I meant to take pictures of my graduation drilling method with the v'da but I forgot!  I'll use ones from a violin.  Same process.  I hope to build a Strad punch someday but until then...

The idea for using the clamp pad as the anvil was stolen from my good friend and mentor Will Whedbee after lamenting to him that my graduation markings were occasionally too deep.  He also suggested that I use a smaller bit than I was using as that would tend to pull the work up into the bit less.  I like to do a preliminary gouging before I drill for graduations.  The top is graduated to a uniform 4mm and the back to about 1mm over "final".  Anyway, progress is being made.

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On 1/10/2019 at 6:27 AM, Urban Luthier said:

Nice work! Looking forward to seeing your progress...

 

On 1/10/2019 at 9:41 AM, Edward Byler said:

Beautiful stuff Thomas ! You’re giving me the itch to build one 

Thanks!  I appreciate the kind words.  Both plates are graduated and the soundholes are cut.  Now on to bassbar.

 

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Thanks E.  It is not my design.  I like it as well.  It's not seen near as often as some of the others.  The most prominent example is on the Henry Casadesus viola d'amore.  There are also a few exmples of it in literature.  The one in Kevin Coates' book is a slight variation. 

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