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JacksonMaberry

Locating pins - how to go without?

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Hey folks,

It occurred to me that I have no idea how to make a violin without locating pins. It's how I was taught, and it works wonderfully as far as I'm concerned. 

That said, some historical makers associated with the Amati tradition I really admire didn't use them, like Francesco Rugeri and Jakob Stainer.

I have a hard time imagining how to make a baroque violin, where the neck is affixed before the plates, without pins. 

Any of you makers/restorers/historians have some insight into how Rugeri and Stainer may have gone about it?

Thank you

J

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I make violins without pins myself, but I set the neck in a modern manner obviously. I can't think of a viable way of going without if doing a Baroque violin , which I intend to make very soon. 

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to (very much) generalise, fiddles made using an inside mould have locating Pins, 'cos they are usefull, and those built on the back don't, since they would be redundant (on the back, not the belly)

If you want to make a fiddle without Pins, you should chuck your mould away:)

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23 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

to (very much) generalise, fiddles made using an inside mould have locating Pins, 'cos they are usefull, and those built on the back don't, since they would be redundant (on the back, not the belly)

If you want to make a fiddle without Pins, you should chuck your mould away:)

Jacob, thanks for this. I was hoping you'd post. That line of though hat occurred to me, I just hadn't thought of Stainer as anything other than an inside mold user. I think I recall Hargrave saying he was, at any rate. 

I had though it shouldn't be too hard to use "blind" pins, wherein the hole for the pins is bored only a couple mm into the plate board. It wouldn't be visible on the outside of the finished fiddle, but would serve the intended purpose. I have no idea however if this would be in any way historically informed.

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Hi Jackson.                                                                                                                          If I read you correctly, you mean the pin is inserted on the underside (glueing surface) of the plate into the block.  Would this not be an invisible hazard to future repair people?

Excuse me if I missed your point,

Pete

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Pete Moss said:

Hi Jackson.                                                                                                                          If I read you correctly, you mean the pin is inserted on the underside (glueing surface) of the plate into the block.  Would this not be an invisible hazard to future repair people?

Excuse me if I missed your point,

Pete

 

 

 

Hi Pete, 

I think you understood me right. It would indeed be an invisible nuisance to a repairer, rather than a visible one. If I were to make in this way, I'd include a warning in the cert. 

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4 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Hi Pete, 

I think you understood me right. It would indeed be an invisible nuisance to a repairer, rather than a visible one. If I were to make in this way, I'd include a warning in the cert. 

I dont think it should be such a big deal for an experienced luthier. 

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I use an inside mold and no pins. I mark the corners and the upper and lower center line on the top/back. Then I lightly score the mold outline, then mark the plate outline. The ribs don't have to go back on the plates again until final assembly, and there are more than enough marks to show where they are intended to line up.

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Of course you do not have to use positioning pins when you make ribs around a mould on your new violins, although I certainly would. That is why I said “to (very much) generalise” in my post above. From a forensic antique violin attribution point of view, it is though a general rule. Heaven help a 23rd C. violin connoisseur trying to pin down a 21st. C American violin-making “school of making” though!

 

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I was surprised to not see any locating pins on the back of the Strad 1690 'Tuscan' violin.  I'll have to look at the CT scans and see if the pins are under the purfling.

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Thanks for your input, all. I apologise that I have been unclear. Evan and Mike, I value your "get up and go" approach. But I want to assure you that I'm not daft - I'm genuinely interested in knowing how two makers in particular - F Rugeri and J Stainer, who have ties to the Amati tradition (a tradition that uses locating pins) made their fiddles without. 

Making baroque violins using locating pins as described by Roger Hargrave in his Methods of Guarneri del Gesu - where the pins (as pivots) are critical in aligning the neck with the c-bouts - is the way that I know how to work. Those of you, such as Mike, who don't make baroque violins and mortise your necks have the opportunity to align the neck properly during the mortising process. That's a luxury I don't have in making Baroque fiddles. 

For what it's worth, when I make modern fiddles I do pretty much exactly what arglebargle describes, though I still use locating pins as well, only to have a quick and reliable method to get the plates on and off in the same spot as needed.

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Not an expert but I can tell you what I do.  Use positioning marks as noted above, leave garland in the mould until the very end so I am sure of shape, and use tack gluing to hold plates in place when needed.  Not elegant but it works. 

I am just now working on my first violin using pins.  Certainly is easier.

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With respect to Bill and others that seem flummoxed by my question, I think many of you are missing my point. I understand very well how to locate the plates with or without pins. 

What is at issue is how to make a baroque violin, where in the Amati tradition the "locating" pins actually are critical to fine tuning the  alignment of the neck with the c-bouts, without the pins. This is, in fact the most critical role of the pins in the classical Cremonese technique, rather than the rather simple matter of getting the plates onto the garland easily. 

In a sense, maybe it would be better to think of them, at least for the sake of this discussion, as "neck alignment pins". 

Again, thanks to all who are participating. I know it would be a lot easier to talk this over over drinks, but this will have to do.

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6 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

I was surprised to not see any locating pins on the back of the Strad 1690 'Tuscan' violin.  I'll have to look at the CT scans and see if the pins are under the purfling.

Look at pages 55 ant 70 of Scrollavezza & Zanrè book and you will find evidence of their presence.

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7 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

With respect to Bill and others that seem flummoxed by my question, I think many of you are missing my point. I understand very well how to locate the plates with or without pins. 

What is at issue is how to make a baroque violin, where in the Amati tradition the "locating" pins actually are critical to fine tuning the  alignment of the neck with the c-bouts, without the pins. This is, in fact the most critical role of the pins in the classical Cremonese technique, rather than the rather simple matter of getting the plates onto the garland easily. 

In a sense, maybe it would be better to think of them, at least for the sake of this discussion, as "neck alignment pins". 

Again, thanks to all who are participating. I know it would be a lot easier to talk this over over drinks, but this will have to do.

If I were trying to , in respect to neck alignment thru center , I,d take my rib ,neck assembly nailed up, with glue and with a center line scribed to the neck,  lay the assembly on the back plate and utilize a taught fine  thread affixed on the center line of the neck in the the nut fingerboard joint area with a small nail, run the other end down to the tail block, and with a bit of judgement a few clamps to swing, could be done well fast..

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5 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Look at pages 55 ant 70 of Scrollavezza & Zanrè book and you will find evidence of their presence.

Yes, very subtle work!  I can see the back’s lower pin as well now that I know what I’m looking for. 

Thanks,

Jim

 

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6 minutes ago, James M. Jones said:

If I were trying to , in respect to neck alignment thru center , I,d take my rib ,neck assembly nailed up, with glue and with a center line scribed to the neck,  lay the assembly on the back plate and utilize a taught fine  thread affixed on the center line of the neck in the the nut fingerboard joint area with a small nail, run the other end down to the tail block, and with a bit of judgement a few clamps to swing, could be done well fast..

That's a compelling idea! Nice thinking, JMJ!

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5 minutes ago, Jim Bress said:

Yes, very subtle work!  I can see the back’s lower pin as well now that I know what I’m looking for. 

Thanks,

Jim

 

I see the common Strad deal on the bottom pin -golden section showing, remainder under the purfling. I don't see the upper pin, but I do see what looks like a button graft, which could account for it if I am feeling right. Looking at the image available on Tarisio.

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30 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I see the common Strad deal on the bottom pin -golden section showing, remainder under the purfling. I don't see the upper pin, but I do see what looks like a button graft, which could account for it if I am feeling right. Looking at the image available on Tarisio.

Have to look close. Makes me want to make almost invisible pins. 

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There's highly regarded speculation that the asymmetry seen in the outlines in those violins is due to contorting the ribs to give a center line that includes the neck.  That always implied to me that the plate outlines had to come after that fact by whatever method.

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