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woodbldr

My first two violins

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I admire those of you that post beautifully constructed and finished instruments.  I hope to get there one day, but I guess you got to start somewhere, so here are the first two violins I have made.  I call them 10 foot violins; they look good from at least 10 feet away.  There are a lot of problems with both of them, but I have learned a lot. For example, quilted hard maple is also not the best wood to learn carving.  Apologies for the poor photo quality.  Another thing I need to learn. 

This is my first.  The top is European spruce and the back and sides are from a quilted maple board I have had for about 20 years. I was saving this for violin making.  Unfortunately, I had a problem with the back arching so it is only 13 mm.  I decided to make the top arching similar.

1057854049_Violin1frontresized.thumb.jpg.cac135759efacc1ea6041bed7bc7e849.jpg

46683364_Violin1backresized.thumb.jpg.ba6407eaa71bee1cdf5bcc15f28fda24.jpg

 

This is my second using sitka spruce and the same quilted maple.  Again, a lot of things wrong but it is a better attempt than my first.  The arch height is abut 15 mm for both the top and back.

Violin_2_front_resized.jpg.1f5196f6b42498b8360a9216ce2e8659.jpg

882928527_Violin2back_resized.thumb.jpg.f1eb5df188d8cb2df2a9d1742cdf2b3b.jpg

As for tone, I play fiddle tunes and like the warmer deeper sound most fiddle players prefer. I had a more modest goal for these, though.  My goal was to make these sound better than my first student instrument. Number sounded similar, but number 2 exceeded my expectations. I have played with tap-tones and have decided to leave that alone, I need to worry more about improving my construction/finishing techniques and worry about sound improvements later.

I was hesitant to show these since they don't look very good, but as I said above you have to start somewhere. I plan on building more, keeping the best construction/finishing notes I can and hopefully making improvements as I go along.

Regards,

Danny

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Your first fiddle looks good. The f hole especially. The two suggest things that I can see would be the corner shapes. Too long and chunky. You can make a cutout template of some corners that appeal to you or work off of a nice set of photographs to dial them in. 

Second is the neck button. It's far too wide. It should take on more of a circular shape, almost undercutting near the edge.  

Your varnish looks nice. What kind is it, and how did you go about getting a nice even color?

Good work, and keep it up!

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Are there any tonal differences in a slab cut back like that compared to the more common quarter sawn? The backs on those two are beautiful!

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That looks good for number 1 and 2,  a lot better than mine.    I'm envious of your tool cabinet.  Did you make it yourself?   What keeps the hand planes vertical like that?  Do they not fall out when you open the door? 

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3 hours ago, MikeC said:

 What keeps the hand planes vertical like that?  Do they not fall out when you open the door? 

You can see that it tilts back slightly

both of those are better than my first two. Aside from what’s already been said, I will add that I find the shoulders on the second one look very flat. 

Do You have any closer photos of things like the scroll?

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Thank for the comments.  The finish is from International violin. The first one is red brown and the second is brown.  However, you can"t tell that due to the poor lighting.

In terms of tonal differences, I honestly do not know the answer. The main disadvantage is dimensional stability of plain sawn versus quarter sawn.

Anthony is correct in that the back tilts back in each cabinet.  I have attached pictures that show that in each section.  

Left side

 1559791363_Leftsectionresized.thumb.jpg.b7948514d690225943a43228cc4d7802.jpg

Center

729271004_Centersectionresized.thumb.jpg.97d0c62351d6a6fcc72c9b296251ed32.jpg

Right side

151776974_Rightsectionresized.thumb.jpg.05a7a486e162e0d14eecfe0f6cd0ed5e.jpg

 

The scrolls do not look very good, so I hadn't though of taking pictures of those.  I will take some and will post those later.

Danny

Edited by woodbldr
Correct spelling

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For first 1or 2 tries, this is good work. The setup (top nut, pegs here) looks especially good. 

What model/template did you use for the scroll ?

now for the criticism, (all with the understanding that this is good work): 

firstly, the chamfer can be a bit broader to accentuate the outline

secondly, the eyes can be smaller (more elegant)

thirdly, though quite symmetrical, the turns of the scroll tend to look nicer a bit scooped. This is when looking down the centre line, that the turns shouldn’t bulge as much.

i like the depth of the fluting and the roundness of the volute, it flows quite well.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Anthony Panke said:

For first 1or 2 tries, this is good work. The setup (top nut, pegs here) looks especially good. 

What model/template did you use for the scroll ?

now for the criticism, (all with the understanding that this is good work): 

firstly, the chamfer can be a bit broader to accentuate the outline

secondly, the eyes can be smaller (more elegant)

thirdly, though quite symmetrical, the turns of the scroll tend to look nicer a bit scooped. This is when looking down the centre line, that the turns shouldn’t bulge as much.

i like the depth of the fluting and the roundness of the volute, it flows quite well.

 

 

The template was from the International Violin mold set for the 1715 Strad Cremonese model.  The odd thing to me is the scrolls for the two violins I made look "chunky" compared to some of the other violins I have.  I am not sure if that is due to the model itself or how I made it.

I initially tried making the chamfers broader but they didn't look right to me.  I'll try a little broader chamfers for the next one. Your other comments are quite helpful, I have a hard time seeing these issues so a second set of eyes is best.  Similarly, seeing and removing the gouge marks from the scroll. You can see those when enlarging the pictures.  Hopefully the next ones will be an improvement. I am ready to try a different model, such as a Guarneri Kreisler or Cannone but may build more with the the Strad mold.  I'll eventually need to decide what to do with all of the violins I have made, I won't have room for them all.

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