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A few questions from a novice ...


Woodman
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Over the past few years I've been acquiring and rebuilding older violins for hobby and request. 1880 - 1930 is the general age of my subjects.  Here I present three topics with six questions rattling still around .... and greatly appreciate your insight.

Some of my ancient pigment is not dissolving in my varnish. It presents granular upon the varnished surface. Today I made a fresh batch and first tried to dissolve pigment in Bektol, which was then added to varnish. The new batch worked better and the color is getting where I want it but some of my pigments may be of issue.  1] Are pigments dissolved or suspended? 2] Was the issue likely my pigment or my procedure?

Sometimes string holes I drill in pegs end up in the wrong place after the peg seats itself. A  peg in a newly-dressed hole can seem plenty tight.  I'll work it around, chalked, for a few days / weeks before drilling the holes, but within a couple of months the string is not where I want it. Any idea, besides experience, what I am missing?   Maybe use one set of pegs to condition newly-dressed peg holes, and then fit new pegs?

Do you ever have to compress the ribs on the violin before gluing the top down. Recently a corkscrewed body wanted creative application from the sides. And last week I pushed in a lower bout as I was setting a spool clamp. Is this common?  Does one sometimes remove the ribs to a form, and glue the top afresh, then reset the back?

 

 

 

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Can't help with the pigments. Don't know what they are, your varnish, or your methods.

Peg holes get bigger. It may take a month or a lifetime, but the pressure of the peg combined with seasonal changes will change the peg hole. When reaming the hole I leave room for a few hard turns in the opposite direction (not the cutting direction) to compress the peg holes, then fit the peg. If the pegs move, just drill a new string hole and trim it.

You often have to finesse the ribs of older violins to get them where you want them. Removing them completely will only make it worse. I've had to glue tops back on one clamp at a time to get the ribs where I wanted them.

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Last question first:

"Do you ever have to compress the ribs on the violin before gluing the top down. Recently a corkscrewed body wanted creative application from the sides. And last week I pushed in a lower bout as I was setting a spool clamp. Is this common?  Does one sometimes remove the ribs to a form, and glue the top afresh, then reset the back? "

Ribs often need to be coaxed back into position. The tops often shrink some, and in some of those cases it may be necessary to shorten the ribs by removing the ribs from the lower block (not removed from the violin!) and trimming the ends. I cant imagine, and have never heard of anyone removing the ribs to a form. Removing the back is pretty much a very last resort! Getting the back/button to line up correctly with the neck could be a real problem.

As for pegs, the holes in the pegbox do open up, but a more likely cause is poorly seasoned pegs, that shrink in diameter. Buying good quality, seasoned pegs will help minimize this.

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6 hours ago, Woodman said:

- snip -

Sometimes string holes I drill in pegs end up in the wrong place after the peg seats itself. A  peg in a newly-dressed hole can seem plenty tight.  I'll work it around, chalked, for a few days / weeks before drilling the holes, but within a couple of months the string is not where I want it. Any idea, besides experience, what I am missing?   Maybe use one set of pegs to condition newly-dressed peg holes, and then fit new pegs?

- snip -

Hi Woodman - for drilling the holes I made a jig from a piece of 20mmx20mm maple....

 1980900339_Vtools-pegholedrillingjig-2012sep28.jpg.d22fe13c3dbcde86d414a51e609f782b.jpg

- ream a peg-hole from one side so that the collar of the peg just fails to touch the jig.

- drill a guide hole for the string hole

- insert shaved peg

- drill the hole.

952157667_Vtools-pegholefilingholder-2012sep28.jpg.1e38e0e73eb568eb634f489406b078e8.jpg

 - ream from the other side of the jig so that the string-hole in the peg is exposed

- cross- file a "hollow" across the string-hole to "de-burr" the hole and make the life of the string a little easier.

This way all your pegs are identical and you only have to worry about how deep to ream the pegholes. (I aim for 12mm from the peg-box cheek to peg- collar.)

Cheers edi

 

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9 hours ago, arglebargle said:

When reaming the hole I leave room for a few hard turns in the opposite direction (not the cutting direction) to compress the peg holes, then fit the peg. 

I usually leave ~2 mm or so in peg length for the backward reaming and one more thing:  I use a scrap ebony peg (with a good taper), apply a bit of lube, and turn it with a power screwdriver for the final peghole compression. 

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So conceivably my 95¢ pegs began shrinking as soon as the lacquer was shaved off. I've noticed a far tighter grain in the latest $2 pegs. The issue has vexed me, causing embarrassment when a friend's daughter's violin had a string issue a few months after I repegged it. 

Guess I was looking for the magical rule of thumb on hole placement, to account for peg movement towards the taper. Not enough room for that, though, unless the string is permitted to wind upon itself, which I was told one never ever does on violins.

I'll work at compressing the holes better. And leaving a couple of mm. The current project has the pegs in tight, and I rework them periodically. No lube here (only wool lube) but plenty of chalk. My power screwdriver is 220 RPM, which might be good for working the hole. It is not great for drilling the peg; I have to go up to 1500-3000 rpm for a cleaner hole (or is it my drill bit?)

Love the jig for drilling a square hole. Maybe I can plane an angle along one edge of my work board to make the hole more square. I'll begin deburring my holes. Great touch which will be noticed.

I've heard of gluing a top in sections on larger instruments (cellos) but so far I've done them in one application. Time to slow it down and work in sections. I may even open up six inches around the lower bout of the current project. No time like the present, right? Good to know the top shrinks.

I've had backs off a few times and do not care for cutting a button free! Guess I was picturing a guitar rib mold type set-up. I'll work in sections from here on out when necessary.

The varnish is working out. I put the pigment in the mortar first, then got it well-suspended (dissolved) in Bektol. It is brushing on without leaving granular bumps. So maybe last week's batch was faulty (no pestle). I'll begin making my pigments more fine and dissolving them in a little alcohol, then test-brush onto paper before adding to varnish.

I looked at $50 brushes today. And decided to stick with my $16 brush. I've found that with a little more of an aggressive stroke, it is leaving zero brush marks. Next time, a wooden handle. Its grey plastic handle does not like denatured alcohol.

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10 hours ago, Woodman said:

Over the past few years I've been acquiring and rebuilding older violins for hobby and request. 1880 - 1930 is the general age of my subjects.  Here I present three topics with six questions rattling still around .... and greatly appreciate your insight.

Some of my ancient pigment is not dissolving in my varnish. It presents granular upon the varnished surface. Today I made a fresh batch and first tried to dissolve pigment in Bektol, which was then added to varnish. The new batch worked better and the color is getting where I want it but some of my pigments may be of issue.  1] Are pigments dissolved or suspended? 2] Was the issue likely my pigment or my procedure?

Sometimes string holes I drill in pegs end up in the wrong place after the peg seats itself. A  peg in a newly-dressed hole can seem plenty tight.  I'll work it around, chalked, for a few days / weeks before drilling the holes, but within a couple of months the string is not where I want it. Any idea, besides experience, what I am missing?   Maybe use one set of pegs to condition newly-dressed peg holes, and then fit new pegs?

Do you ever have to compress the ribs on the violin before gluing the top down. Recently a corkscrewed body wanted creative application from the sides. And last week I pushed in a lower bout as I was setting a spool clamp. Is this common?  Does one sometimes remove the ribs to a form, and glue the top afresh, then reset the back?

 

 

 

are you mulling your pigments? um mulled pigments often times present themselves as you describe, gritty. most pigments will benefit from some amount of mulling barring specialty ones from kremer 

 

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