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zdalton13

Help! My violin is too fat!

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Hello, everyone. I just finished up the rib structure for my first violin. I am using the messiah as a template and I was just double checking everything on the ribs when I realized that my mould is 4-5mm too wide. I don't know how I missed this. I don't think there is anyway to fix this, but I am  really worried about how this will change the tone of the instrument. Thoughts?

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Is that measurement the same at every point of the instrument?

is the length of the mould correct?

half or full template?

what material is your mould?

any photos?

my recommendation would be to remove the ribs, cut the mould in half, remove the extra material with a plane, glue the halves together (perhaps with cross-braces). Then, remove the top and bottom blocks from the rib structure. This can be done by holding them against a bending iron, with a damp cloth. Measure the block widths and re-saw the sides of the block recesses to fit. Add the blocks, and reglue the top and bottom of one half of the ribs. Trim the centre joint of the lower rib, and fit the other. Then the same can be done with the upper ribs. This all requires some thought, but is frequently done on old instruments to recover the lost overhang from plate shrinkage. 

Good luck!

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18 hours ago, zdalton13 said:

Hello, everyone. I just finished up the rib structure for my first violin. I am using the messiah as a template and I was just double checking everything on the ribs when I realized that my mould is 4-5mm too wide. I don't know how I missed this. I don't think there is anyway to fix this, but I am  really worried about how this will change the tone of the instrument. Thoughts?

I wouldn't worry - no-one knows what the Messiah sounds like.

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18 hours ago, zdalton13 said:

Hello, everyone. I just finished up the rib structure for my first violin. I am using the messiah as a template and I was just double checking everything on the ribs when I realized that my mould is 4-5mm too wide. I don't know how I missed this. I don't think there is anyway to fix this, but I am  really worried about how this will change the tone of the instrument. Thoughts?

Well, let's hear some some sound clips and see a spectrum.  Maybe you've finally equaled Stradivari.  Wouldn't that be a hoot?  :)

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3 hours ago, Anthony Panke said:

Is that measurement the same at every point of the instrument?

is the length of the mould correct?

half or full template?

what material is your mould?

any photos?

my recommendation would be to remove the ribs, cut the mould in half, remove the extra material with a plane, glue the halves together (perhaps with cross-braces). Then, remove the top and bottom blocks from the rib structure. This can be done by holding them against a bending iron, with a damp cloth. Measure the block widths and re-saw the sides of the block recesses to fit. Add the blocks, and reglue the top and bottom of one half of the ribs. Trim the centre joint of the lower rib, and fit the other. Then the same can be done with the upper ribs. This all requires some thought, but is frequently done on old instruments to recover the lost overhang from plate shrinkage. 

Good luck!

Yes, the measurements are off by 4-5mm across the whole width of the rib structure but the length is fine. The measurements across the width are closer to a del Gesu but with the length of a Strad.  The mould is 1/2" birch ply. That procedure sounds pretty risky. Can you elaborate on how to remove the block from the ribs? 

20190815_095902.jpg

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The first violin is more about getting it done and learning which mistakes not to carry into the next build.  That said, your're still early in the process where starting over is not that painful.  Did you build your form based on the plate outline?  My biggest concern would be that the violin might not fit in the case.

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I used a half template traced from the purling of the top plate taken from the Strad poster. I guess my mistake was in using a half template, I must have somehow not lined it up correct when I flipped it to trace the other side. Should I really restart with this one?

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12 minutes ago, Christopher Jacoby said:

Dont restart. raise the overstand at the neck a mm or 2 so the bow can clear the ribs and carry on.

Christopher, It sounds like you've come across something like this before. It is my understanding that if I raise the overstand, that I would end up with a gap between the root and the button. How should I compensate for this? Also would this not also change the elevation at the bridge?

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I think only you can decide whether or not to start again.

I would, because knowing something was wrong from the start would drive me nuts.

But everyone’s different.

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Or consider it an experiment and make the next one to proper dimensions and see how they compare.  Won't be able to say anything definitive about the effect of the different dimensions because of all the other variables, but it would salvage something out of the first instrument.  And if #1 sounds good to boot, so much the better.

If everything else about the first instrument turns out well, then you have achieved your objective for #1: it shows where you are in your command of the tools and the wood and where you can direct your efforts at improvement in #2 and its successors.

Learning to make is a lifelong marathon.  Whether or not your mistakes along the route compromise the structural integrity of the instrument -- and in this case, it sounds like they don't --, there are in abundance opportunities to progress.

IMHO, getting it done and moving on is more important than "getting it right" in this case.

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39 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

MHO, getting it done and moving on is more important than "getting it right" in this case.

In general I’d agree. But not at such an early stage as this. 

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I'd have to agree with JohnCockurn. Knowing the dimensions are not right is going to drive me nuts. However, in the interest of progressing, I think I'm going to continue with making this one while working a few steps behind on #2. That way I can immediately apply what I learned with #1 onto #2. I've already made a bunch of mistakes on this and the perfectionist in me already wants to start all over again. I already have some extra rib stock and here goes mould #2.

20190815_120242.jpg

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I agree with JohnCockburn. Better to start again, continuing with the incorrect measurements will undoubtedly lead to further problems. Might not even fit in some cases.

You need to make sure the centre line of your template is correct, sounds like it is off by several mm. Are you sure the image you used is to correct scale?

You say the length is correct, what is the length you have right now?

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Personally, I would take Jacoby's advice.  You want to raise the overstand a bit to allow for more bow clearance.  Yes it will raise the bridge a bit.  There will be not gap anywhere.  Of course it will fit in a case.  4-5mm too wide?  Any case will accommodate this.

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3 hours ago, zdalton13 said:

Yes, the measurements are off by 4-5mm across the whole width of the rib structure but the length is fine. The measurements across the width are closer to a del Gesu but with the length of a Strad.  The mould is 1/2" birch ply. That procedure sounds pretty risky. Can you elaborate on how to remove the block from the ribs? 

20190815_095902.jpg

Holding the bending iron against the outside of the ribs, at the block positions, with a damp cloth between the ribs and iron, will soften the glue after a minute. Then it is easy to remove the ribs, clean up the excess glue and adjust things. 

Or just carry on as it is, but it will be harder to correct later on if you change your mind. 

Drawing a centre line on the mould would help. 

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14 minutes ago, Thomas Coleman said:

Personally, I would take Jacoby's advice.  You want to raise the overstand a bit to allow for more bow clearance.  Yes it will raise the bridge a bit.  There will be not gap anywhere.  Of course it will fit in a case.  4-5mm too wide?  Any case will accommodate this.

Each to their own, I’d rather have it right from the start.

OP, can you provide measurements of your rib set in mm?

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On 8/14/2019 at 10:07 PM, zdalton13 said:

Hello, everyone. I just finished up the rib structure for my first violin. I am using the messiah as a template and I was just double checking everything on the ribs when I realized that my mould is 4-5mm too wide. I don't know how I missed this. I don't think there is anyway to fix this, but I am  really worried about how this will change the tone of the instrument. Thoughts?

Since you have already received a lot of conflicting advice, maybe you could explain in more detail what your concern is?

Are you concerned that the violin won't sound as it should or that it won't look right, or just that it won't turn out as you planned it?

if it's your first violin, and you are modelling it on a violin that no-one has ever played, then a few mm extra width is neither here nor there.

Similarly for the model - people play around with models al the time, and as you say yourself the new dimensions are still quite normal.

OK so it's not going according to plan ... I would either adapt to what you have, which is entirely reasonable as a rib garland, or throw it on the fire and start again.

Unless you are already very skilful I think the idea of cutting down and slightly reshaping the rib garland will just cause more frustration.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Since you have already received a lot of conflicting advice, maybe you could explain in more detail what your concern is?

Are you concerned that the violin won't sound as it should or that it won't look right, or just that it won't turn out as you planned it?

if it's your first violin, and you are modelling it on a violin that no-one has ever played, then a few mm extra width is neither here nor there.

Similarly for the model - people play around with models al the time, and as you say yourself the new dimensions are still quite normal.

OK so it's not going according to plan ... I would either adapt to what you have, which is entirely reasonable as a rib garland, or throw it on the fire and start again.

Unless you are already very skilful I think the idea of cutting down and slightly reshaping the rib garland will just cause more frustration.

 

 

A much more eloquent way of saying what I wanted to.

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Thanks for all the posts, really. I'm not concerned so much as what the instrument looks like, but how it will sound. I think it would be disappointing if it ended up sounding "bad" and there was something I could've done to change that. That being said, I don't expect it to sound amazing as a first violin and what "good tone" even means is completely subjective.  Anyway, I would like it to at least reflect the effort put into it.

 

Here are the measurements taken from the ribs:

Upper Bout at widest: 165mm

C Bout at narrowest: 106mm

Lower Bout at widest: 210mm

Length: 352.5

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If it makes you feel any better, I'm currently 4-5mm fat on my 3rd violin (Whoops) from being lazy creating my mold. 
I'm still sleeping very well at night because I've learnt to accept my mistakes as part of the learning process. I've made so many its not funny. The current violin I cut off the button and screwed up my varnish and had to strip the back. Now I know how to do an invisible button graft with ebony collett and learnt how to strip the varnish as well.

For what it's worth (I'm a beginner too) - not sure your rib mitres would be the same after ungluing and modifying everything. Sounds like a tricky, intimidating process for a beginner.

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Keep going, it's not that much and you will soon forget.  If you start again every time you make a mistake it will take a looooong time to finish.

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15 hours ago, zdalton13 said:

Yes, the measurements are off by 4-5mm across the whole width of the rib structure but the length is fine. The measurements across the width are closer to a del Gesu but with the length of a Strad.  The mould is 1/2" birch ply. That procedure sounds pretty risky. Can you elaborate on how to remove the block from the ribs?

What are the actual  measures?

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23 hours ago, martin swan said:

I wouldn't worry - no-one knows what the Messiah sounds like.

But many (possibly most) people who "copy" the Messiah are just using the outline as the basis for a PG Strad model.

Which is kind of my point. No matter what mistakes the OP makes further down the road, if they start again and make a decent job of the mould they’ll always have a nice PG form to go back to for future instruments. 

PS I'd encourage anyone making templates/mould for the first time to read the John Dilworth Trade Secrets article on the subject.

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