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fiddlerjer

Lower the arch?

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You are on the right track and working to develop the instinctive understanding of the shape that you need for this task.  Don't be discouraged if the suggestions don't seem to help too much.  Once you have the feeling, it will all make sense.  I can describe the taste of melon, but you will not know until you taste it yourself.  And after that, nothing need be said.

I am on my 6th build, and only now do I have the understanding to get close to my desire!

A couple of tips.  Go VERY slow from the start.  I lose the feeling if my works starts getting too choppy.  (Also hard to smooth later.)

Get your gouges very sharp, the cuts should look like glass, not ragged.  This will make a huge difference in the "gracefulness" of your shaping approach, not to mention the smoothness of the final product.

Use finger planes, set with a very fine bite, to do your rough shaping.  This slows you down and gives smooth lines.

Look at a finished violin as you work, look for the relationships in the shaping.

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Also leave extra wood, do not go all the way to the final arch heights.  If you are working cleanly with sharp tools, you only need to leave a millimeter or two.

Then use a contour gage (or a pencil chucked in a drill press) and work on correcting the contours.

Only then, at the last, work the arches to their final height.

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On my belly, the top of the arch between the c bouts is quite broad and flat. Is this to be desired? Looking at it last night it seemed like it needed to be rounder but today I'm not so sure.

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4 minutes ago, fiddlerjer said:

On my belly, the top of the arch between the c bouts is quite broad and flat. Is this to be desired? Looking at it last night it seemed like it needed to be rounder but today I'm not so sure.

When you reach a point that you're not sure if you should take off more wood, call it good and move on to the next step.  You'll learn the most from finishing the fiddle and applying lessons learned toward the next one.

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Broad and flat can be OK.  Go too flat and you will have trouble fitting a bridge.

 

But Jim is right, if it seems reasonable move on.  Keep a notebook so you can write down what later steps are affected by your choice.  That way you can review and make intelligent choices about your next build.

 

No one ever wants to stop and write things down.  :-)  I actually write on my wood: don't cut off the button, cut the neck dovetail this direction, knife cuts in this direction, etc.  (I can hear the chuckles in the back of the room.)

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It might be a good idea to get a really cheap fiddle off ebay.   I know they are junk but you would have something in your hands that has close to a reasonable arch shape.  having an actual fiddle to put your hands and eyes on might give you a better idea of what to carve.       

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3 hours ago, Shunyata said:

Use finger planes, set with a very fine bite, to do your rough shaping.  This slows you down and gives smooth lines.

Yep, have been using my finger plane (only have the one for now, and it's new, still learning to use it), still working at getting the setting just right. It takes very fine shavings off the maple currently but seems to bite into the spruce more deeply.

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