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Stephen Haroldsen's Bench

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As a complete amateur, it may be somewhat foolish posting my work here along side all of the great makers on this site. I am currently part way through the process of building my first two violins. I've been photographing my work as I have gone along and I figured that I might as well start by posting some of what I have done so far.

If anyone sees fit to comment or provide feedback, that's great. If nothing else it may provide some of you with a bit if amusement to see someone's first efforts and mistakes along the way; particularly from someone who didn't really start with much woodworking experience. :rolleyes:

I have started with a model based on the Strad PG mold, but have not attempted to really copy any particular model. I do have the Strad Titian poster on my wall for inspiration.

I started two at once with the idea of one each for myself and my wife. I'm very curious to see how they end up turning out. Both are a similar form with Big Leaf maple for the backs (very different flame though). One has a Sitka top and one is Engleman. Anyway, here is the current state.








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I made myself a bridge knife the other day. The handle is from a cherry tree that used to be in my mom's back yard, before it died a few years ago and was cut down. I added the ebony bit out of an old fingerboard, just for fun. I made the blade out of a graver that was part of a bunch of jewelry making tools I inherited from my grandfather.


The finish is some madder lake in linseed oil and then some amber oil varnish, which still needs to dry. I will finish sharpening it later. I wasn't really going for it, but its very matchy with my Titian poster. I like it.


Hopefully it is a good shape for bridges.

Edited by nplusplus
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My forms and some images along the way... I gave them some removable legs for spacing when gluing ribs as well as aligning the template i made for the blocks.





I didn't want to drill larger holes for clamping, but didn't really feel like going entirely traditional either, so I made my own clamps for the ribs. These are ok, but i made an improved version afterward.



Now that the ribs are off, I have refined the shapes a bit to better match the P and PG forms - they were initially a little off, I think in the upper bout mostly. The forms are now decorating my shop waiting for the next one.


Edited by nplusplus
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Poplar cradle.



The holes at the edges are sized to fit wine corks. This is part way through scraping the sitka top top and refining the arching.



Here I have started on the f-holes. The edge isn't finished and you can see my poor first attempt at purfling. :unsure:


Edited by nplusplus
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Oooh, I like your rib clamping system.  The form and cradle look real nice too. 
I'm an amateur builder myself so you can choose whether to pay this any mind but the first thing that stood out to me in your photos is that the corners look chopped off.   I feel like this is a pretty common mistake when you're starting out especially when you're working from images of a well worn instrument.  There's a lot of character in the corners that can be lost if you're just a fraction of a millimeter off.  Roger Hargrave makes a point to draw the curves of the corners out to where they start to form a trumpet shape.  I find this helpful. 
Here's an exaggerated drawing.. 

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