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Derek Callaway

Corner lengths?

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How long should the corners of the garland be?  I have the ribs and the linings glued in, and before bringing those down to the final heights I looked at the corners, and all of a sudden they looked a little long to me.   To be clear, I’m talking about the distance between the red lines in the attached photo of my garland.  I have not yet planed/sanded the ribs and linings to final height. 

 I’ve tried to find written guidelines for what this should be like, but all I’ve been able to find are photographed examples.  Based on the photos I’ve found (the attached ones without red or blue lines are PeST’s Opus 2 from this site and a screenshot from Davide Sora’s videos) it looks like the distance is about the same as the width of the lining.  Maybe a tiny bit less?

Does this sound right?spacer.png

697505B0-FA19-4ED7-9E90-48CBBC917925.jpeg

402C4D1B-B1DB-4E44-A9E0-E6D16751AA2F.jpeg

D98DB58A-BC9B-49AD-93D8-06FC67BDAB72.jpeg

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I am assuming the top photo is the lower corner and the lower photo is the upper . In any  case the upper photo looks OK but the lower photo looks pretty long. In general shorter rib corners can be dealt with easier than ones which are too long. Also if the uppers are too long the fiddle looks very awkward while if the uppers are slightly short in relation to the lowers you get a more balanced and stable outline.

The problem with your over long corner is not really between the red lines but rather that the block itself could have been shaved down a bit more  on the outer (non c-bout)  side. For now though I would cut the tip back while looking out that the end of the rib corner doesn't get too thick.

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There is no prescribed distance that the corner length should be.  It is an aesthetic and practical consideration.  As Nathan mentioned, too long or short can look awkward.  Too long and they can be easily damaged or possibly affect bowing.  How did you derive your garland outline?  If it was reversed from a photo or plan it is easy to make the corners too long.  A remedy is to redraw the outline on paper, tracing your new template and then using a washer or some such to account for rib thickness and overhang.  Also draw in the rib miters.  This will give a decent approximation of what the corners will look like.  Like Nathan I would recommend trimming down the rib corner a bit.  If the endgrain of the mitered rib starts to get too wide/thick  you can use a fine file to thin the thickness of the C bout rib a little to make it visually pleasing making sure to blend it nicely. Not a lot but a little. 

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Some great advice here from excellent makers. You're in good hands. Because of the way making generally proceeds with an inside form, everything you do gets amplified as you proceed. Block to rib, rib to plate. If you err just  on the side of of what seems like stubby while carving the block, you will generally get plate corners of a reasonable and attractive length. 

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On 6/4/2020 at 12:34 AM, Derek Callaway said:

How long should the corners of the garland be?  I have the ribs and the linings glued in, and before bringing those down to the final heights I looked at the corners, and all of a sudden they looked a little long to me.   To be clear, I’m talking about the distance between the red lines in the attached photo of my garland.  I have not yet planed/sanded the ribs and linings to final height. 

 I’ve tried to find written guidelines for what this should be like, but all I’ve been able to find are photographed examples.  Based on the photos I’ve found (the attached ones without red or blue lines are PeST’s Opus 2 from this site and a screenshot from Davide Sora’s videos) it looks like the distance is about the same as the width of the lining.  Maybe a tiny bit less?

Does this sound right?spacer.png

 

402C4D1B-B1DB-4E44-A9E0-E6D16751AA2F.jpeg

D98DB58A-BC9B-49AD-93D8-06FC67BDAB72.jpeg

You will never find an indication for this measure because there is no fixed one, it depends on the model you are making or if you want to make longer or shorter corners. The one in the photo above with the red lines it's very long and reminds me almost the result of the use of an outside form. In any case, the more the curves of the block are accentuated (shorter radius) and the more the seam of the ribs will tend to lengthen, not by chance Stradivari's corner blocks always have very flat curves that allow a more short and balanced joint between the ribs. In the photos below a clearer example of the corner blocks of my G form, with the intention of obtaining not too long plate corners. You can notice that the one you took from my video (same G form) has a slightly longer joint, to get slightly longer plate corners.

 

954725271_FormaGpuntasuperiorefasce.jpg.83fcb922e6a16d26c87d0c31383b0a86.jpg

798189541_FormaGpuntainferiorefasce.jpg.66f60342e88beb5547cdc1da367e039e.jpg

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This is all very helpful.  Thank you.  

My garland outline came from makingtheviolin.com, whose measurements are based on the Strad "Messiah."  I see now that the curves on the blocks (see attached) are tighter than Davide's, and that makes the longer point understandable.  

I'll shorten the corners a little bit.  I'm comfortable with the prospect of carefully feathering the end of the C bout if need be.  

Thanks again.  

upper bout bass side.jpg

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In addition to the aesthetic considerations, long corners pose a challenge for less experienced players. They can get clipped by an errant bow stroke!

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1 hour ago, scordatura said:

In addition to the aesthetic considerations, long corners pose a challenge for less experienced players. They can get clipped by an errant bow stroke!

I hate corner points both aesthetically and ergonomically so I just cut them off of the instruments I build.

I have yet to have any beginning, accomplished or famous player say this is a mistake.  The only ones who don't like the idea are VSA judges, other makers and dealers.

2020_06_05_0298.JPG

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Someone once mentioned a go / no go test on the corners; I believe it was Jacob Saunders if I recall correctly.

The test was like this: If you can pick up the rib garland by the corner pinched between your finger and thumb, you carry it over to the garbage can and drop it in and leave it there. If not, it's a keeper.

Now, this might seem a bit harsh, but ironically it does put the length into perspective.

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36 minutes ago, Bill Yacey said:

Someone once mentioned a go / no go test on the corners; I believe it was Jacob Saunders if I recall correctly.

The test was like this: If you can pick up the rib garland by the corner pinched between your finger and thumb, you carry it over to the garbage can and drop it in and leave it there. If not, it's a keeper.

 

Actually that is one way (a not very reliable one) to test if a rib cage is „built on the back“ or around a mould. The „built on the back“ ones can as often as not be picked up by the rib corner (if you have the nerves), an a built around a mould one almost never. Mind you, watch out for exceptions, Dietmar Machold once nearly murdered me, because I picked a Del Gesu up like that.

To the OP question: I think the OP has to think a little further. The length, or shortness of the rib corners depends on what he wants the back and belly corners to look like afterwards. Length and narrowness, or otherwise, will also determine how close or far the purfling will have to be from the edge, and that is also a matter of personal taste. He should for certain be careful that the top and bottom corners look like they were both determined by the same person otherwise this can be a sure sign of amateur work, where the maker doesn‘t have such things under control.

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Something to be aware of, and you can draw it out, is that the more acute the angle at the end the more the corner will be drawn out longer, and the opposite. So it's not only the length, it's the angle. 

In fact, one thing you can do, right now, it trace your ribs and then draw out the margin and corner as it will end up, look at it, and while looking at pix of what you hope to achieve, see how your violiin compares. There's no need to wait until the end to see what you have.

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

In fact, one thing you can do, right now, it trace your ribs and then draw out the margin and corner as it will end up, look at it, and while looking at pix of what you hope to achieve, see how your violiin compares. There's no need to wait until the end to see what you have.

Well said, I think it is the only way to have control of the length of the corners using the inside form.

Oh well, there is also another method that works very well, doing everything by eye, but it takes time and training to get good results. Not for beginners.;)

1918797888_Csudisegno.jpg.6db75391abe131d844bcea1d331ab765.jpg

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Marty--- I can't figure out the orientation of the photo you posted.   Do you have one not so close to see how it looks in relationship to the whole violin? 

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Hi Jack,

I posted a photo of a viola with rounded off corners yesterday June 3 at 2:03 under the other topic " A few questions for viola makers please".  My violins use the same thing.viola_license_revoked

A few questions for viola makers please?

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8 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Well said, I think it is the only way to have control of the length of the corners using the inside form.

Oh well, there is also another method that works very well, doing everything by eye, but it takes time and training to get good results. Not for beginners.;)

1918797888_Csudisegno.jpg.6db75391abe131d844bcea1d331ab765.jpg

I've been doing it more or less freehand so far. My corners, usually the lower ones for some reason, end up a little caddywhompus, like my last one. But not aesthetically unpleasing, at least to me. I should really make a good half template with the right corner shapes. 

IMG_20200512_223831~2.jpg

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On 6/5/2020 at 1:55 AM, Derek Callaway said:

This is all very helpful.  Thank you.  

My garland outline came from makingtheviolin.com, whose measurements are based on the Strad "Messiah."  I see now that the curves on the blocks (see attached) are tighter than Davide's, and that makes the longer point understandable.  

I'll shorten the corners a little bit.  I'm comfortable with the prospect of carefully feathering the end of the C bout if need be.  

Thanks again.  

upper bout bass side.jpg

To me, these look far too long.

It would be useful, as has been said already, to draw around the ribs with a spacer to give the final outline.

If after you have done this, you can post a picture of the outline, we can give some better advice. Also useful to measure the distance on your outline between the inner corner tips, across the C bout, and give us that measurement.

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On 6/4/2020 at 8:55 PM, Derek Callaway said:

This is all very helpful.  Thank you.  

My garland outline came from makingtheviolin.com, whose measurements are based on the Strad "Messiah."  I see now that the curves on the blocks (see attached) are tighter than Davide's, and that makes the longer point understandable.  

I'll shorten the corners a little bit.  I'm comfortable with the prospect of carefully feathering the end of the C bout if need be.  

Thanks again.  

upper bout bass side.jpg

I would expect that the rib corner length, as shown,  to result in an outline which is rather freaky, and also highly susceptible to damage.

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Long, elegant, well designed, Lady Blunt like corners are beautifully but, eventually, they may appear exaggerated and "too long". It is one of the first points the eye of the connoisseur are directed, and he will frown upon too long corners.

Long corners can play havoc with bow clearance too. Tha't why when I designed my viola model inspired in Andrea Guarneri I modificated the corners and made them on the short way.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

If you're going to do it, make it good:

 

LongCorners.thumb.JPG.48ede2bba2900eb456a63a9f5ca916eb.JPG

Nicolo Amati?

OP you could always steam the outer rib off, and reshape the block, and then re bend the outer rib to fit. Then glue and trim. 

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44 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

Nicolo Amati?

OP you could always steam the outer rib off, and reshape the block, and then re bend the outer rib to fit. Then glue and trim. 

Hate to say it, but that's what I would suggest. Just wet them down and press them against the iron and they will come right off.

the corners are too long and will look funny when done, one could always fudge the overhang a bit , but that's an awful big bit to fudge.

My feeling are that if you proceed with this and finish it you will be forever kicking yourself because it looks funny. At this point as you have not made the plates, which are dictated by the garland,it's not too late to get this back on the right track with just a couple hours of work going backwards that will make everything going forward much better.

Just blending those into the recurve would create a challenge and have a visual wtf of not just the pointyness of the points , but the long blend into the lip at the recurve on both the top and back.

Really just take a wet rag, hit the points,take it to a hot iron and heat it up, they will pop right off, let the blocks dry and then reshape them. 

And I would then take pics of your blocks points and let people here help dial you in. but really just shorten them a bit and you'll be much better off

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

If you're going to do it, make it good:

 

LongCorners.thumb.JPG.48ede2bba2900eb456a63a9f5ca916eb.JPG

The problem is that the long corners are so beautiful, by shortening them you lose a lot of elegance, it is the endless dispute between aesthetics and functionality, but it is not enough to appeal to the ease of use to justify ugly corners:lol:

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20 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

The problem is that the long corners are so beautiful, by shortening them you lose a lot of elegance, it is the endless dispute between aesthetics and functionality, but it is not enough to appeal to the ease of use to justify ugly corners:lol:

Or, lack thereof, like the corner-less violins shown from time to time. To my eye, that's one of the worst things that could be done to a violin, denuding it of any vestige of respect.

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When you were making the outline did you remember to reduce the corners by 2 mm.  Reducing an outline by 3.5 - 3.7 mm always ends up with corners that are too long.  There is math involved as to why you have to do this. 

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