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self made useful tools or templates for violin making/repair


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12 hours ago, Don Noon said:

That's nice... but it needs a motor:)

Here are a couple of disc sander/grinders I put together.

The most recent one uses the motor, disc, switch, and miter hardware from a cheapo Harbor Freight belt/disc sander.  The discs are inexpensive diamond discs, held on with magnets.  While I primarily made this to sharpen carbide lathe tools (which it does fantastically), I have also been finding it very useful for other things as well. (That's my peg lathe in the background).

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This second one I made some time ago, using an ancient Bodine gearmotor (low RPM) that I accumulated from who-knows-where in prehistoric times.  The disc plate I had to fabricate myself, and uses stick-on sanding discs.  It is primarily for soundposts.. the angle can be set to a precise angle, and the sled traveles in a groove at a very slight angle to the disc, so the length can be adjusted very precisely.  I also use it to trim saddle ends, setting the angle to zero

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All that to fit a sound post? Obviously not, but the hand cranked disk is another level of tool. I don't know if you have ever used an Alberti sander (or Woodlands awesome knockoff) but they are sublime. 

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Yes, I HAVE tried an Alberti sander, and they are very nice... except for the lack of a motor ;).  Since I had this gearmotor sitting in my stockpile, and didn't want to spend $900 on a motorless sander, I made this one.  You haven't tried MY sander either, and it has features the Alberti does not.  Besides all that... just making instruments all the time is a bit boring for me, and I like thinking up and making other stuff.  If I needed to make a living off of this, the priorities would be different.

Perhaps if I had made the diamond disc sander first, I wouldn't have bothered making the soundpost machine... but I made the green machine much later.

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On 12/12/2020 at 10:28 AM, David Burgess said:

How did you do that? Where did the vacuum cup go and where was the glue applied (and how)?

As the person to whom you gave "Bad Lessons" about 38 years ago said, "Tell your mentor to figure it out".

For others who may be interested, the vacuum cup went on the varnished side of the wood and I applied the glue with a modified eye dropper similar to the one pictured in David's Strad article on glue and its application linked above.  I also used the vacuum to remove the excess glue from inside the instrument once I had as much glue in the joint as I thought I could.  Both of the times I remember doing this were on large violas  with fairly flat broadly arched backs that I could flex pretty well.  It's not a technique I think would work particularly well in most situations with a back still attached to the ribs, nor one I would recommend most people try.

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A spruce frame saw for book matching. Hard to believe one can actually find quarter-sawn spruce in the sh*t pile of 2 x 2s at Menards if you dig long enough. The blade was only around $10 from Highland Woodworking and the rest of the materials were less than $10. Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find any nice(er) spruce pieces in the 2 x 6 pile at Home Depot for cello blocks and the main beam of a skeleton cello mold.

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38 minutes ago, violguy said:

Are you in Michigan?

I wish! I live/work in the Chicago suburbs but my wife has family property in the north woods. In fact, my avatar is a snapshot of the property in Manistee, a conifer swamp down the hill from the home site.

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Simple, but useful. A friend made this and I stole it from him. What are apprentices for, after all... 

He was having difficulty with sound post fitting. Don's jig with the sander I saw, a similar set-up, in Greg Alf's shop on a visit, so I suggested something like that. What my friend did is take a piece of multi-ply plywood and go to the drill press, using a digital guide for the angles, stating with 89 degrees and going down to 83 degrees. Split it with a saw, put a cam in one end, and then you insert the post, trim it flat with a sharp chisel, then do the other end.

I have to say that it works well on new instruments, but you still need to know how to do it with a knife for old fiddles that are deformed and distorted, and highly arched fiddles. After some practice, you can get very close or correct on the first try with new instruments:IMG_3713.JPG.168a1ae85c810955627a03f1c907354d.JPG

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2 hours ago, duane88 said:

Simple, but useful. A friend made this and I stole it from him. What are apprentices for, after all... 

He was having difficulty with sound post fitting. Don's jig with the sander I saw, a similar set-up, in Greg Alf's shop on a visit, so I suggested something like that. What my friend did is take a piece of multi-ply plywood and go to the drill press, using a digital guide for the angles, stating with 89 degrees and going down to 83 degrees. Split it with a saw, put a cam in one end, and then you insert the post, trim it flat with a sharp chisel, then do the other end.

I have to say that it works well on new instruments, but you still need to know how to do it with a knife for old fiddles that are deformed and distorted, and highly arched fiddles. After some practice, you can get very close or correct on the first try with new instruments:IMG_3713.JPG.168a1ae85c810955627a03f1c907354d.JPG

I was in Kurt Brycta’s shop many years ago who had a similar device that a friend had made him out of hardened steel.  It didn’t clamp onto the post, but was just a series of holes at increasingly steep angles.  It was fixed to his bench somehow and he would simple insert the post from the bottom of the hole he thought would give the correct angle and then rotate as needed before slicing off the end with a sharp chisel.

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25 minutes ago, catnip said:

I use a half-pencil.  

Not sure I see the need for this. If you know the diameter of your unmodified full pencil, you're going to get a line d/2 above the fingerboard edge projected at the bridge, and you just work from that line to get the initial string heights you want....

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On 10/1/2020 at 1:12 AM, Andreas Preuss said:

I was just cleaning my shop putting back tools in places where they are supposed to be and realized that quite a few are self made and still in useful service.

Enjoy!

If there are any questions, feel free to ask.

Would be my delight if other MN could post their self made useful tools.

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Great minds think alike;  look at you purfling pick on the right, and compare it to mine;  the handles are almost identical:

post-24795-19672_thumb.jpg

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I posted this to a different thread a little while ago before I knew this one existed.  

Most of you here are probably familiar with this type of bridge fitting tool.  I don't use it with sandpaper, just with carbon paper and a sharp knife, but you can definitely use sandpaper if that's your thing.  

I confess I was quite the LEGO fanatic when I was a kid.  I put together my own version of this tool with some LEGO pieces and some spare bolts.  Since I already had all the parts, it cost me nothing.  It'd still be easily under $5 if you were to buy all the parts new (bridge not included).  My LEGO version is pretty equal to the ones you can buy, and I actually prefer the rubber tires to the hard plastic wheel on the 'proper' version.  

20210401_220119.jpg

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20 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

That is very clever!

Thanks! It needs a bit trial and error to set the needle fixture to the rail. But once it works, it works. At the beginning you need to get the right feel to hold the wood piece and maybe you mess up one or two.

The most surprising compliment I got for it was 'C'est pas bete'. (Guess you know who said it)

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13 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

Great minds think alike;  look at you purfling pick on the right, and compare it to mine;  the handles are almost identical:

post-24795-19672_thumb.jpg

I have to confess that the chisel there wasn't made by me, though it is entirely hand forged. The credit goes to Stefan Valcuha who took in Renes shop a big concrete nail, a forged it with the help of a burner to what it is now, saying something like 'You need a purfling picker? Here we go!'

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10 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

I posted this to a different thread a little while ago before I knew this one existed.  

Most of you here are probably familiar with this type of bridge fitting tool.  I don't use it with sandpaper, just with carbon paper and a sharp knife, but you can definitely use sandpaper if that's your thing.  

I confess I was quite the LEGO fanatic when I was a kid.  I put together my own version of this tool with some LEGO pieces and some spare bolts.  Since I already had all the parts, it cost me nothing.  It'd still be easily under $5 if you were to buy all the parts new (bridge not included).  My LEGO version is pretty equal to the ones you can buy, and I actually prefer the rubber tires to the hard plastic wheel on the 'proper' version.  

20210401_220119.jpg

Tomorrow I have to steal some LEGO parts from my kids! :D

That's great!

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