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self made useful tools or templates for violin making/repair


Andreas Preuss
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My home-made bow grip winder. This is based off Josh Henry's design, which one can find on YouTube. Mine is made from an old hand-drill and 1/2" Baltic birch plywood. Even with heavy sanding, Baltic birch doesn't stain or take shellac very well (as one can see), these days I use a polish made from melted beeswax, linseed oil and turpentine.

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12 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Welcome to violin making!

i sometimes wonder what is the minimum tool set you need to make a violin

you need chisels, (can be made from old files because their don’t need to be hollow. A rounded cutting edge is enough)

 

finger planes (a bit more work but can be made from dense hardwood like grenadille or horn.

scrapers (modern flexible scrapers can’t be handmade you need the special steel, but Stradivari type scrapers from knife blades work as well)

knifes of different sizes (can be made from old files)

purfling cutter (worth the effort to copy the Strad cutter. It’s a wonderful tool.)

Rib bending mould (bending irons are not only expensive but not really necessary in violin making. If the ribs are planed thin enough you can bend them on a mould after having them soaked in water for 24h)

peg hole reamer (no way around buying one) 

Rat tail file for string notches (must be bought)

a device to measure the neck projection at the bridge

closing clamps could be replaced by binding the plate to the ribs with a thread. But a set of closing clamps can be made by hand. 

block counterparts for clamping. 
 

glue brush 

glue and glue pot 

joiners plane (could be made from wood but is not worth the effort) 

a saw to cut the outline 

hand drill

divider

straight ruler

mould to build the ribs 

(this might have been all you would find in the workshop of I del Gesu)

Good luck!

Thank you for the warm welcome. Im going to go down your list and make a few of everything. Though I did make a scraper last night out of stainless. It's not professional grade but it wasn't useless it didn't make any dust or leave any nicks so I call it somewhat useful? I made a few knives.  I have a few chisels but no gouges. I have a bandsaw and the heavier side of things. I was just curious about where others got started. I'm not going to start from scratch right away but it was surprising to me how relatively cheap wood was compared to my other hobby balsa model airplanes. For the money I have in my 1/3 scale pitts I can make a "moderate" to "high end" violin. I am skilled at wood working but I have never tried the task of actually carving anything yet though. I have some idea of what I'm getting into but I have no idea where to start. I thought start small start with something I know or something easy. Im not going to build the best sounding violin ever my first attempt or even my second or 3rd attempt. But eventually my goal is to be as proficient at violin making as I am a model airplane building. And to have a nice sound violin or two to show for it. I've been studying a lot and it seems pretty obvious to start with the plates so wanted to aquire those tools first. In my curiosity I got more into it and now I've decided to make a tool every night until I feel comfortable starting an actual build. You mentioned a heating iron or just using water. My thoughts were confusion. Everyone I've seen uses an iron. In the model world we use water or ammonia. Ammonia works wonders if you've never tried it. Anyway is there any reasoning to use the iron over water or vice-versa? From my experience with water and wood eventually something is going to change im not sure I like that. Is the iron just more widely used because its faster? I mean so much emphasis on naturally dried wood just to use a hot iron on it doesn't make much sense to me either.  I'm positive both ways give good results or is it to each their own type thing? Another thing was plate tuning and plate thickness. Wood density.... but I suppose that for a different conversation. Anyway thanks for the advice and any more information or tips would be greatly appreciated.

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18 hours ago, RobertL said:

Thank you for the warm welcome. Im going to go down your list and make a few of everything. Though I did make a scraper last night out of stainless. It's not professional grade but it wasn't useless it didn't make any dust or leave any nicks so I call it somewhat useful? I made a few knives.  I have a few chisels but no gouges. I have a bandsaw and the heavier side of things. I was just curious about where others got started. I'm not going to start from scratch right away but it was surprising to me how relatively cheap wood was compared to my other hobby balsa model airplanes. For the money I have in my 1/3 scale pitts I can make a "moderate" to "high end" violin. I am skilled at wood working but I have never tried the task of actually carving anything yet though. I have some idea of what I'm getting into but I have no idea where to start. I thought start small start with something I know or something easy. Im not going to build the best sounding violin ever my first attempt or even my second or 3rd attempt. But eventually my goal is to be as proficient at violin making as I am a model airplane building. And to have a nice sound violin or two to show for it. I've been studying a lot and it seems pretty obvious to start with the plates so wanted to aquire those tools first. In my curiosity I got more into it and now I've decided to make a tool every night until I feel comfortable starting an actual build. You mentioned a heating iron or just using water. My thoughts were confusion. Everyone I've seen uses an iron. In the model world we use water or ammonia. Ammonia works wonders if you've never tried it. Anyway is there any reasoning to use the iron over water or vice-versa? From my experience with water and wood eventually something is going to change im not sure I like that. Is the iron just more widely used because its faster? I mean so much emphasis on naturally dried wood just to use a hot iron on it doesn't make much sense to me either.  I'm positive both ways give good results or is it to each their own type thing? Another thing was plate tuning and plate thickness. Wood density.... but I suppose that for a different conversation. Anyway thanks for the advice and any more information or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Professional bending irons are quite expensive. So my advice was giving an alternative method which works very well and doesn’t cost anything. When I am back from vacations I can upload pictures of the rib bending moulds in this thread.
 

For softening wood ammonia works well but changes the color of the wood. I am using vinegar. 

As you are already trained in woodworking to some degree, the jump to violin making is maybe not too big. And if you start with simple things you have a good attitude.

Hope you enjoy it.

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This is an expensive sport. Both from the consumers end and the makers end. You will spend money, and a lot of it if you pursue this to any substantial degree. Spend wisely. With all due respect to Andreas P, one of the items I would encourage you to buy is a bending iron. At around $150-200, they are not, in the long run, a bad investment or terribly expensive. I used the standard "starter" iron for many, many instruments. It was perfectly fine. While mould bending ribs is a perfectly reasonable way to get the job done, it is not the standard, if that matters. And besides, using a bending iron is A LOT OF FUN! Go for it.

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On 7/11/2021 at 12:04 AM, RobertL said:

Thank you for the warm welcome. Im going to go down your list and make a few of everything. Though I did make a scraper last night out of stainless. It's not professional grade but it wasn't useless it didn't make any dust or leave any nicks so I call it somewhat useful? I made a few knives.  I have a few chisels but no gouges. I have a bandsaw and the heavier side of things. I was just curious about where others got started. I'm not going to start from scratch right away but it was surprising to me how relatively cheap wood was compared to my other hobby balsa model airplanes. For the money I have in my 1/3 scale pitts I can make a "moderate" to "high end" violin. I am skilled at wood working but I have never tried the task of actually carving anything yet though. I have some idea of what I'm getting into but I have no idea where to start. I thought start small start with something I know or something easy. Im not going to build the best sounding violin ever my first attempt or even my second or 3rd attempt. But eventually my goal is to be as proficient at violin making as I am a model airplane building. And to have a nice sound violin or two to show for it. I've been studying a lot and it seems pretty obvious to start with the plates so wanted to aquire those tools first. In my curiosity I got more into it and now I've decided to make a tool every night until I feel comfortable starting an actual build. You mentioned a heating iron or just using water. My thoughts were confusion. Everyone I've seen uses an iron. In the model world we use water or ammonia. Ammonia works wonders if you've never tried it. Anyway is there any reasoning to use the iron over water or vice-versa? From my experience with water and wood eventually something is going to change im not sure I like that. Is the iron just more widely used because its faster? I mean so much emphasis on naturally dried wood just to use a hot iron on it doesn't make much sense to me either.  I'm positive both ways give good results or is it to each their own type thing? Another thing was plate tuning and plate thickness. Wood density.... but I suppose that for a different conversation. Anyway thanks for the advice and any more information or tips would be greatly appreciated.

I suggest using shorter paragraphs with spaces in-between to make things easier to read.

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On 7/12/2021 at 8:52 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I suggest using shorter paragraphs with spaces in-between to make things easier to read.

AwcomeonmartyAtleastheremeberedtousespacesinbetweenwordsandpuntuationAlthoughthe paragraphwouldbeshorterwithoutspacesandperiodsCheersJim:) 

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