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Goran74

Built on a board method

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I was reading Strobel's Art and Method of the violin maker. At page 29 refers to an English method of building a violin on a flat board. Inner line drawn, blocks placed and the ribs and linings attached. 

Is this method possible? I can imagine attach everything on a board. But when blocks pulled off, does the structure hold its shape? How can be traced the front or back if corner locks are on board?

Thank you

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If I remember correctly, this method was advocated by Bill Luff. I have tried it, and it is certainly “possible”, as is any other method. I think it is only a proposition, if you are only making one violin (a copy of something, for instance) and can’t be bothered to make a mould for a once off fiddle.

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25 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

If I remember correctly, this method was advocated by Bill Luff. I have tried it, and it is certainly “possible”, as is any other method. I think it is only a proposition, if you are only making one violin (a copy of something, for instance) and can’t be bothered to make a mould for a once off fiddle.

I understand the built on back styles and the related Boussu method, W. Baker's on air viola etc. A flat board with right outline is possible, so someone can trace and glue back or front. But on just a flat square board, isn't the structure unsecured when detached? 

Of course can be possible in my mind, but the final result will be a bad shaped instrument. When you tried this method, did you use skeleton inside to hold the blocks? 

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11 minutes ago, Goran74 said:

I understand the built on back styles and the related Boussu method, W. Baker on air viola etc. A flat board with right outline is possible, so someone can trace and glue back or front. But on just a flat square board, isn't the structure unsecured when detached? 

Of course can be possible in my mind, but the final result will be a bad shaped instrument. When you tried this method, did you used skeleton inside to hold the blocks? 

I just used a square board, glued the 6 blocks onto the board, and bent the ribs around them. After that, you turn it upside down, draw around with a pencil, and have your back outline. I can see no advantage in a “shaped” board. The few seconds between separating the ribs from the board and glueing them on the back require no reinforcement. I have never heard of “Boussu” or “W. Baker on air”

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37 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

never heard of “Boussu” or “W. Baker on air”

https://www.jstor.org/stable/44083113?seq=1

You can read it for free just with registration. Otherwise here https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02086598/document&ved=2ahUKEwi5mrG6x6fsAhWRonEKHVvvDgIQFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw2zWtMRcXGEGAxrDN0YkR_Y

There are related YouTube video series on Boussu violin making method. Mixed method, on back, with mitres and nice shaped neck attack. 

William Baker's viola, simplistic construction, with cedar table is discussed at Shapes of the Baroque p. 76. (impressive the use of cedar before Torres, that said to be the first used cedar for guitar tops). 

How big was the board that you used about? Just bit bigger than plate's dimension? 

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We are evidently talking about different things. I was talking about the method Bill Luff used to teach in his night class. I will now keep quiet, and try not to spoil your thread

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Thanks for the info about the Boussu violin building method of building around glued on blocks.

One of the interesting features is the hardwood strip inserted in between  the bottom ribs. I always assumed that these strips were later additions added for a repair but it is shown in the video that they are inserted when the violin was made.

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14 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

We are evidently talking about different things. I was talking about the method Bill Luff used to teach in his night class. I will now keep quiet, and try not to spoil your thread

Thank you for your answers. Boussu etc. were misleading by myself. I understand your point. Please, l would like to know more about Luff's method. I do not think that is elsewhere discussed so it is a chance to have some of your knowledge. Sincerely. 

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Hello everyone!

Thank you for bringing up my Boussu research here!

Actually, I built my first violins twenty years ago, starting with a flat board (not the joined top or back rough board, but a plywood plate) where the corner blocks were (temporarily) glued on, in the right position. On that board, the ribs were placed (actually, a mould was also involved, so it was a sort of "hybrid" method). When the rib structure was finished, it was taken off the board, and the plates could be traced. This method came from a (not so good) Dutch book on violin making that I found in the local library. Good point about the book was, that it (unintendedly) demonstrated some idiosyncratic methods, that made me realize later that there is no "one way".

Further on, of course, I learned and made instruments the classical way. And even more years later, I started exploring the possible working ways of Boussu (-:

In conclusion: you can make a violin in many, many different ways!

Best regards,
Geerten

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16 hours ago, geerten said:

Thank you for bringing up my Boussu research here! Etc. 

Congratulations for your research. It is truly a good reference for the different methods of violin making. 

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The way I built my most recent viola was to construct the back outline, with the rib line, directly onto the surface of the back, then to “freestyle” the entire structure to that outline. All the blocks first (corner blocks carved only on the c bout side for now), then the ribs. The two c bouts can be made, the upper and lower bouts and then everything is glued together. The advantages were the speed of this method and having a good back outline, however it’s difficult to keep everything flat and parallel. I’d recommend using a mould for perpendicularity, but this works well for brescian style instruments, being not far off from the built on back method.

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1 hour ago, Goran74 said:

Congratulations for your research. It is truly a good reference for the different methods of violin making. 

Thank you very much, Goran!

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5 hours ago, Anthony Panke said:

The way I built my most recent viola was to construct the back outline, with the rib line, directly onto the surface of the back, then to “freestyle” the entire structure to that outline. All the blocks first (corner blocks carved only on the c bout side for now), then the ribs. The two c bouts can be made, the upper and lower bouts and then everything is glued together. The advantages were the speed of this method and having a good back outline, however it’s difficult to keep everything flat and parallel. I’d recommend using a mould for perpendicularity, but this works well for brescian style instruments, being not far off from the built on back method.

Thanks for your comment. So it is seems like a clear built on back method with corner blocks. Did you ever tried without corner locks and thicker ribs? 

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On 10/9/2020 at 6:44 AM, jacobsaunders said:

I just used a square board, glued the 6 blocks onto the board, and bent the ribs around them. After that, you turn it upside down, draw around with a pencil, and have your back outline. I can see no advantage in a “shaped” board. The few seconds between separating the ribs from the board and glueing them on the back require no reinforcement. I have never heard of “Boussu” or “W. Baker on air”

Would it not be more accurate to have a shaped outline board, and mark, finish and glue / clamp the finished back to the ribs while they are still glued to the board? This way the ribs won't drift out of shape.

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I built a few Brescian violas on the back this way. If you are starting with a board, why not start with the back for the finished instrument? I drew the fiddle out with dividers on the chunk of maple, and glued the blocks where they went and shaped them, etc. etc.

 Mauritzio Tadioli seems to build off a board without a form pretty often, if you go haunt his facebook and Instagram photos. His instruments are top class...

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1 hour ago, Bill Yacey said:

Would it not be more accurate to have a shaped outline board, and mark, finish and glue / clamp the finished back to the ribs while they are still glued to the board? This way the ribs won't drift out of shape.

This is what I was asking too. But maybe, if the square board is just about the the width and length of the violin (1 cm more each side), you can turn the board and trace the outline at plates. It seems that this is the method follows Mr Saunders and looks logical. 

26 minutes ago, Christopher Jacoby said:

If you are starting with a board, why not start with the back for the finished instrument?

The question was about "built on board method". Of course someone can start on back, without corner locks and 'guitar like' lining. The problems with the simple built on back method are - prolonged corners, not easy to get horizontal ribs everywhere and that means bigger difference between plates. Built on back with mitres or half mold makes things much easier. With board, you can check easy the axis of the ribss' structure. 

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I don’t advocate building ribs on a board. That was Bill Luff. One can build ribs however one might wish. Some people will get wonky ribs, whichever method they use, just as others will make perfect ones, however they do it. The rib building method is a useful way to tell antique violins apart, but distinguishing contemporary violins into regional schools is a fools errand anyway.

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A -Outline (the ribs position) on flat board

B - Blocks glued on board 

C - Ribs attaches and glued on blocks + lining 

D - ? (Turn table and trace on plate? Seems not practical. If dettached, the ribs will not be supported by anything.)

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1 hour ago, Goran74 said:

Basic questions still remains, since I tried an outline on a square flat table. How do I trace at plates after ribs are completed?

 

1 hour ago, Goran74 said:

Seems not practical. If dettached, the ribs will not be supported by anything.)

It’s slightly irritating, having to defend someone else's method, which I tried out myself, but don’t particularly advocate, except perhaps for a once-off model, or a copy.

If you spend your whole life repairing, it is slightly difficult to understand what is the great problem if a rib cage is “not supported by anything” for a few seconds, one could make the same criticism of an outside mould. When repairing, and having to trace around a rib cage + edge overhang, I have a one inch long pencil.

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13 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

 

It’s slightly irritating, having to defend someone else's method, which I tried out myself, but don’t particularly advocate, except perhaps for a once-off model, or a copy.

If you spend your whole life repairing, it is slightly difficult to understand what is the great problem if a rib cage is “not supported by anything” for a few seconds, one could make the same criticism of an outside mould. When repairing, and having to trace around a rib cage + edge overhang, I have a one inch long pencil.

I scratched my head last night trying to understand your remark about turning the board over and using  a "one inch long pencil" to trace the outline.

I think I get it now, but it sounds like a very awkward and inaccurate way ?

Did you using a washer and a pencil  to trace the outline ?

 

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10 hours ago, Delabo said:

I scratched my head last night trying to understand your remark about turning the board over and using  a "one inch long pencil" to trace the outline

I am still scratching mine, about the idea of turning all the board with the ribcage upside down and trace the outline. 

In this way, if you trun the board upside on a plate, you can trace the outline without the overhang and that again seems impractical. 

So the options are 2:

It is impractical

Or

Information are missing 

(or it is my problem that I do not understand) 

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19 minutes ago, Goran74 said:

I am still scratching mine, about the idea of turning all the board with the ribcage upside down and trace the outline. 

In this way, if you trun the board upside on a plate, you can trace the outline without the overhang and that again seems impractical. 

So the options are 2:

It is impractical

Or

Information are missing 

(or it is my problem that I do not understand) 

My assumption is that the flat board the corners are glued onto is cut just a little bit bigger than the rib outline. Maybe even a general violin shape.

You turn the board over and with a 25mm (one inch) pencil, which is shorter than the rib height, and which is  able to stand upright under the board; you trace around the outline.

The pencil tip could be put inside a small metal washer and pressed against the ribs as you trace around to give a overhang.

But I am just guessing and it could be a case of crossed wires somewhere.

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On 10/10/2020 at 9:53 PM, Goran74 said:

Basic questions still remains, since I tried an outline on a square flat table. How do I trace at plates after ribs are completed?

Hi Goran, here is a photo from the Dutch book showing the ‘faux table’ (to quote Diderot and d’Alembert). So this would be a possible solution to easy the tracing of the back plate.

04C9D9E3-4C3E-439F-8CAE-8B1808230DDB.jpeg

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1 hour ago, geerten said:

Hi Goran, here is a photo from the Dutch book showing the ‘faux table’ (to quote Diderot and d’Alembert). So this would be a possible solution to easy the tracing of the back plate.

04C9D9E3-4C3E-439F-8CAE-8B1808230DDB.jpeg

Very nice photo. Thank you for that and for your time. (Please, note the title of the book, even if I cannot read Dutch). This is the way I knew from English makers and I mentioned before - as the outlined board.

What about the flat board (or on table building)? - I realize from the convesation that, after ribs and lining, ribcage was unattached from board and immediately traced unsuported. Flip the flat square board makes no sense to me.

I use molds. This is why I have the questions on unsupported ribcage. 

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