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Greetings all:  One of the experts in the Pegbox forum suggested that I as a newbie should post pics of my work as I go along.  This is my first violin after a hiatus of 25 years; I had made 7 violins long ago, most of them fractional size instruments as my children were growing up.  So, I am learning again, now with the benefit of MN, of which I try to research old threads at every step.  This posting is a little late in my work on a violin, as you will see.  I am about at the point of carving the button.  I will incorporate any suggestions you have, either on this violin or on my next one if it is too late for this one.  The pics are from my cell phone, cropped and degraded so as to not use too much memory.  

For my own assessment:  1) I don't like the general outline; the c bouts are too rounded and the upper to lower ration feels off.  So, I will be creating a new mold for the next one.  Do you have suggestions for a mold pattern?   2.  The front purfling is bad, especially at the points.  I did better on the back, using Roger Hargrave's method of gluing them in.  There are still tiny irregularities in the black lines; not sure how to avoid that; the purfling I used was commercial, wood, not fiber. I really tried to keep the walls smooth and perpendicular when cutting the channel.  I wonder of I should glue-size the channel before final fitting.  Any suggestions?  3.  My alignment pin holes are a bit too large.  

I look forward to criticisms from the expert eyes of MN...thanks in advance!  --Jay Higgs

Violin Front.jpg

side view2.jpg

Back view.jpg

FHoleBadPurfling.jpg

BackCbout.jpg

scroll top view.jpg

ScrollThroat.jpg

Scroll2.jpg

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It is addictive, isn't it? I think that the scroll looks quite nice. I put a lot more fluting in the front, and under toward the pegbox, but I don't know if everyone does that or not; I just follow pictures if I can find them!  You could thin the top of the pegbox walls so they don't look so thick. But maybe the model you are using is like that.

Your overhangs look pretty even. I've sometimes roughed the outside outline too small, and have had irregular overhangs just trying to move the ribs around so they fit! 

The f hole looks nice. I sometimes get the tabs? too thin. Are they on the same angle? It's hard to tell. But not many old Italians are really symmetrical.

I once used a 1/8 drill  for the pin holes by mistake. Oh well. 

The recurve area is where I spend most of my time. That is the hardest part to get looking good. The transition areas. Look at the arching to see where it changes from convex to concave. Look for the low point. Watch where the confines transition into the channel. I'm not a real detail person. I see the big picture; so do my eyes!  So details with a magnifier are an absolute must for me. 

What are you using for your plan? A poster? A photo? I use both, most like posters. Some even have a real instrument to look at. I'd go with a poster. Use a design that you like If you like the look of del Gesu, go with one of his. The Veuixtemps, and the Plowden are good posters with lots of info. Most of the new ones are like that. If you like Strads, go for one of his. If you like the design, you will like making it. You can use the mold outlines given by Addie in the pinned section at the top of Pegbox. I don't think you could go wrong with those for a mold. 

Purfling? I can't tell you anything about that!

I think you've done a very decent job. You know what you'd like to change. My hardest part is still purfling, and then not wrecking it with varnish. 

The best thing I can suggest is to look at it all the time from different angles, and at different times. Do some work, set it down. Pick it up later, and look at it with fresh eyes. Do that over and over.

 

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1 hour ago, Ken_N said:

What are you using for your plan? A poster? A photo? I use both, most like posters. Some even have a real instrument to look at. I'd go with a poster. Use a design that you like If you like the look of del Gesu, go with one of his. The Veuixtemps, and the Plowden are good posters with lots of info. Most of the new ones are like that. If you like Strads, go for one of his. If you like the design, you will like making it. You can use the mold outlines given by Addie in the pinned section at the top of Pegbox. I don't think you could go wrong with those for a mold.

 

Thanks, Ken, I will checkout Addie's post.  This violin is from a left over mold I made years ago, probably from a drawing in Wake's book.  I will take your tip and work on the pegbox cheeks a bit.  

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  • 1 month later...

OK. You got the basics

Here I have a small exercise for you, which I think is more helpful than me pointing out what is wrong.

For the visual aspect of any instrument there is 'style', 'definition', and 'balance'.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a jury member of a competition and additionally try to separate those three things when looking at your instrument.

Now lets start with the easiest. Balance. You simply try to find things which are exaggerated or somehow disturbing to the eye. This applies to the macro view as well as to to the micro view. Don't try to measure dimensions. You need to get the eye training to find out at one glimpse what is wrong. If you learned it you will be able to apply it while working and hey, I promise you, you will make progress. So ask yourself where are things out of balance and maybe you know also the reasons for it. Write it down for yourself and check back to your notes at the next instrument. 

Definition is somehow how clear your message is to the viewer. And even if an instrument is getting worn over the years, you still can see its definition, how clear it looks like and how the flow of lines is set together. Studiying old instruments in good condition always can give you good ideas about this. So ask yourself where your instrument looks blurred where the flow of lines seems to be without direction. 

Style is the most difficult aspect. I don't expect any instrument bearing the number 1 to have style, nevertheless, it is worth to think about it from the very beginning. Style is to me like a handwriting showing the personality of a maker. You see it and know who has made the instrument. It is something which evolves from repetitive practice in keeping balance and definition. And just in my personal opinion, this doesn't have anything to do with machine like perfection, in contrary its more about expressiveness. 

Anybody working for me has to do eye training. And I for this I always demand my employees to take a piece of paper and draw freehand f-holes, scrolls, corners and eventually the whole outline. And you can do this for things you put into your critique. Try to make the drawing how it should look like next time. Every morning 10 minutes is enough. If a violin maker doesn't get the lines into his/her eyes, it is useless to make the same thing with a knife. 

Go back to work now!

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I think that Andrea's advice is very good. The best I've ever heard. Micro and macro; definition and style. I think learning to look with a critical eye is important. Not to dislike, and hate everything; but to not gloss everything over.

I've found that I see some things more clearly in photos!  My eyes want to fix and complete things in person? I do find that I notice little details more on the cello that I'm making than anything else that I've made. I have macro eyes, details are the hardest. I found that I can feel problems with my fingers easier than I can see them.

You have to learn what works for you. I think style is being able to put your stamp on it. Some, like Jezzupe, have style down. Their work exudes style. How you combine style and tradition is up to the maker. Can you work in different styles? Does Van Gogh always look.like Van Gogh? Del Gesu like del Gesu? 

Looking at your work at different times, angles, lighting, all help.

Most of all, enjoy what you're doing!

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3 hours ago, Ken_N said:

I've found that I see some things more clearly in photos! 

This has to do with the fact, that a camera has only one eye  and this takes out the 3D effect you get with your own eyes. 
 

This reminds me actually of one simple trick I forgot to talk about. When copying instruments I often close one eye to see the lines better in a 2D view. But this helps also to sometimes judge the flow of lines. 
 

Another thing I d like to add here is, when looking on photos of classic Cremonese instruments it is IMO important to be able to spot the ‘accents’ in the lines, on the outline in particular. Secondly it is IMO important to get an idea of the initial intent. Compare for example the front view of an Niccolò Amati scroll and the front view of a Antonio Stradivari scroll and ask yourself what was the idea behind it. (You might get surprised, at least I did some time ago)

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Hi Jay, congratulations on the violin!

The two things that jump out to me, are how the top pegbox line resolves in the scroll throat (probably too closed up), and some flat spots on the ff holes.

Something that really helps for the scroll throat, are these little templates like in the picture.  It can be clamped in after the first turn is done, and you get a nice reference.  I like to use these little mini rasps in there.

IMG_20211118_102420.thumb.jpg.1c9b678360fa376d28ccc11bf2129899.jpg

 

And with the ff-hole flat spots, I think it helps to see irregularities by looking down the ff-hole, like you're checking a 2x4 for warp: Then it's pretty easy to see the part of the line to adjust.  I like to use a combination of a stout single bevel knife, and a fresh x-acto blade there.

IMG_20211118_102656.thumb.jpg.c4de66bf1f80dc07147f49bc0defe9e0.jpg

 

Good luck with the varnish & set up!  If you're ever in the greater Albuquerque area drop me a line and come by the shop.

~Matt

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On 11/17/2021 at 9:43 AM, jezzupe said:

 

I think it looks great, I'm not sure what criticisms Andreas has, but for the first after a 25 year break I think it looks very good

Thanks, Jezzupe!

On 11/17/2021 at 11:31 AM, Ken_N said:

I think that Andrea's advice is very good. The best I've ever heard. Micro and macro; definition and style. I think learning to look with a critical eye is important. Not to dislike, and hate everything; but to not gloss everything over.

I've found that I see some things more clearly in photos!  My eyes want to fix and complete things in person? I do find that I notice little details more on the cello that I'm making than anything else that I've made. I have macro eyes, details are the hardest. I found that I can feel problems with my fingers easier than I can see them.

You have to learn what works for you. I think style is being able to put your stamp on it. Some, like Jezzupe, have style down. Their work exudes style. How you combine style and tradition is up to the maker. Can you work in different styles? Does Van Gogh always look.like Van Gogh? Del Gesu like del Gesu? 

Looking at your work at different times, angles, lighting, all help.

Most of all, enjoy what you're doing!

On 11/17/2021 at 3:27 PM, Andreas Preuss said:

This has to do with the fact, that a camera has only one eye  and this takes out the 3D effect you get with your own eyes. 
 

This reminds me actually of one simple trick I forgot to talk about. When copying instruments I often close one eye to see the lines better in a 2D view. But this helps also to sometimes judge the flow of lines. 
 

Another thing I d like to add here is, when looking on photos of classic Cremonese instruments it is IMO important to be able to spot the ‘accents’ in the lines, on the outline in particular. Secondly it is IMO important to get an idea of the initial intent. Compare for example the front view of an Niccolò Amati scroll and the front view of a Antonio Stradivari scroll and ask yourself what was the idea behind it. (You might get surprised, at least I did some time ago)

 

Ken:  I will, and I do  :-)

Andreas, thanks again.  

Matthew:  good tips.  I still have time to (carefully) fix the F holes, and I will pay better attention to the throat next time.  

On 11/18/2021 at 11:46 AM, Matthew Hannafin said:

Hi Jay, congratulations on the violin!

The two things that jump out to me, are how the top pegbox line resolves in the scroll throat (probably too closed up), and some flat spots on the ff holes.

Something that really helps for the scroll throat, are these little templates like in the picture.  It can be clamped in after the first turn is done, and you get a nice reference.  I like to use these little mini rasps in there.

IMG_20211118_102420.thumb.jpg.1c9b678360fa376d28ccc11bf2129899.jpg

 

And with the ff-hole flat spots, I think it helps to see irregularities by looking down the ff-hole, like you're checking a 2x4 for warp: Then it's pretty easy to see the part of the line to adjust.  I like to use a combination of a stout single bevel knife, and a fresh x-acto blade there.

IMG_20211118_102656.thumb.jpg.c4de66bf1f80dc07147f49bc0defe9e0.jpg

 

Good luck with the varnish & set up!  If you're ever in the greater Albuquerque area drop me a line and come by the shop.

~Matt

 

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On 11/21/2021 at 11:55 AM, Matthew Hannafin said:

Hi Mike, I just bought a cheap set on ebay.  They're still out there for around five bucks for the set.

Hello again, Matt:  

I decided your good suggestions for my scroll could be done by taking a bit more wood away, so I did that.  At the same time, I was unhappy with my chamfer and modified that as well. I took only a few cell walls off of my F holes so far and will give them another look just before the UV box.  Thanks again.  

IMG_4597.jpg

IMG_4598.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Here is the finished instrument.  I posted my experience with the Old Wood varnish system in the Pegbox.  Photographing the instrument was as hard as making it!  Especially the numerous curves in the top gave horrible reflections, and then with adequate tangential lighting it looks artificially blotchy like a child fingerpainted it.  For the back, I supply a pic with direct light and a major reflection, but this is to show how the surface actually looks.  The side view is also a reasonable reproduction of the varnish.  The only post production processing was exposure, clarity, cropping, and blocking out the support system.  

Thanks to all of you who post on MN for mentoring me as I relearn how to make a violin.  

Pics:

1.  front, diffusion lighting

2.  Front, tangential lighting

3.  Back, tangential lighting

4.  Back, direct lighting

5.  Side

6 and 7, scroll detail.  

1547603589_Frontdiffusertent.thumb.jpg.26f70e03c47f42cf74716602ff5bed61.jpg1446116425_Fronttangentiallight.thumb.jpg.defce0bf87082dc6d0705e282f6eb871.jpg1534211956_Backtangentiallight.thumb.jpg.5389f285fda6f7623bacdab5cd8a9999.jpg23863290_Backdirectlight.thumb.jpg.18213ac7b8069686d4367dd968ad46d2.jpg1255670168_sideview.thumb.jpg.d2a1d42aa09377455b221fbf3b1622ab.jpgScroll.thumb.jpg.9fc62cf91356b43fbcc9920baaa68dbc.jpg1455012816_scrollback.thumb.jpg.40dabb335a033e63f5cac097a0e3292d.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

This is a very minor method of work post.  I needed to boost the pressure of my clothespine lining clamps a bit.  I thought of the recommended rubber hand technique, but instead employed plumbers' O-rings.   They worked so well I thought I should post it, however of minimal significance.  #8 O-Ring was a tight fit and gave significant pressure, and #9 was a bit less.  Both can be found at plumbing supply or big box stores.  They can be combined to get just the desired pressure.  

image.jpeg

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