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Device to fit bridges


Carl Stross
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40 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

I'm just a tinkerer. For my very limited needs I use a Dremel and a small rasp as my hands are not stable enough to use a knife.  Otherwise, I am sure you are absolutely right. I think we should be open minded and not overly dismissive of different approaches.  Often, excellent results can be achieved through quite different methods.

True.

But the pictured method can’t work on an old instrument where the surface of the top has sunken in under the bridge feet. Slight ‘deformations’ already happen when the bridge feet sink into the varnish of a new instrument (after one year or so.) So as I said, this works only approximately well on brand new instruments. 

I am not against new and better methods, but the sandpaper method is simply not precise enough.. I bet that a sandpaper fitted bridge will always show tiny gaps somewhere under the feet. Neither it will have the ‘snap’ feeling if you move it at the top  back and forth but rather give the feeling of ‘rolling’ on the surface.

You are working with a Dremel and a small rasp? Good if it works for you.

————

I have a bridge with Rene Morels stamp which must have been made by him.  There are no traces of sandpaper under the feet. And I have worked for him long enough to know his sharp-knife work ethics.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Indeed, I too discovered it is used quite a bit. Here I found a video with the ( hopefully ) accepted procedure :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQiuKpLZEF4

I am not arguing the superiority of the "accepted" procedure. I'm simply saying that the "scooty-thing" might be useful in certain situations.

Good video.  Could use some explanatory voice over, or subtitles, IMHO, but he does it mostly right.   When he used the razor saw with the strings in place made me cringe, though.  :huh:

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2 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I understand the need for haste with mass rentals, but I think i'll just not look. I'll feel better.

You should have seen the 1/4 size bridges on the rentals of Marc Rosenstiel. OMG! So precisely cut AND an ivory e string protection inserted into the top edge (like B&F bridges).

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Just now, Andreas Preuss said:

You should have seen the 1/4 size bridges on the rentals of Marc Rosenstiel. OMG! So precisely cut AND an ivory e string protection inserted into the top edge (like B&F bridges).

Now those I'd look at! Sounds like good art!  :) 

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39 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Good video.  Could use some explanatory voice over, or subtitles, IMHO, but he does it mostly right.   When he used the razor saw with the strings in place made me cringe, though.  :huh:

Couldn't find one with some voice over. If you happen to, please post it here. BTW there was a nice one one shaping a fingerboard. I'll try find it.

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43 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I have a bridge with Rene Morels stamp which must have been made by him.  There are no traces of sandpaper under the feet. And I have worked for him long enough to know his sharp-knife work ethics.

I was actually curious as to his particular/peculiar techniques given his reputation. But I can not find anybody who actually saw him cutting bridges. Not that is anything strange with that as he surely had many more important tasks to attend to.

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1 hour ago, Carl Stross said:

Indeed, I too discovered it is used quite a bit. Here I found a video with the ( hopefully ) accepted procedure :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQiuKpLZEF4

I am not arguing the superiority of the "accepted" procedure. I'm simply saying that the "scooty-thing" might be useful in certain situations.

What is he using for "chalking" the feet in the video?

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27 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

I was actually curious as to his particular/peculiar techniques given his reputation. But I can not find anybody who actually saw him cutting bridges. Not that is anything strange with that as he surely had many more important tasks to attend to.

Depends on to which working period you are referring to. If you really want to know, I’d ask Hans Nebel who was with Rene morel in the Wurlirzer shop. 
 

i suppose he made bridges in the first years when he became partner of Jacques Francais.

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19 minutes ago, bkwood said:

What is he using for "chalking" the feet in the video?

You can use all sorts of things to check how the feet really fit. 
 

Chalk, soft graphite pencil, China marker pen, and I heard that some makers are using women’s lipstick. 

The best method is without anything. Yes, that’s possible and I have done this in the workshop in Budapest. It is just unfortunately not very time efficient. Results are however very nice. Bridges look like sucked in the surface and must stand straight in the fitting process. 

 

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58 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

I was actually curious as to his particular/peculiar techniques given his reputation. But I can not find anybody who actually saw him cutting bridges. Not that is anything strange with that as he surely had many more important tasks to attend to.

I sat directly next to Rene from '82-88, and yes, "actually saw him cutting bridges".   There was nothing particular or peculiar to his method.  A sharp knife and eye, and steady hands.  Any other question?

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5 hours ago, GerardM said:

Duke is that your own personal quote? 

I wish I was that good .......... the one that helps the most is "a pessimist has no starter, an optimist has no brakes".

The best I can do for the time being after reading through a topic like this is this "if your roof leaks you gotta fix it".

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9 hours ago, Philip Perret said:

I sat directly next to Rene from '82-88, and yes, "actually saw him cutting bridges".   There was nothing particular or peculiar to his method.  A sharp knife and eye, and steady hands.  Any other question?

Thank you very, VERY much !!!  Now, that you invited me :

Did he have any system for tonally matching a bridge to a particular violin ? Could you give us one or two simple examples ? I am curious how this process was happening. For example, did he cut more than one bridge ? Different "flavors" of wood/age/treatment etc ? How was the cutting/fitting of the bridge related to ( anticipating ) his intended sound post position ? 

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I appreciate the sensibility of using a knife for cutting feet - for the sharpness of the work.  But the top deforms under string load.  It seems like any fitting precision would go out the window at that point.  Could sandpaper - which results in a larger radius of curvature - actually be more accurate under string load?

Asking as a question, not expressing an opinion.  Maybe my question belies some ignorance about the process.

Myself, I use sandpaper to get in the neighborhood, then finish with a knife.

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22 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

I appreciate the sensibility of using a knife for cutting feet - for the sharpness of the work.  But the top deforms under string load.  It seems like any fitting precision would go out the window at that point.  Could sandpaper - which results in a larger radius of curvature - actually be more accurate under string load?

Asking as a question, not expressing an opinion.  Maybe my question belies some ignorance about the process.

Myself, I use sandpaper to get in the neighborhood, then finish with a knife.

Definitely not - you can actually hear now some brakes screeching. :)  :)  :)  

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23 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

Cutting the feet with a knife might be the superior and correct method provided one has the skill. With insufficient skill it is surely worse than sandpaper. 

Sure, there are some approaches to violin making and restoration where "here, hold my beer" is all that is needed to produce a following.  ;)

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55 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Sure, there are some approaches to violin making and restoration where "here, hold my beer" is all that is needed to produce a following.  ;)

That beer is going to get cold while one uses the "scooty-thing" - it's not that quick, takes a while.  But sound post adjustment, that's a different story - couple of seconds....   ;) .

And it'll produce a following if one has a Spanish accent.

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Old valuable violins often have very sunken and odd shaped places to fit the feet and very delicate surrounding varnish. Bridge fitting can only be done to the highest standards of conservation by eye and with a knife and not using any aids like carbon or chalk to aid the fit to avoid spoiling the artifact being worked on . Often one bridge foot needs to be a bit longer in the leg to compensate for arching deformations. It's not easy but pretty straight forward to do if you know what you are doing......It's all very simple to talk about if you don't know what you are talking about or want to sound like the wisest expert in the pub

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22 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Old valuable violins often have very sunken and odd shaped places to fit the feet and very delicate surrounding varnish. Bridge fitting can only be done to the highest standards of conservation by eye and with a knife and not using any aids like carbon or chalk to aid the fit to avoid spoiling the artifact being worked on . Often one bridge foot needs to be a bit longer in the leg to compensate for arching deformations. It's not easy but pretty straight forward to do if you know what you are doing......It's all very simple to talk about if you don't know what you are talking about or want to sound like the wisest expert in the pub

Excellent point which can't be repeated enough - thank you !

But here we are talking cheap violins in a context where a properly qualified luthier is not available. That's a huge number of violins. They are neither old nor valuable and usually the teacher is responsible for keeping them functional. 

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From mandolin maker's perspective.... I use sandpaper for fitting mandolin bridges. Especially in initial phases and later fine grit that acts mostly as marking tool instead of chalk when I remove wood with scraper only. The mandolin bridge with something like 12cmx1cm contact surface of ebony would be bear to fit with just knife and chalk. And given the simpler arch of mandolin only rarely with spot deformations there is no reason not to do it that way.

The tiny area of violin bridge feet and often scarred surface of top under feet just ask for simple hand fitting with knife. On new factory fiddless with bulletproof fiinishes I see no problem using such device but in those simple cases good luthier would probably be finished with the knife and eye before you set up the bridge in the device for correct angle.

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33 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Excellent point which can't be repeated enough - thank you !

But here we are talking cheap violins in a context where a properly qualified luthier is not available. That's a huge number of violins. They are neither old nor valuable and usually the teacher is responsible for keeping them functional. 

Fitting stuff is not the preserve of high end violin makers....Craftsmen do this every day in their job, builders, tilers, cabinet makers, carpet fitters, mechanics...I just had a very good joiner fit a new door and door frame on my old house with irregular door shape...Fortunately he didn't have to rub the door on sandpaper to fit...he simply looked at the fit and removed wood until it fit perfectly...You can either do it or you can't...if you have to think about it too much you can't

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26 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

...You can either do it or you can't...if you have to think about it too much you can't

Too harsh. People can learn. Besides general BSing that's what most of us come here for.

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9 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Old valuable violins often have very sunken and odd shaped places to fit the feet and very delicate surrounding varnish. Bridge fitting can only be done to the highest standards of conservation by eye and with a knife and not using any aids like carbon or chalk to aid the fit to avoid spoiling the artifact being worked on . Often one bridge foot needs to be a bit longer in the leg to compensate for arching deformations. It's not easy but pretty straight forward to do if you know what you are doing......It's all very simple to talk about if you don't know what you are talking about or want to sound like the wisest expert in the pub

Actually carbon paper is safe to use with antique violins. No residue on the varnish.

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My issue has always been that holding the bridge at the ABSOLUTE EXACT tilt as well as  placement side to side and front to back ( simultaneously) after every cut was very time consuming and with my less than "surgeon steady" hands I was never "dead on" in all respects. 

A a solution I developed this device that tends to avoid the problems of the roller jig....and my aging eyes and hands.

  https://www.violins.ca/info/violin_bridge_fitting_tool.html

Looking for honest critical comments ... in the quest for perfection ..:huh: 

Thanks... Mat

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