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Device to fit bridges


Carl Stross
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18 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

 when I was a kid I put together one of the "scooty things" out of legos.  

Your comment reminds me of the day some 40 years ago that I had to make the decision:  girls or keep playing with legos.  It was a difficult decision.

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On 1/9/2022 at 5:13 AM, Carl Stross said:

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 ? 

I'd say his system was what most experienced workers would say; pick good materials and use the common sense that comes from having that experience, if you want to call that a system.   I don’t recollect him, or anyone in the shop for that matter, cutting more than one bridge for a specific instrument during a single visit.  He did occasionally ask one of us to cut a bridge with various attributes such as larger kidneys, higher or lower heart etc., and that request would have come from knowledge of the instruments sound and what he hoped to accomplish.   For a special instrument he might say “pick a nice bridge” or might hand us an older bridge blank to use, or he might flex the bridge slightly between his fingers and choose one over the other.  Experience in this field goes a long way, and Rene had quite a lot.  

 

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6 hours ago, uncle duke said:

Your comment reminds me of the day some 40 years ago that I had to make the decision:  girls or keep playing with legos.  It was a difficult decision.

Did you perhaps ever notice anything of interest at the intersection of the "legos"? ;)

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1 hour ago, Philip Perret said:

I'd say his system was what most experienced workers would say; pick good materials and use the common sense that comes from having that experience, if you want to call that a system.   I don’t recollect him, or anyone in the shop for that matter, cutting more than one bridge for a specific instrument during a single visit.  He did occasionally ask one of us to cut a bridge with various attributes such as larger kidneys, higher or lower heart etc., and that request would have come from knowledge of the instruments sound and what he hoped to accomplish.   For a special instrument he might say “pick a nice bridge” or might hand us an older bridge blank to use, or he might flex the bridge slightly between his fingers and choose one over the other.  Experience in this field goes a long way, and Rene had quite a lot.  

 

Thank you very much.

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14 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

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

It looks quite reasonable and well thought-out to me. Would need to try it to say more.

One thing I will question are the instructions to hold the bridge in one place, and pull the carbon paper from one side to make the mark on the bridge feet. Seems like pulling the carbon paper, thus putting it in tension would bridge the low points on the top, rather than marking the feet in such a way to best fit into them.

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15 hours ago, Mat Roop said:

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

I have this device and I think it works well!

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8 hours ago, David Burgess said:

It looks quite reasonable and well thought-out to me. Would need to try it to say more.

One thing I will question are the instructions to hold the bridge in one place, and pull the carbon paper from one side to make the mark on the bridge feet. Seems like pulling the carbon paper, thus putting it in tension would bridge the low points on the top, rather than marking the feet in such a way to best fit into them.

Thanks David... what tends to happen is that where the bridge pinches the  carbon paper against the top, the carbon transfer is darker than where it is transferred by tension only. Like any tool, it takes some practice to get it to work to ones own style and need. 

Thanks Fjodor for your affirmation!

Cheers!... Mat

 

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Has anybody tried using metal filled epoxy putty to get a perfect bridge fitting.

I envision coating the top with a little paste wax at the bridge to prevent the epoxy from bonding to the top.  Tiny balls of epoxy putty would be stuck onto the bridge feet and with the bridge in proper position the string tension would be brought up to normal pitch which would squish out the epoxy putty to form a thin perfect no gap fit at full string tension.

After the epoxy has cured the bridge would be removed and any excess squished out putty would be trimmed off of the bridge feet.

Don't forget the paste wax.

 

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On 1/12/2022 at 6:32 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Tiny balls of epoxy putty would be stuck onto the bridge feet and with the bridge in proper position the string tension would be brought up to normal pitch which would squish out the epoxy putty to form a thin perfect no gap fit at full string tension.

It might be tough to tell if the bridge is in exactly the right position, with epoxy squished out the sides

Maybe it could be loosely clamped to a device like Mat's to make sure it goes in exactly the right position, and stays there until the epoxy sets up?

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33 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

It might be tough to tell if the bridge is in exactly the right position, with epoxy squished out the sides

Maybe it could be loosely clamped to a device like Mat's to keep it in the right position?

I have a viola player friend (very very best schooling) who has some sort of mental problem (goes with viola playing? ) where he continuously messes with  the sound post post positions, finger boards, bridges, and so on.  Nothing is exactly right!  He moves is bridge around so much that he has worn a deep depression in the top plate of his century old famous Italian viola.

I'm not at therapist but I would like to help him.  

 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

That's a tough one. Maybe you could cuff his hands behind his back, and he could yodel the viola part?

The critics would probably love it.  "A major triumph of art", and all that..........  :lol:

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On 1/12/2022 at 6:32 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Has anybody tried using metal filled epoxy putty to get a perfect bridge fitting.

I envision coating the top with a little paste wax at the bridge to prevent the epoxy from bonding to the top.  Tiny balls of epoxy putty would be stuck onto the bridge feet and with the bridge in proper position the string tension would be brought up to normal pitch which would squish out the epoxy putty to form a thin perfect no gap fit at full string tension.

After the epoxy has cured the bridge would be removed and any excess squished out putty would be trimmed off of the bridge feet.

Don't forget the paste wax.

 

Do you think the epoxy "perfect" fit would make a sufficiently significant tonal improvement?  

Would the epoxy itself have a tonal effect?

Also, what happens when the perfect fit is compromised by the slightest shift of the bridge once it is in use and handled and played?

Maybe a less than absolute perfect fit might be preferable in the long run?

 

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A perfect fit on an older instrument, including every little divot and irregularity, might make it difficult to knock the feet sideways a bit... something I like to  do before removing string tension, to release any adhesion which has formed between the bridge and the varnish. Without this, some varnish can be pulled up when removing the bridge, sometimes with bits of wood from the top attached.

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On 1/9/2022 at 9:41 PM, bkwood said:

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

I am harsh. No apologies for that. I live and feed my family by working  with the highest level players and instruments. There is no room for excuse in my work and I translate that to others. . You can take that in any context you like. 

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