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Thickness interpretation on Strad poster


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I'm building my second violin and wanted to make a Stainer copy. My reference is the Jacobus Stainer Strad poster. I'm struggling a bit with the thickness measurements of front and back. On these figures with the thicknesses printed in it, am I looking at the outside or the inside of the instrument? My guess is the outside, because that's how they measured the thickness. But I'm not sure. And as front and back are never symmetrical, it does matter. Anybody knows how to read these figures?

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3 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

...Why would it matter if the caliper was on the inside or outside??

It wouldn't matter, but that's not what Ton asked.  Ton wants to know whether the map of graduations is shown looking at the insides of the plates or the outsides, because an inside view would be the mirror-image of the outside.

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10 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Normally they are seen from the outside, as can be understood in some posters where the position of a possible soundpost patch is indicated.

Thanks Davide, I'll use that. Funny thing is that when doing the thicknessing I have to mirror the measurements on the poster. Could be an imporvement for the Strad. But thanks!

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18 minutes ago, Ton Oosterhoff said:

Thanks Davide, I'll use that. Funny thing is that when doing the thicknessing I have to mirror the measurements on the poster. Could be an imporvement for the Strad. But thanks!

Keep in mind that copying the thicknesses exactly doesn't make much sense if you don't have wood with the exact same properties as that of the original, which is rather difficult to occur or simply to know. Additionally, poster thicknesses may include repairs such as soundpost patches, chest patches, other patches, etc.

But I don't know the Stainer poster you refer to.

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I am only interested in violin making, with no experience in real making up to now, but have this poster (Jacobus Stainer 1679 in its original baroque mounting). I observe an important asimetry in the thicknesses of the back, less clear in the belly. I wander if this is intentional, if are experiences and theories about this and, in this case, wich side should be the thinnest, thing not clear in the poster. I supose the thinnest should be the bass side but, as said, my knowledge is very limited. Thanks.

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I seem to remember that the Strad had to reissue this poster as there were some mistakes in the original version. You should probably check that you have the revised version before relying on any of the numbered measurements.

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1 hour ago, Josep Pampidó said:

important asimetry in the thicknesses of the back, less clear in the belly. I wander if this is intentional,

We will never know.  So many instruments from this era have been altered, their thicknesses reduced, etc.  

unless this was a considered a pristine example, you can’t read too much into the intention of design, and just treat it as is.   If the asymmetry is important to the sound, either Steiner or someone down the line who altered it would know.   But they can’t answer the question for us. 

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2 hours ago, Josep Pampidó said:

I am only interested in violin making, with no experience in real making up to now, but have this poster (Jacobus Stainer 1679 in its original baroque mounting). I observe an important asimetry in the thicknesses of the back, less clear in the belly. I wander if this is intentional, if are experiences and theories about this and, in this case, wich side should be the thinnest, thing not clear in the poster. I supose the thinnest should be the bass side but, as said, my knowledge is very limited. Thanks.

There are all sorts of theories for asymmetrical or symmetrical thicknesses, but if asymmetrical they have to be I think the most sensible thing is to have a greater thickness under the soundpost than on the opposite side. This may help you orient the thickness maps. Having said that, I confirm that some of The Strad posters contain errors, including those of having reported a thickness map of other instruments, although I don't know if that's the case with your poster.

Anyway, better investigate before copying weird things...:)

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The 1679 Stainer poster and it's accompanying article were done by Roger Hargrave. The quality is high especially for the period (pre CT scan posters). You should get the 1668 from the NMM in Vermilion as well. Both instruments survive in essentially original condition and are as a result an interesting time capsule. 

As Davide noted, you should not copy the thicknesses or even the arching slavishly. Study them thoroughly to make an educated guess at the guiding principles at play. 

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In the article published by Roger Hargrave with the poster of Stainer violin in The Strad he says that the thicknessing tables are taken from another's book and says: "From the thicknessing charts we can see that Stainer's, in common with most classical makers, was not as accurate as modern makers would try to be." with no reference to assymetry.

https://roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/Strad/Artikel_1987_09_Jacobus_Stainer_1697_PDF.pdf

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3 hours ago, Josep Pampidó said:

In the article published by Roger Hargrave with the poster of Stainer violin in The Strad he says that the thicknessing tables are taken from another's book and says: "From the thicknessing charts we can see that Stainer's, in common with most classical makers, was not as accurate as modern makers would try to be." with no reference to assymetry.

https://roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/Strad/Artikel_1987_09_Jacobus_Stainer_1697_PDF.pdf

Indeed. Which is why it's so instructive to compare it with the much more recent 1668 NMM Stainer technical drawing. It's evident that the overall graduation scheme is the same between the two. The asymmetry is almost certainly irrelevant and immaterial. 

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