(My first 5 posts I did on Facebook before deciding this was a better medium for this so don't mind the time delay). I have not posted in a few days because I have been working in short spurts, plus the weekends are usually spent completing customer repairs and such. Recently I prepared the two halves of the top for gluing. The top wood comes from the supplier as a quarter-sawn piece that has been partially sawn through to half it. This way it can be book matched (meaning the 2 halves of the same piece can be opened and put together like opening a book). The edges that will be glued together must be perfectly straight and square so that the edges meet precisely and there are no gaps in the joint. Once this is accomplished the halves can be glued.
This morning I leveled the blocks on some sandpaper I glued to a piece of MDF. As a Strad copy the violin will have a slight taper from the end block to the neck block which is why the blocks need to be leveled. I then traced the points on the corners and the curve of the end and neck blocks. The book says to carve the blocks bit by bit with a gouge, but I did a rough cut with the scroll saw and I will clean it up with the gouge, knife, and round sanding sticks. Using the sanding blocks, provided they are perfectly square, I can perfect the curves by sliding the squared edge along the flat work surface. I am feeling very good about the pace I'm setting. I am taking it slow and carefully thinking through each step before I proceed and everything has worked out really well so far. When the ribs come tomorrow afternoon I can begin planing them. I can also prepare the top and back while I'm waiting and cut out my lining strips. The rib bending iron should arrive toward the end of next week. My gouge is scheduled to come Wednesday. Thanks for reading!
I would like to chronicle the adventure of making my first violin. I have been considering making my own for some time but was inspired by a visit to a prominent violin maker's shop in New York City to begin in earnest. Along with years experience repairing and restoring violins and their relatives, I added to my library "The Art of Violin Making" by Chris Johnson and Roy Courtnall to further aid in my journey. This book goes into more detail about the finer points regarding violin making that other texts lack. So far I have spent about 6 hours making the mould and fitting the blocks. I chose MDF as the material to make the mould and am following plans for a Stradivari. It took the most time to cut out the outline of the mould as I went very slowly using the scroll saw so that I would have as little clean up as possible and so that I could use the outer cut off piece as a jig to hold the top and back in place while carving. Yesterday I received the wood I am to use including the back, top and purfling. They were supposed to send me sides as well but they forgot and are sending them along. I should have them by Friday. I already have a nice neck block and I will make my own linings out of spruce. I am waiting for some tools; namely a rib bending iron, finger planes, and a incannel gouge to carve the blocks into shape. I will try to post something after each session of violin creation and will try to keep up with photos as well. I couldn't get the photos to paste in the blog, but the links will take you there. The first is a picture of the mould with the square blocks glued in. The second is the mould with the blocks rough cut.
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