I'm taking photos on the way along, this time. The aim was to complete it by mid-August, but life intervened! I'm back in the workshop now and this violin is taking shape.
Each maker evolves her/his method of working, so this is by no means an attempt to say 'this is how it should be done', just a peek into my own working life. Click on pictures to enlarge them.
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Using a seleton mould and following a reliable Nicolas Lupot template, I have attached spruce blocks and will shape them to take the ribs.
|The first cuts with very sharp in-cannel gouge, and I'm relieved to find that the grain is true, making the fine carving of the blocks a simple task.||A wobbly left-handed close-up as I carve the corner block while holding the work against the edge of the long-suffering bench.||I have drawn the violin's 'internal outline' (?) onto graph paper as a guide to shaping the blocks and rib wood (maple, thinned to approx 1mm)|
|The C-ribs are steam-bent to fit , and when dry they are glued and clamped to the blocks. Using a skeleton mould makes this process SO much easier!||Upper and lower ribs now in place. Bending to fit the pencil line is not so hard as it may seem, but you will see 4 helpful guide screws in the C bouts.||Linings (2mm spruce) are set into the blocks (one side is already glued and clamped) and will form the 'glueing platform' when assembling the violin.||The finished rib set, which will remain on the mould in the meantime and become the template for cutting the violin top (spruce) and back (maple)|
|Top plate,centre joined and planed flat. A line is scribed round the ribs, then a second line drawn using a small washer for (approx) 2mm overhang.||I use a coping saw for this - the aim is to cut as closely as possible to the outer pencil line, but to leave plenty of spare at the corners!||I've carved the edge height down to 6mm and done some rough arching - this is a fine piece of spruce and the violin will sound good (it does already!)||The edge must be perfectly square, and you will see the 4mm height line already marked (C-bouts and corner area 4.5mm) Cue more carving.|
|I have shaped the corners and cut the first purfling channel (this instrument will have double purfling, just because). To be continued....||This shows the 2nd row in progress, corners and Cs glued in and the scarf joins looking a bit random. Having tried the one-piece method I prefer this way, it gives a little wiggle-room -||and enables me to focus on the mitres. I will now put the top plate to one side and bring the back to a similar stage before working on the fine arching of both.||First, make a perfect centre join, good enough to last a few hundred years. Easier said than done, but a very sharp plane blade is essential, and a steady nerve when glueing.|
This set of photos is big enough, I think. More very soon, in my next article. It feels very good to be making progress again!