Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Violin Diary-3. "C" Ribs

I left off in the previous Violin Diary post with the blocks attached to the mould. In this post, which includes a video for the first time, I will explain how the corners are marked on the blocks, reduced and the "C" ribs are made. The result looks as follows.

With the blocks firmly in place on the mould, the next step is to trace the outline of the corners onto the blocks. This is done using small wooden stencils of the expected shape. The outline from the stencil simply needs to be drawn with pencil onto the blocks on both sides. This is fairly straightforward and basic. The only real trick is to ensure that the front and back are exactly aligned, which requires some attention.

Once the corner outlines are drawn onto the blocks, then using a spoon gouge, the outline of the "C" bout or inner curves need to be carved. This takes a bit of concentration, as the outcome should be perfectly perpendicular to the mould. This operation went fairly smoothly and I certainly got better as I progressed. Out of four corners, only one was slightly suspect and needed to be correctly fractionally.

The next step is usually to reduce the ribs to the right thickness. In this case, I still had some ribs left from my previous violin, so I decided to use these for the "c" bout ribs. First the ribs need to be cut to the approximate length. Next the ribs need to be bent to follow the contour of the mould.

Bending the ribs was a nightmare. This operation is done using a hot bending iron. Essentially, it heats the wood, making it pliable. The tricky part is to bend the rib to the exact contour of the C bout. This sounds fairly straight forward, and it really should be, but for the life of me, I couldn't seem to get it right. I persevered and probably attempted 15-20 times. By the end of the day, I hadn't yet fully succeeded, but got close. Unfortunately I was not able to fully complete the operation, so next time I will have to correct the ribs and then glue them on. Today was a great day though as we had a photo shoot of my first violin, I did some filming of me making a violin and I did most of the above operations with minimal supervision. A number of musicians also visited the gallery today. I got to hear snippets from violin works by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Brahms, Bach, Vivaldi, Ravel, Saint-Saens...what a wonderful day.
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