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Second Violin using Beech
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ewagner
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April 2, 2012 - 1:35 am
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I thought that I would introduce myself finally after visiting this site so many times since around October of 2011. I am Emilio and am 31 years old and like in Bakersfield, CA. I should have probably introduced myself in the other thread. Sorry about that. Thanks to Fiddlerman's review of the Cecilio CVN 200 I thought that I would go ahead and try out the violin as I have thought about it many times throughout my life.  I started practicing using this site and some books as guides. After being able to play twinkle little star I found it very hard to put down the violin. I have been practicing every week night and some weekends for about 40 - 60min. In two months I bought a Gliga GEMS 2. The sound of the Gliga was so much nicer than the Cecilio as my wife quickly pointed out.  I have always liked to work with wood, as I grew up the son of a contractor/ carpenter. After watching a youtube video of a Gliga being made I got the idea of building a violin. I had some tools but needed a lot more. So I started purchasing them and trying out some samples. I started out with some Hem fir and carved out a neck and a top. It was difficult to carve since the wood was so soft but all in all they came out fine and thought that I was ready to purchase some tone wood. I bought a set at grandpas workshop in Canada. I went a little too quick with the first violin and made some mistakes. I have it hanging in my office at work and although I know every mistake and can see every flaw all i get are compliments. The pictures below are of my first violin.

"WP_000099.jpg""WP_000100.jpg""WP_000126.jpg"

The finished picture is not the best it is a little dark. The finish did not come out as well as I would like. No one has made the comment about the pegs which was one of my mistakes that I realized as soon as I reamed the first hole. The sound of the violin was very weak I but I was happy that it resembled the sound of of a violin at least.

 

I finished my first violin on December 28th and have been looking forward to building the next one. The cost of the tone wood is a little expensive so I have decided to use some beech wood that my dad had left over in his shop. I like the look of the grain and thought that it would look very nice with a lighter finish. I will use the beech for the for the back and sides and use a block of quarter sawn maple for the neck and European spruce for the top. The top, willow linings and spruce blocks are on their way.  Below are a few photos of my progress so far on the sides and back. 

 

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Planing the sides with block planes to a 1/16".

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I made a new mold for this violin since the first one was a little rough.

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Removing some gouge marks with mini planes and trying to get the curves to match my templates just right.

As I progress I will upload more photos. I usually only work on it during the weekend so I will post new photos each weekend.

I want to say that I am very grateful for Fiddlerman.com for bring a great community of people together and providing me with the inspiration to start a hobby that I have become very passionate about.

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ewagner
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April 2, 2012 - 2:23 am
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sorry not sure if  the photo worked or not hopefully they will work now

First violin

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new violin

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cdennyb
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April 2, 2012 - 3:16 am
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WOW, a craftsman of fine wood working. AWESOME!1st-place

I think I'm going to really enjoy following your posts on here.

There's an on-going post thread here...

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....-2/#p17770

You might find some of my latest postings with references to plate tuning and using sound analysis to your benefit in producing an instrument of high quality sound production.

Although I feel quite capable of the skill-set hands on required to make one, I feel my working knowledge of the internal physics and requirements to make a great violin are somewhat lacking. I'm learning quickly as to what needs to be done to make a certain sound and perhaps in a year or so of this learning stuff, I'll try my hands at making one myself.

You seem to have it well underway...nice work. hopefully nice sound, after all, a violin is more of a musical instrument than a 3-D painting huh? Looks aren't everything, the sound is.thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Fiddlestix
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April 2, 2012 - 7:29 am
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Looks like a fine piece of workmanship. She's a beauty all right, what does it sound like being played ?dunno

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eoj02
mooresvill, in
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April 2, 2012 - 7:45 am
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wow, that was your first????  looks far better than mine.  could you post a vid of you playin it so we could hear it?

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Mad_Wed
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April 2, 2012 - 7:52 am
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Hi, ewagner! Thank You for this story. I like this violin. Looks very nice, though You say that it sounds nort really good, but this is a start! I believe, your next violin will be great! I hope to see it either =) Welcome to the forum! coffee

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 2, 2012 - 8:02 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Hey ewagner,

Happy to have you here and with an official introduction too.
Your work looks amazing. I wish I could do that as well.

Sorry if I stirred you in the wrong direction with the CVN200 but instruments in this price range can be very inconsistent.
My personal belief is that you can do a lot by making sure that the sound-post has the right length, position, and contact points perfect on both the bottom and top. Sound-post thickness and density play an important role too. The bridge should have less wood in them than they have when you get them as well. Same thing with density...
The cheap steel strings do not do the instruments justice either.
All this being said I still think it is a great instrument for the money and I have played on a few that are outstanding.
Have you tried making any adjustments to the CVN 200 and your first hand made instrument?

Keep in mind that violins sound better after they have been played on for a while. Some say they open up most after 3 months of intense playing. I think they continue to grow for years but the biggest difference is in the first months.

Hopefully you will keep us posted on your first violin and the new one you will be building. I for one love posts about violin making.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ewagner
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April 2, 2012 - 9:09 am
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Sorry i did not mean for it to sound like you stirrred me in the wrong direction. It was one of the best purchases i have ever made and brought me very much joy when i began to make progress quickly. I just knew that after two month of playing that this is something i would continue to practice. It was one of my goals to take your suggestions of how to improve the sound of the Cecilio but had a desire to buy a higher quality instrument although my quality of playing was not up to par. But i think i will give it a try and try and fine tune both the Cecilio and my first made violin once i am done with building this second violin. It will give me some something to work one while I wait to build my third.
Thank you everyone for your kind words this is one reason i like this forum so much. May be once I build up some courage i will post a video of both violins.

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ewagner
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April 4, 2012 - 1:05 am
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I finished shaping the back plate and have marked the thickness zones for the inside of the back plate. I also started drilling to the proper thickness for the center two zones.

Below I included a photo of a custom gauge I made.  Due to the flex in the wood i have noticed only a deflection of roughly . 01mm at a thickness of 4.5mm so i should be able to get accurate results when determining thicknesses.

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NoirVelours
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April 4, 2012 - 11:00 am
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I admire your skills! Can't wait to hear your violins, it's a beautiful hobby your find there!

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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cdennyb
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I'm curious whos graduation thickness reference are you going to use? Strads have a different graduation profile than an original Amati, Maggini, Guarnieri del Gesu.

And... what final weights are you attempting to hit using this different wood which is not the same density as spruce?

 

Here's a couple of Strads from the 1600's and their graduation maps in case you're curious...

http://www.fiddleheadstrings.c.....06_008.htm

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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ewagner
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April 5, 2012 - 1:01 am
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 Thank you cdennyb for the graduation maps those seem to be fairly similar to what i am using. I am following a book called Violin Making 2nd edition by Bruce Ossman he is using the Strad for his examples and templates. I may use these on my next violin. Also thanks for the info on the plate tuning. I found a YouTube video about this and may try to emulate it to see what type of pattern  i get.
One reason i am using Beech for the back and sides is that it has a similar density to maple and also i have read about others making violins out of beech. I think this will be the only one i make out of this wood as i do like the look of the flames in maple. My European spruce top blocks, bass bar, maple neck and willow lining arrived today. The picture is below.
I am almost done with shaping the back plate just need to do some more scraping to get the thickness just right.
I may not get to work on it this weekend since some other things came up but i think i made up for lost time by working on it for a few hours yesterday and today. If i make any more progress i will be sure to post some pictures. The next task will be to start setting up the mold by placing the end and corner blocks.

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Kevin M.
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April 5, 2012 - 9:02 am
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The mould you are using looks to be the one from Bruce Ossman's book.  Is it his plans you are following?

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ewagner
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April 5, 2012 - 12:23 pm
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Yes you are right that is the exact mould i am using. I feel the book is very well written and provides a very good guide for each step of the process. Although i did not follow the exact process since my wood just arrived for the corner blocks but now i will get back on track and follow the steps in the order the book provides. The caliber has been very usefully i believe i have achieved the proper thickness. My last violin i think the plates weretoo thick. So hopefully get this one right.

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Fiddlerman
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April 5, 2012 - 11:11 pm
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These threads are extemely interesting for me to follow. Thanks ewagner.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ewagner
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April 20, 2012 - 12:23 am
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Sorry that I have not been updating lately as I have had some computer troubles. I got one of those hard drive failure viruses.  Luckily i did not loose any of my files. 

I forgot to take some pictures while i bent the ribs and clamped them to the form.  The beech bent very nicely. The picture below I am bending the willow linings for the top.

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The next picture I am cutting out the mortise for the neck.

 

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This is where I made a mistake while cutting out the neck. I pretty much had it completely carved out when I cut the base of the neck where it attaches to the back plate a little to short. 

 

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Temporarily attached the finger board to the neck to shape. This is when I discovered the mistake.

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I then moved on to cut out the F holes.

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While cutting out the F holes I laminated two pieces of 3/4" Beech to make a new neck. The next picture I am starting to cut the scroll.

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The next picture I have one half of the scroll complete.

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Its too bad that the maple neck turned out to be failure but I think the Beech is going to look better as it will match the back and sides. I have also noticed how easy and nice the Beech is carving compared to the quarter saw maple.

Next I will finish up the neck and attach the spruce top to the ribs.

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Fiddlestix
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April 20, 2012 - 6:40 am
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Absolutely phenominal.... It's going to be beautifull.  I'm curious as to what tool's you used to cut out the F hole's.

Another question: Have you been logging your time / hour's into building it ? and if someone were to ask if they could buy it, what do you think it's value would be. I'm sure you'll probably say, you have no idea what it's worth.   Just curious.  dunno

                

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NoirVelours
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April 20, 2012 - 7:39 am
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ewagner that scroll is so beautiful! I agree with Fiddlestix, how many hours you passed on it up to now?

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Dee Major
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April 20, 2012 - 8:08 am
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ewagner, sorry about the computer viruses. They can really mess things up and take so much time and sometimes money to resolve.

I love woodwork and am amazed at all the intricacies involved in violin making. Thanks so much for sharing your work with us. It looks wonderful! thumbs-up

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ewagner
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April 20, 2012 - 3:54 pm
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Than you all for the comments.
Fiddlestix I cut along the outline with a sharp knife then used a sharp drill bit to start the the f hole. I used my scroll saw to cut out the rest and filed all edges. I was getting nervous while using the scroll saw since i saw the spruce flex a bit. But it worked out.
I am not sure how much time exactly i have put into this violin but roughly so far its been about 30 hours. Although i don't think it is worth it but if i calculated the value by labor and materials it would be so far using 25 per hour $750 + $120 for materials. It would probably cost around $1500 once complete. But in reality probably sell for less than the $99 Cecilo. But i do have a feeling that this violin will sound much better than my first since i am fairly certain i got the plate thickness right. I am very much looking forward to stringing up this one.
That reminds me i need to order my strings from fiddlershop.com. 🙂

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