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Despiau Owner Guidance on Bridge Selection
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Irv
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February 13, 2019 - 1:08 pm
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I spent last evening viewing videos on the process Despiau uses to manufacture their violin and cello bridges.  It is a very small operation (about the size of a two car garage).  I was amazed to find that they sand the angle of the front surface of the bridge.  Despiau is coy about how they produce the “heart” features of the bridge, but it appear to be either routed or punched since splinters are left until further finished (if anyone has further knowledge, I am very interested).

I have never seen so many bridges dropped, fingernail scratched, and otherwise manipulated for sound.  The owner of the company said that an inexpensive electronic scale is completely necessary for bridge selection.  A light 4/4 violin bridge (5 gram and less) will produce a mellow sound and is good for orchestra play.  A heavy (6 gram and more) bridge will have greater projection and be more bright, and will be favored by the soloist.  Those in between must be a mixed bag (my opinion, he did not go into them).

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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steveduf
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February 13, 2019 - 2:58 pm
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That is interesting, I sand mine also,  I also picked up a roto  zip style tool to use like a router table to carve out the skeleton area.

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Irv
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February 13, 2019 - 3:16 pm
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Hi steveduf and others.  I am thinking the same thing.  I purchased a proxxon panagraph years ago that will allow me to copy the profile of an existing bridge.  I think that I could also create a profile with a 3D printer so I could sample a photographed mutant.  

The Despiau operation is really simple.  A log is brought in on a tractor and about 18 inch segments are cut with a chain saw.  Pie shapes are sheared with a vertical log splitter (why, I don’t know.  They have a large band saw and the shearing appears to waste a lot of wood).  Wood rectangles are quarter sawn on the band saw and finished on a rotary sander.  The heart and exterior profile are performed by unknown process.  The blanks are visually graded and stamped with a power heat stamp.  

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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