Archive for Craft category

Saturday, May 29, 2010 Making the table

Italian spruce for Alafaire's table glued up and resting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 Alafaire: Back

This is the back of the most recent Strad model. Already hollowed and with the arches roughed out, it's ready to be planed down to final shape and graduated.

I used to give the fiddles names just before I closed the body but lately, with the lead time on silver tags, I try to do it right away. This one is called Alafaire, a name first seen in Scotland and England in the 16th century.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 Wood grain on silver

Susanna Prince, the jeweler who makes the silver labels for each fiddle, was showing me her rolling mill a few weeks back. She puts a piece of silver through the mill with a flower petal or leaf over it and when it comes out on the other side, the imprint of the petal (or leaf) has been pressed into the silver. It didn't take too long for the idea to grow between us to take a shaving of wood and do the same thing for the violin labels. And from that it was only a baby step to using a shaving from the same piece of wood used in the violin itself. So now, thanks to her unbridled creative thinking, the silver label that accompanies each fiddle will have an imprint of the instrument's top, sort of like the fiddle's fingerprint.








The Mighty Rolling Mill

Thursday, May 13, 2010 Northwest Folklife

This year at Folklife on the narrative stage, I will be part of a presentation on practical acoustics, specifically regarding violins. Joining me will be Rick Davis of Running Dog Guitars, who will offer the guitar perspective on the same subject. The hour long presentation will be tailored to whomever shows up and what they, as a collective audience, are interested in talking about. Hopefully we will also have a practical demonstration or two as accompaniment to our dialog; maybe even a diagram.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Spring is sprung

Warm weather in Seattle, finally. We had spring in January and winter in April. Rosalie has gone to Berkely to live. Fiorenza (left) is at the Ballard shop of Lasley & Russ waiting for a date for the prom. Two fiddles in production and a fiddle and a viola about to commence.











Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Inside Carving

I find that I have further modified the technique of carving the inside of the plates first. Rather than allowing the inside shape to totally control the outside shape, I have been going back and forth between inside and outside. I graduate 2mm thicker than final finish, then correct the long arch on the outside. Then do the outline and purfling, then the channel and recurve, and then the final graduations from the inside. This method is a little slower and defies Van Zandt's theorem (don't revisit) but it seems to produce a nice plate. The inside layout controls the recurve and is therefore easier to quantify than 'it looks good'. The long arch is also initially driven by the inside shape but small variations that crop up can be fixed before the final thickness is reached. Another bonus is the fact that there's no necessity for a hollowing form because the bulk of  the work, where you would want maximum support of the plate, is done while the billet is thick and very strong.