Hi, Gino! How are you doing? I hope everything is going well for you.Recently I’ve started work on the first instrument for you.I’m making photos from the whole process ok making, so I’ll send you them later. I thought you would like to see the., or even use them later on.
One more news: on this violin, label will say Poznań, Poland, but next one will have already Barcelona on it 😉
We decided with my girlfriend that we want a bit more sun, she found a job she likes there, so in 2 weeks I’m moving my workshop 🙂
In making an instrument, rigth after choosing the wood is of course cutting it and preparing for gluing. Many people tend to use electric wood planers. And most of the time, there is nothing wrong with that. But still, I prefer to do it by hand every time I start a new instrument. Does it take more time? Sure it does. If one is looking for working fast probably electric bandsaws and wood planers is way to go. But I don’t mind taking more time to do something. Its a bit more time I can use to think through the whole process.To evaluate wood structure, to figure out best placement. Let’s remember wood is an organic structure and its never perfectly even. With hand planes I can make micro adjustments that will allow me to align grains and fibers in the best possible manner. Additionally, working with a hand I can feel how hard, how dense this particular piece of wood is. It gives me more information that I can use in further steps, when creating the arching or when making thicknesses.
After finishing the rib structure, I place it over prepared plates. I clamp it and draw the outline with sharp pencil. For marking the edge I use a metal ring that I made for this purpose. It is 2.5mm thick which is a good distance for an overhang for the edges. Corners I draw by hand but final shape is defined later with files and knifes.
I got use to rounding edges with a knife. It sure does require more skills with handling the knife, but helps me to have an even rounding everywhere in the plate. Before cutting, I mark the distance of about 2/5 of a distance from the edge to the purfling. I use a small block with a knife that I made myself. In this case the knife should be dull, cause the point is not to cut but to only leave a mark. This mark will be indicate the top of the edge, and I’ll cut a chamfer with my knife until this point. I start with cutting top and bottom chamfers then I cut two more between them. Then I remove facets with a sharp scraper and finish everything up with sandpaper or dried horstail.
When fitting bass bar its really important to have a really good fit, and that the pressure is evenly distributed. To have a good fit I use a chalk, that shows me where the wood is touching and where there is still a micro gap. Checking pressure is a bit more tricky. When fitting the bass bar you can feel its rolling more in some places than in the others and there is a need for small corrections. In this case, dividing bass bar in 14 parts and drawing lines helps. In example if on one side in the 8th section I see a small bump, I can turn a plate around and check exactly in the same place on the other side how a situation looks like. It allows me to be very precise in removing wood.
I always felt that I didn’t have enough of control when shaping the neck. Going right away to rounding was not the best idea cause it was difficult to end up with nice, comfortable parallel neck. It changed few years ago when I was working with Marcus Klimke in France. He showed me his technic and it changed everything. Following several steps, making chamfers, using template, it helps me a lot to control what I do.