Jigs: Bridge Jack/Lift

A bridge lift or bridge jack can be very useful for lifting the stings momentarily for making adjustments to a bridge on an instrument that is already setup.

I was disappointed with the cost of commercially available jacks so I made this one on my own.  Two short pieces of coat hanger wire act as guides on each side.  The lifting screw sits on the head of a filled down screw in the lower portion to prevent it from sinking into the wood.  Make sure the tensioning knob is small enough to pass between the D & A strings when placing the bridge jack next to the bridge, otherwise you would have to remove the screw each time!

Note: obviously a bridge jack is not useful in setting  a sound post.  The setter and inspection mirror are sitting next to the bridge jack because they live in the same box 🙂

Hi Res Photos from Museo del Violino

In reviewing the Museo del Violino website I came across the Google Cultural Institute pages.  There are some fantastic high resolution images of some the artifacts from the Museum in Cremona, including some of the violins.  Check it out here.

Included are the images below:

  • Violin grand (G) mold
  • Contraldo viola (CV) mold
  • Francesco Rugeri “Per” violin  1675 – front
  • Nicolò Amati 1684 “Hammerle” violin – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1679 “Hellier” violin – front
  • Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreae 1689 “Quarestani” violin – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1727c. “Vesuvio” violin – front
  • Andrea Amati 1566c. “Carlo IX” violin – front
  • Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù 1734 “Stauffer” violin – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1679 “Sabionari” guitar – front
  • Girolamo Amati 1615 viola – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1700 “Stauffer” cello – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1669 “Clisbee” violin – front
  • Antonio Stradivari 1715 “Cremonese” violin – front

You can also virtually tour through the Museum.

Stainer 1679: Assembly

Check out some pictures of the assembly of the my Stainer 1679.  Now ready for finishing.

Stainer 1679: f-holes

Stainer 1679: f-holes

I’m placing the F-Holes on the Stainer model, to do so I first tried following the paper written by Alvin King “The Cremonese System for Positioning the F-Holes“.
His method includes Amati models, which should be similar to Stainer, but the layout did not work for the Stainer model.  Mostly due to the shortness of Stainer’s f-holes and the length of his top bout.

f-hole-layout-attempt

Failed Layout of F-Hole

In the end I set the f-holes based on The Strad poster measurements, a safe upper eye-width, and a comfortable notch location with respect to the stop location.

Violin Knives

v-knifeA “Violin knife” refers to a traditional tool used in both violin making and in broader luthier and wood working.   The basic violin knife is a long relatively narrow piece of tool steel sharpened with an angled ‘blade’ at one end, double beveled and inserted in a removal wooden sleeve handle.  What the knife is used for varies on the width of the steel, the angle of the blade portion and the bevel angle.

The  blade portion can be made by tempering any high carbon steel, or ready made blades can be purchased from suppliers like Pfeil or Hock.  The handles typically are separate and can easily be made in the workshop.

The size of the knife describes the width of the stock.  Because the blade can be moved forward in the handle it can have a very long working life, making it an economical tool.

knives.jpg

Top to Bottom: For comparison a Flexcut Detail Knife and Pfeil Detail Knife #11, a 3/4″ mill blade in shop made maple handle, and finally 6mm and 3.5mm  Pfeil violin knife blades in shop made ebony handles

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Jigs: Benchtop Cradle

A cradle is very useful for working on assembled instruments.  Tasks like setting sound posts are easier and less prone to damaging an instrument when the instrument is held in a cradle.

The cradle is no more than a thick piece of wood (or in this case several sheets of inexpensive plywood) hollowed on one side to fit the back of an instrument and lined with cork or leather.  Its also helpful to put something on the bottom to keep the jib from slipping on a bench.

Aside: I keep my setup tools in the old cigar box pictured below.  This are nice boxes and can be found fairly cheap.  Most cigar stores will have a pile and only charge $5 or $10 for the nicest ones, sometimes less.