Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cutting Out the Violin Mold and Plexiglass Template

Hour No. 10 of a supposedly 200-hour project. I bought a fine-grit 30"x1" sanding belt at Sears today to get a really smooth edge on this mould. 

I lost my 1/4" dowel, so I used my knife to cut down a pencil instead--the pencil pieces are angled so they can be tapped in tight like conically cylindrical wedges. I sanded down the narrow ends so they wouldn't stick out on the other side so as to keep the base lying flat on the painstakingly-adjusted-to-90-degree table on the sander. 

This felt so much like cozily sitting at a sewing machine, but with the pressure to create an extremely smooth and perfectly curved line. 

And while nothing about this project will be perfect, that is the charm of a handmade craft. 

These last two photos show how I had originally drawn a line on the plexiglass with a permanent marker, the line was too fat, wobbly, and inaccurate to use as a final cutting line. Acetone was a thought to take it off, but before resorting to liquids I used a piece of micro mesh on hand which took it off like an eraser, still leaving a clear surface. 

With the plexiglass clear again, I could see my thin pencil line clearly on the wooden mold. Because the shape of the mold is more important than the template because it's what will be used to shape the violin in the end, I started by cutting the plexiglass to the outline on the mold on one half, shaving down the wood and plexiglass together to the same line. 

Then I flipped the template over to the undone half, pinning it in with my pencil pins, and tracing a new clean line on that half that would then match the first side that was shaped. This time, I sanded down the wood to meet the plexiglass as closely as possibly without touching or changing the curve of the template. 

So far so good. 

The very last step to shape this mold will be using a round rotating sanding bit in a drill press to cut inside the concave C bouts. This flat belt sander only works for the convex curves. 

Also, someone asked what the holes are, to which I responded with a description of the mold:  

This mold will never be a part of the violin, but it's like the most important part in the sense that the violin is built around it and the final shape will match how your mold turns out. The wood for the ribs (sides) are heated and shaped around the mold, and then your top and back plates will be glued on the ribs. The holes allow you to clamp or tie corner blocks to the mold. 

Its a fascinating project! 


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