I decided that I will be keeping a detailed journal of the instruments I make. I will record materials purchased, steps taken, and various thoughts along the way. I will record finishing materials etc. I have begun this process with my #11 build, a cello, based on a 1754 G.B. Guadagnini I have access to.
Although it is too late to make a journal for the previous instruments, except for photo essays, I did perform a write-up for the last violin I made. My future journal entries will differ greatly.
“Symphony” Violin based on third period of Guarneri Del Gesu’s career.
Began May 2011, and worked at it intermittently until completed January 29, 2013.
Red Spruce top from Cape Breton, Otis Tomas. Big Leaf Maple Sides and one-piece back from Washington State, Bruce Harvie. Neck from my own log, Red Maple, Maine. All other parts from Met Music, Vermont.
Estimate of materials: $430.
Oil Varnish finish, colored pigment added to varnish for color.
Thoughts: I would not hesitate to use Red Spruce from Nova Scotia again. I feel it provides a nice deep tone although I carved it a tad thinner than I would Engelmann. I had three professional fiddlers play it and all seemed to admire it. (One asked for my contact info.) This instrument took an unusually long time to build because I made it on a make shift table/bench without access to my complete arsenal of tools. I constructed the majority of it in New Jersey while doing computer work for a business, as opposed to Maine in my own shop. This meant that at times my techniques and tools selection were compromised, and I had to borrow certain tools. Over all I believe I handled this situation well. Most of #11 will be made in Maine, as I am returning to violin making and repair full-time again.
Areas for improvement: My over-all woodworking skills can always improve. My coloring and finish needs improving as well.
Areas where I advanced my skills as a violin maker on this instrument: My plate arching has improved to where I am pleased. The over all set-up is good – fitting of the pegs, sound post, and fitting the bridge, etc.
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