Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Fiddle Lovers Online

Dec 2, 2022 - 6:11:04 PM
like this
422 posts since 6/3/2016

My cigar box fiddle is just about done. All that remains to be done is

  • Glue the top to the box
  • Glue the saddle to the box rim and top
  • Glue the box assembly to the oak runner/strut
  • Install a sound post
  • Finish it somehow
  • String it up

I'll get it all glued this weekend. I'm a little nervous about the soundpost. I did a dry run today. Apart from the fact I've never done that before, the top is flat and thick. So that makes it difficult to use a position gauge. I'm thinking of installing it in the box before I glue the box to the runner.

Regarding finishing, I ended up stripping off all the paper. Some of it I had to remove for cutting and glueing. But it was glued on quite strongly and looked good, so I have some regrets. I don't know if I'm just going to oil it, put on some spirit or other varnish, or maybe paint parts. The ends are not even plywood. I have spirit varnish and furniture varnish. I'm sure as heck not buying any. Paint I would have buy.

I don't know that it needs a chinrest, but I bought one today. I had an old chinrest that looked cool, but the clamp was way too small and there wasn't an easy way to fix that. I went into Southwest Strings. Even most viola chinrest clamps weren't thick enough. There was only one big enough and it was not cheap. I joked that it doubled the value of the instrument.

Dec 3, 2022 - 8:46 PM
likes this

85 posts since 11/19/2019

Looks like fun!

Dec 4, 2022 - 12:04:06 AM
likes this



874 posts since 1/16/2021
Online Now

Respect for this project! I love tiny <3

Dec 10, 2022 - 6:02:45 PM

422 posts since 6/3/2016

I finished everything ( gluing, finishing, sound post installation) and got strung up. It sounds as good as I was hoping from a cigar box fiddle. 


I only tuned it up to FCGD. The bad thing is I heard a loud pop when bringing the strings up to tension.

Later I realized that the hide glue joint between the maple block near the heel and the oak runner has failed. It was a clean break between the two pieces of wood. 

I used 315 hide glue. The oak was a piece of scrap. I don't think I prepare that surface. The joint is quite thin. I'm thinking I should cut the joint on the bandsaw to clean up the surfaces to get better adhesion and make room to inject new 315 hide glue. About the only other option I can think of is to reglue with epoxy.

The oak runner is glued to the cigar box with a very large surface area joint. So I don't think I can separate them.

It sucks that the joint broke, but it's just a cigar box fiddle, so I'm not going to worry about it. 

Dec 11, 2022 - 7:20:24 AM

422 posts since 6/3/2016

I'll have to use a handsaw to open the joint. I'm thinking a 1 mm kerf should be wide enough to get new glue in, especially if I put tension on the strings. The joint widens towards the neck (about 2 mm as I remember) under load.

A mistake I made when glueing was to glue two joints at once. The surfaces were large and flat, so I didn't think anything could go wrong. But the neck is very three dimensional and the oak runner has a boat tail shape, so it was hard to clamp.

The joint is very thin and tight fitting. I'm thinking the problem was either surface impurities on the wood, or maybe there wasn't enough glue. The oak scrap had a sawn surface for gluing, but it had been sitting for years. So maybe I should have shaved off the tip. I have a board thicknesser, so it would have been easy other than the fact the scrap short.

Dec 12, 2022 - 7:32:21 PM

422 posts since 6/3/2016

I got it taken apart and put together again! The good news is that the neck angle is better than before. I'm happy with the sound for this kind of instrument.


The bad news is that the neck is centered worse than before. There's no slot like on a real violin to locate the heel. I'm realizing with the short working time of the hide glue I should have glued in some small cleats to locate the heel.


I may just leave it the way it is. More likely I will take it apart and reglue with cleats.

Edited by - RinconMtnErnie on 12/12/2022 19:32:56

Dec 18, 2022 - 10:09:04 AM
like this

422 posts since 6/3/2016

While I had a microphone out and was messing around with microphone settings, I figured it was a good time to record the cigar box fiddle. I figure there's a good chance I'll destroy the fiddle or screw up the sound when I reset the neck, so this way there's at least a recording.

The sound is kind of reedy (some would say nasal), but that's to be expected.

It is tuned FCGD, which is because I'm afraid to tune it up to full tension just yet.

I made two recordings. One is Fiddlin' Phil, which I have a number of personal recordings of so it's a good benchmark. Most of that tune is on the upper three strings. The second is of Sarah Armstrong's Tune, which I picked because it uses the lower three strings.

Dec 18, 2022 - 7:09:25 PM
likes this

85 posts since 11/19/2019

Sounds great Ernie!

Jan 7, 2023 - 9:07:40 PM
like this

422 posts since 6/3/2016

This should be the last update. I took the neck off and reset it. The centration is now better. The vertical neck angle is still good. Horizontally the angle is off by around 0.4 deg, which doesn't sound like much but it's about a 2 mm error. I can live with that. I should really cut a new bridge as it's now too low by about 1 mm. But it's okay for now.

I had originally planned to sculpt the wood around the heel to a more elegant shape, but no one told me that maple is so hard!

Anyway, I'm attaching a picture of the final result. My goals were

  • Should sound better than the pocket fiddles I have owned
  • Should be appropriate for a variety of venues such as a tree house, gin mill, or Halloween party
  • Should be cheaper than a hurdy gurdy
  • Bees should not be able to build a hive in it

I basically feel I achieved all goals except the last one.

Mar 19, 2023 - 10:07:44 AM

1453 posts since 3/1/2020

Originally posted by Oliver302

George Foreman Grills come with two types of heat sources: electric and gas. Electric grills are the most popular option because they are easy to use and require minimal maintenance. Gas grills are more powerful and efficient, but they require more upkeep.

I'm not sure whether this is a spam post or a suggestion for how to "finish" the fiddle. 

Mar 19, 2023 - 12:17:13 PM

1163 posts since 7/30/2021

Rich, LOL!!

( Hmm, irrelevant post added to an old thread, with a clickable link...sure looks spammy to me!)

Mar 19, 2023 - 4:28:33 PM
Players Union Member



2646 posts since 2/2/2008

Originally posted by NCnotes

Rich, LOL!!

( Hmm, irrelevant post added to an old thread, with a clickable link...sure looks spammy to me!)

This person has been spamming for days. I've reported them all but his site is still there and has not been locked. Please report spam also.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Fiddle Hangout. All Rights Reserved.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories