Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Making a Fiddle - Days 5 & 6

Okay.  It's holiday season.  My time has been severely limited and my patience tested.  Nevertheless, I managed to get all the blocks done and the two ribs trimmed.

This is all tedious work -- at least to me!  The good news?  I actually got a workbench!  I have been doing repairs of all kinds on a table for 15 years, so this was especially welcome!  It is hard to work on a table because it isn't tall enough for some work, and tables are very wobbly.  I had no place for vices, as the table didn't have a thick enough top and was not sturdy enough for vices.  It was also hard to clamp anything to the table for the same reasons.

When using the gouges to cut the blocks, I had to use very small cuts and make sure the gouges were super sharp.  The wood splits and cracks easily, or else digs in too far if you try to take a shortcut here and take larger cuts.  It is even worse when cutting the maple ribs!  No matter how small a cut I tried to take, it was very difficult to keep the maple from basically crumbling under the gouge.  Angling the cut seemed to work better, as did only taking a partial cut (half of the height of the rib, then turning and gouging the other half from the opposite direction).  I used a file when I got within a half millimeter.

And, as always, a square is a must!  The blocks have to remain perfectly square or else the ribs will be twisted and the top and back will not fit properly.

To make nice looking, asymmetrical corners, it is important to measure the distance from the center point of the mold to each corner.  For instance, if you are working on the lower corners, mark the center point of the mold in between those two corners, then measure from the center point to each corner.  Do the same thing for the upper corners.  If this measurement is not exact, the fiddle won't look exactly right when finished.  I used a caliper for this, but you can also you a protractor.

This is what is looks like now.

What's next?  I will be bending and gluing ribs next!

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