Building Teardrop No. 2

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Blog series by Dave Rutan updated 05-28-2020 10:13 PM 9 parts 4606 reads 57 comments total

Part 1: Only a matter of time

04-25-2020 10:07 PM by Dave Rutan | 16 comments »

I’ve gathered the parts for another teardrop fiddle. I adjusted the form down about 1/4 inch all around and am using some red oak and pine. Even though I already purchased them, I may try making my own tuning pegs on the lathe. For sure I want to put a purfling edge on the top and bottom this time. First step is always gluing the end blocks onto the mold.

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Part 2: Shaping the end blocks

04-28-2020 03:30 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

After the end blocks are glued onto the mold, I shaped them roughly with a chisel then refined them with my disk sander. The ribs will be glued to these and later the mold removed. On my last fiddle I had trouble conforming the ribs to the neck block, so I have made a little form block to help push the ribs onto the neck block. Live and learn. I would have been further along on this build, but on Sunday we had a power outage just as I was about to get into it. Then it was su...

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Part 3: Oops!

05-01-2020 12:00 PM by Dave Rutan | 8 comments »

Why you should use a clamping caul in these circumstances. I had enough wood to make 3 rib slats. I only need 2. After bending the first one using heat, I put it on my mold to help it retain its shape. Everything was good except for this one clamp on the inside curve. It put a big dent in the rib. Lucky that I have two more slats.

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Part 4: Ribs

05-03-2020 01:04 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

I got the other two rib slats bent and I put them on my mold. I salvaged the scrap pieces of plywood from when I cut my mold out to help shape them with out cracking them. Okay, if you look hard you can see one cracked part up by the neck block, but it’s not a deal breaker. I should be able to make that disappear.

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Part 5: Linings

05-06-2020 12:53 AM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

I was able to salvage the one cracked rib by slicing it into 4 parts. Here I am using a Dremel cutting wheel to do the job like a safer, mini table saw. And then the linings are glued to the top and bottom of the ribs to thicken the gluing surface for the plates. They are held fast with many little clamps. The edges will be planed level.

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Part 6: Plates

05-09-2020 11:39 AM by Dave Rutan | 8 comments »

I temporarily attach the top and bottom plates to each other using painters tape. After drawing the rough outline of the ribs on one, I cut them out on my scroll saw. Now I more carefully draw the outline using the ribs held in a better position. I’m using a thin sharpie held away from the ribs about 1/8 inch by a nut. I was thinking I would now whittle away the wood to the line, but I think I may go back to the scroll saw and cut very carefully just outside that line.

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Part 7: Fitting and some gluing

05-15-2020 09:05 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

Picking up from the previous post, I used my scroll saw to cut close to the outline and sanded right to it using my disk sander and a drum sander. I have a 5 inch disk sander and I’m thinking I should jig up a way to use my lathe as a 6 or 8 inch sander. Starting at the end block, I start gluing the back to the ribs. I put some clamps all around to hold things in place, then I apply glue with a thin pallet knife and put on all the clamps. Using many clamps avoids having to crank down ...

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Part 8: F-holes

05-26-2020 12:08 PM by Dave Rutan | 7 comments »

The F-holes are located using measurements I have in a book. I traced the actual shape from a template I made from sheet aluminum (a lithographic printing plate) First I drill out the round holes on either end using a 1/4 in. And 5/16 in. bit. The pros use a fret saw to cut out the slots between the round holes. Either my fret saw is not deep enough, or I find it too fiddly to try and mount the thin blades sideways, but I found that using my scroll saw was a good option. The ...

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Part 9: Bass bar

05-28-2020 10:13 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

The bass bar is made of pine, and is located so that it will sit under the ‘bass’ foot of the bridge. (On a violin the G-string is the bass side) According to the book I have, the bass bar does not run parallel, but is canted ever so slightly. I’m thinking this helps prevent cracks in the top that run along the wood grain. Where in a traditional violin there is a long process to fit the contour of the bass bar to the arching of the top, I have it easy because my top and bottom plates are f...

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