Silent Fiddle Build

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Blog series by Dave Rutan updated 06-09-2020 01:53 PM 11 parts 5296 reads 46 comments total

Part 1: Design and shape

05-31-2020 04:07 PM by Dave Rutan | 7 comments »

Work on my second teardrop fiddle is going to slow down, so I thought I would share the other project I’m building. This is a bit experimental as I cannot be sure that it will work. I’m building the body from solid mahogany and will be installing an electric pickup, like an electric guitar. Main reason For the build is so that I can practice at home without a practice mute. Having two other musicians at home doesn’t mix well with messing around on a fiddle. I.E. I don’t play well. My origi...

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Part 2: Sanding, some assembly, and the oops

06-01-2020 12:04 AM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

Any title with the word ‘sanding’ speaks of excitement, right? So here I’m sanding out the lines from my scroll saw cuts! And then I cut the straight piece for the body and made half-lap joints, giving me three basic pieces. I’m going to use a factory made neck and fingerboard because I’m still too lazy to make my own. And then I glued it together. It was at this point that I showed it to my wife. She said, “Isn’t that too thick for violin?” And she was righ...

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Part 3: Making it thinner

06-01-2020 09:27 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

And here I am filleting the fiddle to bring it down to the thickness of a violin. I cleaned this up with a hand plane and some sanding.

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Part 4: Neck Mortise

06-03-2020 11:04 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

Next step for me is to create the mortise for the neck and fit it into the body. This is definitely not a job for dull tools. The tab on the back was created when I was making the half laps. I won’t glue this on until just before putting the finish on.

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Part 5: Edge fluting

06-04-2020 08:56 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

In an attempt to make this fiddle look less blocky I am creating a cove or ‘fluding’ around the curved edges. This also helps mimick the overhand that is on traditional violins and will give sich accessories as a shoulder rest something to grab onto. I’m doing this the hard way with rasps and files. It just seems the best way to me. The white on the rims is chaulk. It made it easier to see the thickness of the rims so that I had a chance of making them even. ...

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Part 6: Electronics well

06-05-2020 01:07 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

Next I had to make a place for the piezo pickup and the jack that would let me plug in and listen. I used a large forstner bit to create a well in the back of the instrument, being careful to not let the tip of the bit drill through. I located the hole centered right below where the bridge should be. Then I located and drilled a hole for the 1/4 inch jack that I need to communicate with the outside world. I accidentally used the wrong drill bit, so I had to bush the hole with a dowel ...

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Part 7: A clamp and some finish

06-06-2020 11:44 AM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

So now I’m gluing the neck onto the body. This is the last bit of building until I get to the setting up. Naturally though I neglected to show how the tab is carved to match the neck. I should mention the fingerboard is oinly temporarily attached for aligning the neck. It will be removed for finishing and re-attached before set-up. The neck was purchased separately and is some sort of white wood, possibly maple. I actually had to run out and buy red mahogany stain to make it m...

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Part 8: Electronics Installation

06-07-2020 10:18 PM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

This is the sum total of the electronics that I’m installing inside the fiddle. It’s a piezo pickup and a 1/4 inch jack. I’ll be covering the opening witrh a disk of mohagany that I made. The fun part is that the finish basically glued it in place, so if I ever have to open this up, I’ll need to just break the cover and make a new one. Maybe I’ll be lucky and never need to open it. The actual ‘electronics’ consist of this headphone am...

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Part 9: Neck Work

06-08-2020 11:02 AM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

With the finish dry, I glued the fingerboard onto the neck and clamped it. But then the finish on the back of the neck needs to be scraped off, down to the wood. This is because the finish may become sticky with the heat and moisture of the player’s hand and can interfere with rapid playing. And then I coat the bare wood with boiled linseed oil to protect it and keep it from getting toon stained by hands and sweat. The only work left is the saddle, nut, and set ...

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Part 10: The nut and saddle

06-08-2020 10:17 PM by Dave Rutan | 9 comments »

The nut and saddle on a violoin are usually made from ebony, but I like to make mine from this chunk of cherry wood that I have. It adds a bit of a signature to my creations. For the nut I take a piece of cherry that roughly fits and I glue it in place at the end of the fingerboard. When the glue has set I just carve it into shape with a chisel and files. The saddle fits into a socket that I created earlier. I shape it and then glue it in. Note the specialized elas...

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Part 11: Fitting the pegs

06-09-2020 01:53 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

The last bit of work that needs to bew done is fitting the pegs to the peg box and fitting the bridge. I didn’t photograph the bridge this time, but the process can be seen in a previous blog post here: [Replacing a Viiolin Bridge] First the pegs are tapered and sized. They should be oversize when new. A peg shaper/shaver is used to make them smaller. This operates just like one of the old pencil sharpeners. Then, using a reamer that matches the taper of the peg shaper (1:30)...

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