Musical Instruments Restoration #9: Violin 2 - Assembly of the body

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Blog entry by BertFlores58 posted 07-16-2013 03:35 AM 1563 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Violin 2 - Jig for the ribs on action Part 9 of Musical Instruments Restoration series Part 10: Finally the violins are restored completely »

After the bouts or sides or ribs been done, the next is to assemble the whole body including the neck and scroll head.

CLAMPS. Though I can use spring clamps and other models, the problem lies in the limited clamping space of the plates. The flat surface (perpendicular portion to the ribs) of the plates that are parallel to each other is only 3/8 inch or less measuring from the edges towards the center. This gives a small space for clamping which often times spring clamps and F-clamps slips. Caution, if you push more in towards the center of the plates, then the curves of the plates might be destroyed furthermore, increased inclination of the clamping surfaces will contribute more on the slipping of the clamps. Aside from these, you will need plenty of clamping points that bigger clamps will not help in this situation. SO HERE IS THE SOLUTION.

IDEAS: The clamping blocks use are rectangular ebony (black) and Philippine’s teak (white) that are strong and hard wood. Circular shape is not a problem but the clamping space is bit extended when it is rectangular. The aluminum pipe is just a millimeter or two shorter than the finished height of the rib..(in my case, the rib height are all the same so the pipes were cut of same length.) Without the pipe, clamping is impossible because the drilled holes for my threaded bar (bolt) is bigger. If the holes will be exact to the bolt diameter, it will be possible however it will be difficult for the clamping blocks to slide during the tightening added to the difficulty of inserting the bolt to the blocks. (It took me a hard time to explain this… well if you get it… then go for it but if not you can experiment and realize what I mean.) It is also better to use bigger diameter pipe as it allows more stability when in place. Also please use circular pipe cutter rather than hacksaw… to avoid uneven pipe ends and filing of the edges. Note: All the pipes and threaded bar (M10) used are just leftovers but I bought 20 nuts.. nice savings.)

The design of the VIOLIN 2 is so difficult to assemble. I had several try of testing the rib to match the grooves of the plates. Only when I was satisfied that I glue it.

Final fitting test… ensure that everything is in place. Took out the clamps and only masking tape are the one holding the pieces.

Now the worries:
The neck with the scroll is in one piece including the attachment piece of the plates. I was planning to adapt the modern way of constructing using corners and end blocks separate with the neck and scroll but I will lose the originality of the maker. So no matter what lets go on with it….


Notice that there is no neck and scroll in the above… my target is just the use of ribclamp and its most strategic position.

Now the gluing of the front plate with the neck and scroll already in. My decision is to glue first the front plate and let the back plate unglue so that I can inspect and add more glue later. Actually, my worry is on the ends and corners whether I need to reinforce it. Additionally, I like to brush little bit of glue around the inside part of the ribs to add more strength. Then here it is….

I use my big clamp for the neck joint to the plates… This is important that it is strongly jointed together… this point is subjected to a lot of tension when the strings are tightened.

Notice the bottom block is clamp with Spring clamps to provide the correct position.. But just don’t mind my tummy on the background… LOL.

Now the back plate remove…. partially dried then I apply more glue…

The clamps is further holding on the neck and the endblock.

In the morning after overnight drying….

LOOKING GOOD… BUT IF I WOULD BE HONEST as I always do in my blog… Here is the picture of it..

IDEA: In some restricted areas where a clamp is impossible, I use a brad (smallest I use is 1/2 inch) or nail that is hammered in to the point where you need to push or prevent from twisting. Anyway the holes that is produced by the brads can be plug it by refilling it with glue and dust of same material. A secret revealed but some may say… IT IS A FAILURE.. Just don’t forget to remove it later… DO NOT NAIL it there..which if you do… there is no chance of getting it out.

SO THE NEXT POINT IS JUST CLOSING IT. Once closed… then it is as good as done. That will be next opportunity. As you know, this is only my past time and weekend work. Thanks for the comments and I hope you enjoy viewing, reading and understanding what I would like to share.

Have a nice day!
Regards to all,

-- Bert

3 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2839 days

#1 posted 07-16-2013 05:19 PM


In your case you may never have toooooo Many clamps! Nice blogging! Nice to see innovation and creativity.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#2 posted 07-17-2013 05:37 PM

Good result Bert. I have seen guitar makers do their glue up by wrapping all around with a length of something which looks like a tire inner tube cut into long strips about 2” wide. I was wondering if this clamping technique would work for a violin.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2918 days

#3 posted 07-17-2013 11:41 PM

Thanks.. as the saying goes… Nothing is impossible! If you don’t have it… Make it.

Thanks … that interior bike tube rubber is really good as it is flat and elongation is high. I use garters nowadays because the strength is controlled throughout. When you pull the garter, there is a limit because of the cloth bonding to it (actually it is the weave of the cloth that allows the pull and push… maximum pull is when the weave are already fully stretch.) The rubber sometimes breaks and it will spank you in return saying… you are pulling me hard already….. lol.
The violin is different because what is needed is only the push top and bottom. the guitar has some lining that acts as stopper for the inner movement. The lining for the violin is attached to the rib or bouts while the guitar is attached to the back and front plates.

I am very glad for alerting me on other aspects. Also other readers… thanks for viewing.

-- Bert

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