New violin/crafting studio.


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Hi,

We have a two roomed rear extension to our bungalow; for the first ten years of my retirement I set up one of the rooms as a wireless workshop where I fully restored over 100 vintage radios. I started to leave the car on the driveway so this freed up the 11' x 22' garage which I converted into a proper workshop. I stopped restoring vintage radios so sold everything off and having now vacated the room it could be set up for my lovely wife Bron to do her crafting hobbies.

Having just turned 74 Bron as usual kindly asked what I would like for my birthday; at first there wasn't anything I needed or even wanted then I remembered I'd always fancied playing around with a violin; I'd never even touched a musical instrument previously. Bron generously bought me a beautiful Hidersine brand new violin; I've since bought a secondhand Rainbow violin finished in metallic green to practice basics on because I didn't want to jump in and cause damage to the new violin through my ignorance of the subject; good job I didn't jump in because setting up a new violin takes skill and it's so easy to break strings etc.

New studio._0006.JPG

Work under way on the new studio; the materials arrived a week and an half ago so I got stuck in and have been working flat out putting in long days. I had some timber and odds and ends of sheet material but I bought two 8' x 4' x 18mm thick decent ply plus lengths of softwood costing £235 delivered; I had the timber supplier rip the two sheets of ply into four 8' x 2' for the bench tops. I had enough timber for the legs and for the inside shelf I didn't need it to be pretty so used whatever I had to hand.
New studio._0006_02.JPG

Installing the big heavy 12" woodworking vice wasn't easy; at first I tried measuring for the mounting holes but it was hopeless so reverted to my Kaizen training taking the problem back to basics; I didn't need to measure at all just make a very simple paper template as seen giving a lot of accuracy.
New studio._0009_01.JPG

The vice fully installed ready for action.
Studio completed_0001.JPG

My end of the studio; I have a nice stool in the workshop and will bring this up allowing me to be seated in comfort. I made very simple doors for the bench front; 2" x 1" softwood frames with half lap joints and the frame planted on to 6mm thick MDF being glued and pinned with the nail gun the MDF being routed with "V" groves to give it a bit of interest; I also ran the router around the inside of the frames with a round over cutter; the door handles are 3/4" square 3" long offcuts of softwood having had the router add covings for grip; these screwed from inside the door.
Studio completed_0002.JPG

Bron's end of the studio with her office chair ready for her to set it up to please her.

I've ordered three 4' LED strip lights and Bron has a LED panel lamp on the ceiling above her area.

Car radio_0001.JPG

A new car radio is being used to supply favourite sixties songs from a memory stick the stick at the moment having around 200 songs in MP3; I made the cheap softwood surround in keeping with the style of the studio and the radio is powered from a small power supply putting out 12VDC.
Car radio_0002.JPG

I had already set up a clone of this radio in the workshop running a pair of Sony speakers; I didn't really need stereo so have used one of the speakers in the new studio; OK so I'm cheap.

My plan is not to only how to learn to play a violin but this coming winter I'm now set up to make a violin from scratch; I've already ordered the wood from Poland costing just under £100 delivered and it should arrive soon.

https://www.drewbas-tonewood.com/master

I've been so busy I don't know if I'm coming or going; each evening I'm making a point of practicing playing the violin and I'm making slow progress; I can now get a decent sound out of each string rather than the screetching sound but I confess at the moment I'm only playing open strings because I'm still struggling handling the bow correctly and keeping it in the right position on the strings but with each practice I am improving after all I've only just started. I'm watching lots of violin tutorial video's on YouTube.

I'm finding violins to be fascinating instruments and a thing of beauty in their own right; I've mastered tuning a violin with the aid of an electronic clip on tuner which is a huge help to me. I've already bought a 40/1 taper reamer for peg holes and have bought a tiny thumb plane yet to be delivered from China so I'm quickly gearing up to attempt making a violin. I thought I'd start a new thread because this could turn into a long story. I hope it's interesting and are any members violin players?

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Ian

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Fantastic work Colin! Great that you've got space for a new studio for crafting and music :).

How easily are you finding learning it? I've been thinking about taking up the piano, as I've never been able to play an instrument and quite fancy giving it a go.
 
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Hi,

Many thanks Ian; the new studio is our third bedroom which is perfect as a craft studio; it's central heated and with new better lighting installed it's going to be a wonderful place to spend this coming winter in comfort away from the world's increasing problems.

Now's the time Ian to take up piano as a lovely hobby for winter; I've only just started with the violins and at the moment am still a raw novice but I have a deep seated desire to learn to play a violin and also to make a violin so as there are many degrees of competance I'll just do my very best and enjoy the ballistic learning curve. Learning to play a violin is one of the hardest instruments to play;

https://playthetunes.com/hardest-instrument-to-play/

The piano is further down the list so you should make better and quicker progress than I will but it's not just down to being able to play an instrument it's more about learning a new difficult skill and enjoying it; I've only tried about four short 30 minute sessions but already I'm starting to get the basics of bow control; the first sessions were about tuning the two violins which at first I found extremely difficult; as I adjusted one string getting it bang on tune it then knocked the other strings out but now with only the slightest experience I've found that because the violins are new to me in new surroundings they need to settle and acclimatize; it was so frustrating spending so much time just tuning at first but last night I was surprised to find both violins pretty much in tune; I've practiced more with the Rainbow second hand violin but have already sussed out it's bow needs new horse hair which is readily and cheaply available trough eBay so it's a job I can do myself; as I've been playing there is a section of the bow which makes a terrible noise and I think it's the section most used so new hair should sort it out; I've not had time yet to play with the new violin but I'm working towards it; I'm not in a hurry but I'm determined to succeed.

Just holding a violin bow correctly takes a lot of doing for a novice; it sounds easy enough but please see this video showing what's involved and this is only how to hold the bow; I'm in for a lot of fun;


Go for the piano Ian if you fancy it and don't wait over forty years as I've done before I finally got a violin; I think playing any instrument can be a lifetime hobby; good luck.

I always do things the hard way hence I decided to create the new studio but I'm starting seriously not just dabbling at it. At 74 I'm a bit late in learning to play a violin perhaps I should have already been able to play aged three as this delightful young fella is doing; he had the audience in tears;


Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

Many thanks Doug. :)

I enjoy leaving my comfort zone to learn new skills and the harder they are the better. At the start of Covid my lovely wife Bron generously bought me a Tig welder setting me off on a big challenge because I wanted to learn how to weld aluminium; this was very difficult but after lots of practice I eventually succeeded and welded two new aluminium petrol tanks for mowers just for the fun of it;

Petrol tanks_0005.JPG

Tig welding aluminium is extremely hard to learn but I got there in the end with lots of kind help from mig forum members. Two new aluminium petrol tanks and an orginal leaking steel petrol tank.

Another very difficult and dangerous challenge was learning metal spinning; I wanted to make domed ends for the petrol tank seen above; I received very generous help and instructions from the owner of a metal spinning company and we became friends through metal spinning.

Metal spinning._0012._001_02.JPG

Another skill successfully learned from scratch; YouTube videos show how difficult both Tig welding and metal spinning are but I'm too thick to know when to quit; once I start something I don't let go however long it takes or how difficult it becomes.

A couple of weeks ago I had a clear out and sold the Tig welder; a large very heavy concrete breaker and the garden rotavator; I was satisfied having achieved Tig welding skill and parting with the petrol rotavator will stop me having an heart attack dragging it up the mountain each year; the concrete breaker too whilst here would be tempting to use it but again could put me in hospital I need to back off from all the many years of hard grafting whilst I'm still standing and breathing.

Back to violins which I'm finding fascinating; I've been researching how to rehair a violin bow and here's an excellent video;


New skills are always challenging to learn and even what looks like a simple violin bow is a lot more complicated than it appears to be; a new bow can't be used without preperation; it needs rosin applied and also adjusted for tension which isn't easy for a novice; then learning how to use the bow correctly is a steep learning curve which I'm still learning with practice each evening.

I'm learning quickly though because I now have the information I need to rehair the Rainbow violin bow; with so little practice it became clear that although I'm a raw novice the violin and bow also need to be fully set up; there are so many variables to play around with but what fun and interest I'm having. Unlike Tig welding and metal spinning I'm adopting violins as a very long term hobby which I can do in comfort any time of the year.

I'm about to wander down to the workshop and give it a birthday; I'll pull the car off the driveway then open the workshop doors and blast all the debris and dust onto the driveway where I can simply sweep it up leaving the workshop tidy and clean then I can close the workshop doors and start in the new studio; so much I want to do and so little time; I was out of bed at 6 o'clock this morning and had done the three supermarket shopping back home by 8:30; I seem to be running just to stand still and the days rapidily disappear.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

The workshop is nice and tidy allowing me to concentrate on my violins. This evening I decided to renew the two original strings on the Rainbow violin; when I received this violin the G & D strings were broken just leaving the A & E strings in position; I'd already replaced the broken strings having bought a full set of Hidersine strings. The bow hair being in poor condition I reckoned the two original strings would be at the end of their life so thought I may as well change them but I was in for a surprise; they were both E strings.

All four strings are now new and it took an hour to get the violin in tune so it's now set up ready for when I rehair the bow; I did try using my new Hidersine bow but was much too tired to play around; tomorrow is another day and for once no big job is hanging over me so I can practice more.

I've got an old and very dry scaffolding board stored under the bungalow; I think this is spruce so I'm going to use a section to practice making a violin front plate so if I make a mess of it I won't have ruined expensive wood.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

I've now upgraded the studio lighting by adding 3 new LED 4' long strip lights and what a tremendous difference these make; very easy to wire up but the spring clips are a bit of a pain to fit but well worth it.

LED lighting_0001.JPG

I added two of the lights over the bench I'll be working at but placed these as seen hopefully avoiding working in my own shadow; if I place one parallel and over the bench and a second behind me parallel with the bench then I'd create a shadow just where unwanted.

My chum David kindly sent me the following video which is brilliant; I hope you can play it; please turn on the sound;


Last night I tried playing with a shoulder rest fitted to the violin; the shoulder rest can be fitted two ways so as usual out of the two I fitted it wrongly; good job we have YouTube for instructions; I'm still struggling with the bow and how to hold the violin but it was never going to be easy. The new unbleached Mongolian horse hair arrived today so when I'm ready I can have a go at rehairing the Rainbow violin bow.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

Just an update; I've now joined Fiddlerman forum where I can learn to play a violin for free; this will occupy lots of my time and with our bungalow and gardens being high maintenance I can't be everywhere at once. I can't believe I have so little time whilst in full retirement to do things I want to do but it's better than being bored watching wall to wall TV all day and all night.

Kind regards to everyone and thank you, Colin.
 

Ian

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I've got similar LED bars to those in my workshop - what a difference they make. Nice and bright, so ideal for intricate work :D. Even better is that they'll last for ages without needing to change the "bulb"!

The violin motorbike sounds surprisingly realistic :D:D:D
 
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I thought Todd Rundgren's motorcycle guitar on Bat Out Of Hell was good, but that.....
 
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When I saw the thread titlle thought you were going to tell of building a violin....
 
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Hi,

Progress to date.

I've now made the Stadivarius wooden mould.

Violin mould._0001_02.JPG

Drilling using 1" dia Forstner bit allowing just the point to break through then flipping the wood to finish drilling giving crisp edges.

Violin mould._0003_01.JPG

The completed mould with the aluminium master template..
Violin mould._0004.JPG

Here's the paper template that took three days to sort out; I had bought full size paper templates with the Stradivarius book but no way did I want to cut these; I spent hours chasing for a company that could copy and print plans to A2 size without success so in the end I used my A4 scanner and printer; I scanned then used "Gimp" to get the sizes exact using "rectangle select" then "crop to select"; having got two images of top and bottom I could then accurately measure the drawings and use these as a starting point with Gimp; I had to adjust slightly by 4mm then the new paper template laid perfectly over the original taping both printouts together; next I made an aluminium template this then the master template; sorting out this template and wooden mould has taken four days. The project is moving along nicely.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Wow! I can't wait to see how this pans out Colin. I love how you've made an aluminium template for this - you could get a production line going ;).
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian. It's going to be a long project for winter. I cut the new wooden mould out but when placed over the master drawing it proved too big so this morning I've been working on the aluminium template dimensions and have just come out of the workshop; the sun is shining allowing me to see what I'm doing; it's surprising how thick a pencil line is whilst wanting accuracy and how poor light doesn't help. I'm in awe of the violin greats like Stradivarius who produced such masterpieces in primitive conditions and no electricty hundreds of years ago and what testament to their skill when a number of their violins still exist.

Yes now the aluminium template is completed it could be used to mark out unlimited numbers of these violins.

I'll keep popping on from time to time with updates; so much I want to do and so little time even in retirement.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

The lighting has been poor throwing shadows but finally brilliant sunshine through the window so I could see what I was doing; I was able to re-ajust the aluminium template making it fit perfectly to the original drawing; it's surprising how decent light changes sizes.

Now with the aluminium template sorted out I could then compare it with the plywood mould which now also needed reworking. Yesterday morning I set up the home made router table but decided to do a bit of work to the table; years ago when I made this router table I simply secured the router switch to be permantently switched on allowing control from the switched 13A socket supply; I've never liked this so I've now sorted it out. Yesterday morning I pulled out a 3 phase 415V on/off rotary switch and installed this then it was dinner time.

After dinner Bron and I enjoyed a 25 mile drive into our lovely local countryside back home at 3pm. Into the workshop I decided I didn't like the rotary switch so removed it and replaced it with a metal clad 13A switched socket and added a 13A plug to the router cable so this now looks much neater and has dust/debris protection now it was tea time; after tea I enjoyed my usual violin practice another day having slipped quietly by.

This morning I was in the workshop early and using the newly adjusted aluminium template I routed the plywood mould; having done this I thought I'd make a full sized 18mm thick MDF master mould whilst everything was set up; yes Ian it's very easy now to copy as many times as I like and every copy is perfect to size.

Violin mould._0001_04.JPG

The rotary switch worked but I wasn't happy with it.
Violin mould._0002.JPG

My home made basic router table with 3hp router installed.
Violin mould._0002_02.JPG

The rotary switch inside the table needing protection from dust and debris; I decided to replace this.
Violin mould._0003_02.JPG


The new neater and dust proof metal clad 13A socket and 13A plug.
Violin mould._0004_01.JPG

Modern plywood even the more expensive kind tends to be rubbish. Here it's blown out whilst routing.
Violin mould._0006_01.JPG

Both plywood and MDF moulds.
Violin mould._0007.JPG

I never compromise only accepting when correct hence reaching this stage took a lot of time but worth it; both moulds and the aluminium template are exactly to size; the dotted line is the finished size violin the inner solid line is the mould size; the Stradivarius book with plans cost £45; there's a copy on Amazon at £80. No way was I going to cut out the paper plans to use as templates; I regard myself only as carer for this book and plans and want to keep both in excellent condition hence I've gone to great lengths in order not to damage them.

There are eight A2 sized pages of plans including things like knife drawings so now I'll be looking at making the knives.

Making this violin is a wonderful challenge for me and I hope it takes the entire winter before I succeed; I'm enjoying myself.

Dinner time again so got to go. Retired and no spare time.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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More great work Colin, I'm really excited to see how this pans out! You've got a lot of patience when it comes to making intricate things like this.
 
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Hi,

Thanks Ian; this is proving to be a hugely interesting project/hobby for me; yesterday I started to make violin clamps;

Violin clamps_0003.JPG

Turning long and thin at 1" dia isn't a job for a novice woodturner who wishes to retain teeth and not end up wearing the wood if the lathe rejects it at high speed; here I could have cut the length to remove the weakening hole but I just cracked on avoiding the hole.
Violin clamps_0005.JPG

My easy method of cutting the bobbins acuratley to length; I used my fully restored Wilmac bandsaw.
Violin clamps_0007.JPG

I made 43 bobbins but need at least 80; here are the bobbins already turned of the same Meranti wood I've ripped from a turning blank giving four 16" lengths so this afternoon I'll turn the rest of the bobbins; the spanner I use as a 1" gauge having lightly ground the sharp jaw points to prevent them digging in.
Violin clamps_0008.JPG

My home made saw bench earns its keep and is so usefull with a 4" deep cut and 4hp motor. The fence is rock solid and the riving knife is permanently installed for safety.
Violin plans_0003.JPG


The master copy I'm working to.

I've had my Covid booster jab this morning but I can get into the workshop after dinner with a bit of luck.

Not really classed a DIY project but a nice project to play around with.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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I am greatly impressed! In so many ways....
Just a couple of questions/remarks:
In the hope of learning any instrument, wouldn't a short course in basic musical theory be helpful? Your thoughts? And secondly, what are the differences between fluorescent lighting and the LED lighting that you used in your workshop? Fluorescent lighting gives me migraines - I believe it has something to do with the flickering, (usually unseen by yhe naked eye). Or maybe the humming? IDK. In any case, would LED lights cause similar problems? Just wondering your thoughts on the matter.
Thanks,
Mimi (Kimberley)
 
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Hi,

Thanks Mimi. A course in music theory could help but I'm now a member of a wonderful stringed instrument forum full of very experienced members who are willing to help novices; I've already learned so much since touching my first violin two months ago; good suggestion though and appreciated.

Florescent strip lights are excellent for what they are but as you've found out can have serious side effects for some people. I replaced my flourescent strip lights in the workshop installing five 2' square led panel lamps at a cost of £150; I did the work myself so labour was free but not a job I'd recommend unless competent with electrical work.

These panel lamps were not the success I looked for; the workshop ceiling is low and the panel lamps behave like large square torches just putting a downward light with little spread; extra machine lighting is needed as is extra lighting for when I do close up work on the bench so I'd avoid these panel lamps unless you buy a lot of them.

I've recently made this new studio but this time chose 4' long strip LED's and positioned these not to throw shadows where Bron and I would be working; they are wonderful and give a good spread so I'm happy and through eBay they were quite cheap to buy; I'm happy with the LED strip lights and you could try installing just one to try it out. No flickering at all with these LED lights and they shouldn't go dim as they age and no problems with annoying buzz or hum.

Good luck.

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Hi,

A couple of pictures Mimi of the additional lighting I use in my workshop; these are cheap LED lights I can attach to anything steel they having a magnetic base.

Additional light_023.JPG


LED light used on my woodturning lathe; I added a strip of steel to the tool rack allowing it to be moved around as needed.

Additional light_024.JPG


Here's another attached to my bandsaw; both are brilliant allowing me to see what I'm doing.
1636027854137.png



Kind regards, Colin.
 

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