April 2015 Projects

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PRESENTER

                 Fred Sandoval, a long-time member of WWCH, gave a talk to club members about the precision craft of violin making.  He addressed sources of wood, plans, instructional books, tools,  and went into detail on many of the techniques involved in hand-crafting a violin.  Fred was also recently featured on Channel 11 10 pm news.  Follow this link to view his TV interview:  http://www.khou.com/videos/life/2015/04/14/richmond-man-makes-violins-in-his-garage/25752225/

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SHOW and TELL PROJECTS


         

 

Bill Hoffmeister took plans from the Wood Whisperer for his cutting boards made of hard maple and purple heart, one of six, he showed to club members.  He topped it with a salad bowl finish – hmmm was that ranch or Italian?

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Dave Janowitz says he is getting better at wood turning and his results speak to that.  He explained that he is still struggling with the inside of bowls but explained the techniques that he used.  The table, which his wife calls an ironing board, is made of Osage orange and walnut; the bowls are of Osage orange.  Dave finished bowls and table with water borne urethane.

     

Chuck Meeder decided to fool around with carving so he tackled some spoon projects – perhaps to eventually carve a “silver” spoon?  He found patterns online as well as from books.  The woods are cherry, alder, cedar, and mahogany.  Chuck says these aren’t major projects and only take a couple of hours but they are fun little projects.  Watco was the finish Chuck used. 

    

Rolling right along, Denis Muras showed club members some designs for toy cars that Denis plans to donate for the WWCH toy drive.  Denis used maple, walnut and cherry.  Denis explained how he would stack pieces together and cut them all at the same time on the scroll saw followed by the band saw to separate the pieces.  The wheels are ¾ inch dowels. 

       

Rick Spacek described how he made the two crosses from plywood and onyx.  The rider was made from spalted pecan. Congrats to Rick for his attention to detail.

   

Tim Shaunty says he doesn’t pay attention to size but it did say that he screwed up three before getting it right.  Tim explained how he oriented and cut the boards to get unusual shapes.  Because the grain went in every direction Tim used only his table saw, and not the jointer, to cut the pieces.  If there was a crack he filled it with CA glue.  Tim lives in a retirement community where the women have a fashion show so he donated the boards to be used a door prizes – a nice variety.  Those women certainly won’t get bored with his boards, will they?

    
 

Sean O’Connor explained that his hand carved rosette is his fourth try.  Sean is working on upper parts of a Gypsy wagon so this rosette will probably go on the door. 

 
  

Charles Volek crafted this porch bench of Sipo Mahogany.  The design is based on a wood working magazine photo but Charles modified it some what.  After he cut legs to size he discovered that the bench was too low to the ground from tall people so he added and inch and a half.  He received some good natured ribbing for his “custom” design work.  Charles said that this project required accurate joints so he measured three times (not the proverbial measure twice adage).  Charles used epoxy for the main joints and Titebond II for the smaller ones

       Peter Doe constructed this corner desk for his wife.  This was Peter’s first foray into vacuum veneering and his first attempt at curved lamination.  It took Peter six months.  The desk is of mahogany and sapele veneer.
     Lon Kelley repaired a pretty little solid oak desk for a client.  Lon was able to disassemble the desk because all joints were screwed together, not glued.  He went over the pieces with his orbital sander and finished with some coats of varnish.  For another client the quilt holder was missing some dowels and the mortise and tenon joints were of different sizes so Lon re-drilled them. For this case Lon did not want to accept money for his work but the client insisted so he donated the money to the club’s toy program.

 

 Paul Carr trailered his monster “Jeep” truck to show to club members which will be situated at 4th and Heights and painted in school colors – a wonderful thing for kids to play on (and maybe a few adults too).  While visiting his wife’s family in Iowa he was able to acquire some used tires from farm implements.  He joked about the smell of the tires but to those in Iowa it is the smell of money  -- ahhh --- the “attar” of corn and soy beans. 

 

Fred Sandoval, a long-time member of WWCH, gave a talk to club members about the precision craft of violin making.  He addressed sources of wood, plans, instructional books, tools,  and went into detail on many of the techniques involved in hand-crafting a violin.  Fred was also recently featured on Channel 11 10 pm news.  Follow this link to view his TV interview:  http://www.khou.com/videos/life/2015/04/14/richmond-man-makes-violins-in-his-garage/25752225/

The first item Fred talked about is the wood.  Where do you get it?  Fred named several reputable sources but he said that the best place and most honest place is Orcas Island Tonewoods, situated in Olga, Washington.  The owner, Bruce Harvie (who has a PhD in wood), has wood that has been air dried for many years, is really good and is, although still not cheap, less expensive than other places.  Ideally you want tight rings, not for your fingers, but in the wood itself.

Fred talked about making the F-holes, the opening in the top of the violin, and how it influences the tone of the violin.  Fred said that the details of how the F-hole is made speaks to the maker of the violin and professionals can recognize who made the violin by the uniqueness of the F-holes.

The top of the violin affects the tone as well.  Thinner tops project more sound whereas thicker tops are for more intimate surroundings such as a parlor.

Fred showed numerous molds that he uses to craft the violins and explained how he uses them.  Fred demonstrated a hot iron (vertical and clamped down) that he uses to soften the thin side woods for bending.  Using a damp piece of denim jean fabric and the strip of wood, Fred demonstrated how the iron would create steam from the fabric which helps to soften the wood for bending.

Fred went into some detail with the peg holes and how to properly drill them.  Although Ebony looks good, the best pegs are made of Boxwood. Fred showed the tools he uses to straighten out holes that have loosed over time.

Fred explained how he uses the myriad collection of tools and planes of various sizes, from hand size down to finger.  Precise gauges help Fred determine the progress of thicknesses on the neck as well as the top.

An interesting tool is one that Fred uses to measure the precise length required for the sound post, a small piece of dowel inside the violin spanning the space between the back piece and the top and held in place by friction.  It is referred to as the “soul” of the violin.

A good collection of books was recommended by Fred, for example:

Useful Measurements for Violin Makers by Henry A Strobel

The Art and Method of the Violin Maker by Henry A. Strobel

Violin Making: A Practical Guide by Juliet Barker

Fred talked about where he acquires patterns for his molds and how he uses them.

Animal hide glue is the only glue used for assembly because it can be heated to allow the parts to be disassembled for repair.  Fred will finish with an oil-based finished as was done 400 years ago. 

Fred noted that it takes 75 years for a violin to “settle” down and bear its real sound. With today’s modern medicine maybe Fred will be around to hear some of his work.

 
Project Photos and Commentary:  Gary Rowen                         

 

 

 

 

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