Sunday, February 21, 2016

Portioning Out Fairness

My children impress me.  I'm biased, I know, and I love them on a level that has become my reason for being, but still.  There are moments when they surprise me with something new and unexpected where I just stop and wonder how I had a hand in creating such lovely people.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I made the kids breakfast.  I don't often make them breakfast anymore because I stay up very late to work so I sleep in a little while Ian gets the kids off to school.  We're in a habit of making them a hot breakfast every morning, and Ian is out of town for Army work this weekend, so I decided to make crepes for the kids before I went to work.  (That sounds fancier than it is but crepes are easy when you make them regularly.  All my kids can make crepes.)

Mona and Aden were still in pajamas upstairs, but Quinn was available to help me.  He emptied the dishwasher and set the table while I stood at the stove.  When breakfast was ready he rang the bell and settled in to eat.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Violin Body

I've put in a lot of late nights recently because I want very much to work on my own instrument, but there just isn't time available to do it.  So I make time between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.  This means some nights I only get about three or four hours of sleep, but I can do that for a while without a problem.  Eventually I kind of crash and go to bed really early one night which seems to catch me up, but for the most part the late night schedule works out.  I can focus without interruption.  (Or distraction.  When my kids are up I want to be with them, so it's better if I wait until they are all in bed.)

In any case, here is the progress I've made on the violin body I'm working on:

When last I posted about this instrument I'd finished carving the scroll, and had gotten as far as the purfling on the body.

Next up was to rough graduate the top plate, then do the f-holes.
F-holes are the sound holes cut into the top plate on either side of the bridge.  They need to be large enough to help sound escape from the inside of the instrument's body, but not so large that they compromise the structural integrity of the top.  The stems of the f-holes need to be wide enough to easily get a soundpost through.  (As a repair person I know this is essential, since I am someone who has to repeatedly do soundpost work on instruments once they are out in the world.  When I have to work with a violin where the f-holes are too narrow it makes my job more difficult than it should be, so I'm mindful not to inflict the same problem on others in future.)

Carving f-holes is tricky.  They are one of those elements of violin making where there is nowhere to hide.  You can tell a lot about a luthier's skill level by how he or she carves their f-holes.  F-holes by different makers have different characteristics, and this was my first time carving in the Amati style, so that was fun.