Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegas, Moosejaw, and fiddle update

What a spectacular weekend I have just had. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote, maybe more in the life than luthier department but nonetheless.... Two weekends ago I flew to Las Vegas for my eldest sister's wedding. That was an experience, let me tell ya. I finally found the right words to describe the situation there. Money flows like water. I arrive at the airport and guess what, slot machines, etc. The gambling begins! I personally don't understand it. My sister gave me 10 bucks to gamble at the penny or slot machines and I lost it within three minutes. I just didn't get it. I mean there's really no strategy to it, it seems to  be pure chance which I guess is what gambling mostly is. Anyway, the wedding was small but lovely. I cried, which was quite unexpected. The food there was great. It was just a nice, quick, Vegas experience.

Now this weekend I just got back from my first Moosejaw! And what fun! I was able to go for free thanks to the owners of Maplelag, the ski resort where it was held. It was hosted by the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers out of Minneapolis, and I just had a fantastic time. What a warm, loving, and relaxed atmosphere, yet there was always something going on as you can imagine with 200+ people around. I also cross country skied for the first time. It's about time since I've been up north now for three years. So all weekend was old-time music and clogging and workshops on both. Maplelag is just outside Detroit Lakes, MN.

Now I am in White Bear Lake, MN just outside the twin cities. My spring break has officially started. I am staying at a hotel with my man and am doing basically whatever I want. There's an old-time jam tonight, and I want to check out the Institute of Art, other than that just hanging out.

A little bit about what's going on at school and my repair job.....
I just finished gouging out my plates for my viola. I first flattened each half, joined them (glued them together), then flatted them again, drew the outline of the plates, sawed them out, and then began gouging only the outside of the plates. Gouging the insides comes later. Unfortunately, I acquired some gouge wounds from this and got pretty irritated with myself for doing so. Now I am establishing my edge thicknesses, which means I am creating about a seven mm flat along the entire edge of each plate.
I have also glued the top back on the old fiddle I posted pictures of in the previous post after putting in about five cleats. Cleats are kinda fun. So I am finishing prepping the neck block and will began carving a scroll for it shortly. Then I get to set the new neck and scroll on to this old fiddle, sounds like fun! I am pretty interested to see what I'm going to do about varnishing the scroll, seeing as the fiddle's varnish has some pretty good wear. It has some pretty good bumps, bruises, and nicks. I might get my first taste in antiquing. It will be interesting to see how well I can make the scroll look like it belongs.

To all those wondering, I have finished three violins and am now working on a viola. I will be posting pictures of my violins shortly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Repair in the Air

I've been inspired to write a new post. You may wonder why, since I haven't written anything for months. But to sum up what has happened between then and now, here it is. I happily arrived back in Wisconsin after spending my summer in Nashville to start my third year of school. I have finished three fiddles, one of which I get to keep. I've been getting myself more familiar with guitars and lowered the action on my boyfriend's guitar and am working on doing the same for mine. I have started building a viola, which if I remember correctly is approximately 16 1/4 long. Today I just finished gluing the ribs. I started repairing an old fiddle for a friend. I bought it at an antique store for something like 15bucks. It isn't in playing condition. I will end up putting more work than it is probably worth in a shop's perspective, but it gives me something to practice on and it will be my friend's first violin. I will be putting a new neck and scroll on it since it has some pretty severe cracks that someone tried repairing. And last but not least. Last Friday I played my very first show premiering myself. It was about a two hour show with an intermission in there. I played fiddle tunes and did some singing. Had a great time! And my partner, Chris, backed me up on guitar and sang a few himself. I was on cloud nine that night. I don't think I've ever felt quite like I did.

On this old fiddle I am working on, like I said earlier, I will be carving a new scroll and neck for it. I recently bought new accessories for it including a fingerboard. So far I have taken the neck off the body and the top off.. Someone had already put a sizable patch where the soundpost is. I cleaned and glued a couple open cracks on the top and reglued some splinters that came off when the top came off. Next I will cleat the cracks. Below is what the instrument looked like when I got it.

open seam

A piece of wood was put in. You can see it on the outside here under the G peg.

On top of the pegbox walls some sort of pins were put in.