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Rib Assembly

Page history last edited by Jonathan McKinley 10 years, 11 months ago

     I began the rib assembly by first making a large mold out of several sheets of plywood. (I used plywood because it is durable and does not warp) This mold is used to assemble the entire rib structure which will be made up of six different segments after the ribs are shaped and bent. The mold is held together with several dry wall screws to allow me to take it apart later on.  Notice I have already attached the end blocks and corner blocks which are made out of spruce. I attached the blocks using very small amounts of hide glue which allow me to remove the blocks when I want to separate the rib assembly from the mold. 


I also made three smaller molds for the upper, lower, and c bouts. These molds are temporary because they will only be used once to bend the six individual sections.



I began by using one eight inch thick pieces of maple that are two inches high and twenty inches long.


I thicknessed the rib material using a small diamond coated bit on the drill press. I preset this bit to the correct height of 1.2mm. I then used a cabinet scraper to remove any marks left by the drill press bit. Once all marks were removed from the surface of the wood the ribs were the finished thickness of 1.1 mm.



I bent the strips of wood using a standard Black and Decker clothes iron set to the hottest setting. While the iron was heating up I soaked the ribs for a  few minutes in warm water. This moisture will allow the iron to steam the wood. 

I would press the thin rib material to the iron's hot surface. I then slowly wrap the wood around the form making sure the rib material doesn't crack or split.

I then clamp the the rib to the mold while it is drying in a warm place.

The finished ribs keep their shape after they are removed from the mold.

After the rib segments are bent I began to glue them only to the corner and end blocks

Eventually all the ribs are glued on to the corner and end blocks. The projections that form the c bout are now shaped until they are pleasing to the eye. Now it is time for the for linings.

Linings are placed on the inside of the ribs to simply thicken the edge of the ribs so there will be a larger surface for gluing. I used willow for my linings because it is light weight and it can easily be bent. I follow the same process of thicknessing and bending as I previously did with the rib material. When finished the linings will be 2 mm thick and roughly 5 mm tall. 


The linings are laid out and are ready to be glued.

To insure the linings will not come loose the ends of the linings are mortised into the corner blocks (not the end blocks). The top of the lining that forms the glueing surface is left flat, however all of the material below is rounded over.

The entire rib assembly can then be sanded flat with a large sanding board. The rib structure is then given a very small taper starting with 29.75 mm at the upper block and ending with 31 mm at the lower block. From here the rib assembly will be left on the mold until it can be glued to the back plate. This ensures the rib structure will not bend and warp.





Making a violin





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