DIY – making a violin case

Posted by jerry on November 17th, 2004 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

Galvanised into action as it is only a week and a half before Majors Creek I have set about building a new fiddle case – a compact one – this one measures 70cm x 40cm x 15cm and will hold two fiddles. The length means the bows will sit diagonally in the lid – but it also means the case can be used on stage to put drinks on 🙂 as well as to be sat on during festival sessions – this will be one strong case. The sides and ends are from red cedar with full width dovetail joints. the top and bottom will be sheets of aluminium with a couple of wooden braces for the mid-top and bottom – it will be as strong as any flight case but hopefully will be fairly light too.

The inside will be lined with foamcore – a paper-covered polystyrene art board that is really strong and provides great cushioning. This will be covered in fabric – like a velvet or velveteen secured with spray adhesive.

I made the frame in about an hour tonight between other things – luckily the dovetail jig was finally set up right and the whole thing went together as though I had planned it! I had real trouble last week setting it up – then I downloaded the instructions to an Axminster dovetail jig of virtually identical design and suddenly it became much clearer – you have to picture the box or whatever inside-out when you lay out the pieces. And the offset between the pins and tails is exactly a half inch. The rest is in getting the right depth for the dovetail bit in the router – too high and the joint is loose, too low and the joint will need to be hammered together. After a load of test pieces using cheap pine offcuts I managed to get the height just right. So I’m pretty happy with the result so far.

With the frame built from Australian red cedar and the aluminium cut to size I need to assemble the box once the varnish on the timber frame has dried, and then put together the lining to provide a comfortable nest for the fiddles.

Here is the start of the process – I cut two sides and two ends in Australian red cedar, and using the dovetail jig dovetailed the pieces together and glued them on final assembly. Then I cut two cross braces and dovetailed those into the upper and lower sides. The lower brace has been shaped with a belt sander to accommodate the belly of the fiddle – the other part provides support for the neck join on the hardanger.

DIY violin case

I then cut a sheet of aluminium (3mm thick) to fit the top and bottom, and aluminium angle stock for the edges, so it will look like this:

DIY fiddle case

The cross braces will provide support in case the box is knocked on the top or bottom – I’m aiming to have it strong enough to stand on when it is finished! More on progress later – I’m hoping to have it completed in time for Majors creek Folk Festival – and then the China tour!

A quick tip on cutting the mitres in the aluminum angle stock – I used my mitre saw – but replaced the the saw blade with a metal cuttoff wheel – works a treat and keeps the angles neat 🙂

I then ran a bead of Tarzan’s Grip – general purpose building adhesive – around the frame and over the cross-braces and secured the aluminium sheet by holding it in place with the aluminium angle stock and drilling through the angle stock and sheet into the frame timber and screwing it down using bronzed chipboard screws. I then attached the corner protectors by drilling into the aluminium and pop-rivetting them to the aluminium.

With both sides clad in aluminium you have a closed box with no means of opening it, so I took it to the table saw and set the saw guide so that the blade would clear all aluminium bits plus the depth of the screws and neatly cut the box in half along its length – voila! a box with a lid 🙂

Now fit a couple of hinges and case catches – and of course a carry handle and the basic box is complete – ready to be fitted out for two fiddles (or photographic equipment etc as you choose). More on the fit-out in the next post. In the meantime, the case looks like this:

DIY fiddle case


Jerry – Americans apologise for inflicting Dubya on the world

Posted by jerry on November 11th, 2004 — Posted in Journal

In the wake of a number of ‘Sorry’ campaigns, whether over the ‘Stolen generation’ of aboriginal children, or churches over priests behaving badly, comes this site – Sorry everybody – for voting in George Dubya Bush as the US President.

Check out the gallery pages – this is huge!

I like the blurb:
“Some of us — hopefully most of us — are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us — hopefully most of us — are truly, truly sorry. And we’ll say we’re sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren’t.”

Regardless of which side of politics you are on, this site is a real innovation and a breath of fresh air – such a simple idea – well done guys 🙂


New fire show

Posted by jerry on November 8th, 2004 — Posted in Journal

The Full Circle rehearsal with Will o the Wisp went very well indeed! The new fireshow for Majors Creek (Music at the Creek) Folk Festival is shaping up to be awesome – we are still testing the wireless gear but we are planning to free up at least a couple of members of the band and our interaction with the firedancers will be amazing. We have choreographed segments which will include me jumping as I often do anyhow while playing the fiddle, except this time there will be at least three firestaffs passing underneath … it’s all in the timing, but it should certainly look spectacular!

Just thought I’d pass that on 🙂


Spam – the meat product returns

Posted by jerry on November 5th, 2004 — Posted in Journal

Hormel’s Spam. Many of us remember with mixed feelings the low-cost luncheon meat that gave internet advertising its name. It was ubiquitous and slightly annoying, but always there – like the spamvertising – and the Monty Python sketch – but now Hormel Foods the makers of the meat have brought it back to the market and are fighting to regain recognition for the name in its original sense – the eponymous tinned meat. It has featured in Wired Magazine, and now on BBC news



On shopping

Posted by jerry on November 3rd, 2004 — Posted in Journal

As a bloke I really enjoy shopping – including the usual weekly food, loo rolls and detergent etc – it’s always a bit of a challenge to find which are genuine specials and which are fakes. Shopping centres are a bit like contemporary fashion museums too, so I can window shop for ages musing on the potential uses for strange objects and marvel at the very idea of some poorly made or designed item actually attracting a buyer!

I agree with some commentators that it must have something to do with the hunter-gatherer instinct and tracking down a bargain is all part of the fun 🙂