Piano Wood Violin

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John E Giarrizzo
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Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

P.S. To Pianos at the dump— from Jam Session

There is a thread on destroying old pianos in the Jam section of MIMF. I posted there about my old piano, which I broke up and made a violin from its wood. This is a continuation and overlap of that post.

Virtually every piece of wood in my violin Number 013, 2010 came from this piano. Except the purfling, corner blocks, neck center strip, and tail piece inlay (ivory and ebony). Even the bridge and sound post are piano wood. The musical soul of it lives on! --- in a new body --- (That reminds me of something else I read somewhere). It is one of my richest sounding violins.
004 JEG MIMF 100_6850.JPG
005 JEG MIMF 100_7014.jpg
006 JEG MIMF 100_1027, 1028.jpg

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

A few more pictures of my Piano Wood Violin
007 JEG mimf 100_1029.jpg
008 JEG MIMF 100_1030, 1031 Rev2.jpg
009 JEG MIMF 100_1049 crop 02.jpg

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

That's a great story John,
So many old pianos have only the key tops saved. That you have made another musical instrument from the one which gave you so much pleasure I'm sure softens the blow a bit.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Barry Daniels »

I like the keyboard icon on the tailpiece.

I would be tempted to cover the lamination glue joint around the top perimeter with a sunburst.
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Jim McConkey
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Jim McConkey »

Ack! No sunbursts! Looks great as it is, and the lamination line only gives it character. I love it! What a great way to make the best of an undesirable situation.
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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Clay Schaeffer wrote:That's a great story John,
So many old pianos have only the key tops saved. That you have made another musical instrument from the one which gave you so much pleasure I'm sure softens the blow a bit.
Clay, Ya --- I loved that piano. I become emotionally attached to all my instruments. Violins 14 and 15 have backs made from the piano, and up to 20 have the linings and bass bars made from the spruce piano soundboard braces. Still have a lot of wood left.
Barry Daniels wrote:I like the keyboard icon on the tailpiece.

I would be tempted to cover the lamination glue joint around the top perimeter with a sunburst.
Barry, I think the piano inlay on the tailpiece sort of describes the violin.

I had considered inlaying a very wide shallow ebony piece, sort of like a double purling effect, but didn't think I could do it neat enough, and thought it would affect the sound, but I do like the sunburst suggestion. I like to be different, and I think I may sunburst a future violin.
Jim McConkey wrote:Ack! No sunbursts! Looks great as it is, and the lamination line only gives it character. I love it! What a great way to make the best of an undesirable situation.
Jim, I agree with the character. In Engineering, I believe that form, fit, function always looked the best.

Thanks all for the input and comments. Good to be back.

Steve Senseney
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Steve Senseney »

Nice work. It took me a minute to understand the strange shading in the middle of the instrument.

For your next, have you considered a veneer strip of walnut in between the two pieces?

I love the keyboard motif on the tailpiece.

I also remember all of the pianos that I have had and played.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Thanks, Steve.

I really like that idea of the walnut between the two layers. I have enough unsplintered soundboard left for one or two more tops. Perhaps when I finish the latest two I'm working on with standard fronts. Usually, I'm thinking about the next ones halfway through the current.

For space reasons, I have a digital piano now, and although not too bad, just not the same. I prefer real vibrating strings on real wood. "Someday" I would like one of those midi controlled acoustic pianos.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Bryan Bear »

I love everything about this thread!
PMoMC

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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Bryan Bear wrote:I love everything about this thread!
Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed sharing it.

Doug Polk
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Doug Polk »

Really like this thread. Maybe I missed something, but what is the roundish staining all around the top plate maybe an inch in from the edges? Wait! reading this thread again, I see it is from a laminated glue joint? Nice fiddle but that doesn't look right.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Doug Polk wrote:Really like this thread. Maybe I missed something, but what is the roundish staining all around the top plate maybe an inch in from the edges? Wait! reading this thread again, I see it is from a laminated glue joint? Nice fiddle but that doesn't look right.
Thanks, Doug.

Yes, that is a laminated top. I like to think of it as not looking "normal" <g> --- gives it personality --- shows that it came from it's "Father". If I ever do another from the piano wood, I think I'll use Steve's suggestion of a walnut veneer between the two halves.

John

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Jason Rodgers »

John E Giarrizzo wrote:Yes, that is a laminated top. I like to think of it as not looking "normal" <g> --- gives it personality --- shows that it came from it's "Father". If I ever do another from the piano wood, I think I'll use Steve's suggestion of a walnut veneer between the two halves.
Aside from a certain breed of archtop guitar (the "German carve"), I've never seen a carved top/back instrument with plates laminated in that orientation. Is there any particular risk of separation, or is such a glue joint as good as any other (assuming appropriate joint preparation and glue application)?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Jason Rodgers wrote:Is there any particular risk of separation, or is such a glue joint as good as any other (assuming appropriate joint preparation and glue application)?
Jason,

I don't know. I sure hope not. I saw a picture once of an instrument, cello I believe, done by a well known maker, don't remember who, that had increased the size by adding material to the upper bout in a similar fashion.

I used hot hide glue. It holds center seams and other structural parts acceptably. Why not this lamination?

If it ever does separate, I'm in big trouble. Perhaps a pro would know how to align for reglue, but I don't.

John

Michael Lewis
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Michael Lewis »

If you make a plaster mold of the top now while it is in good shape you will have the appropriate form to put it back in alignment if it ever comes apart.

I have been wondering why the dark area along the glue line, is it oxidized or UV darkened wood, or a whole lot of glue? I'm guessing the surfaces of the old soundboard are darkened by the UV it was exposed to. Like I always say, "if you can't fix it, feature it". More layers would form a nice pattern.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Thanks Michael, for the plaster mold technique.

The dark area: Again, I don't know. I assume it's a combination of all three, most likely oxodized and glue, though. Soundboard basically in the dark all those years.

"Like I always say, "if you can't fix it, feature it""

I agree --- transform a negative into a positive (my attitude about life in general <g>)

"More layers would form a nice pattern."

I am seeing another laminated top in my future.

Mario Proulx
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Mario Proulx »

I like the visible glue line; put in another vote for "if you can't avoid it, make a feature of it"!

Did you use regular HHG? That could explain why the line is so dark and visible. High clarity hide glue is nearly colorless, so even if the line was relatively thick, I would think it would be barely visible. If you want to try an ounce or two of high clarity hide glue for the next one, drop me a note. I purchased a small barrel of high clarity, 192g hide glue 12 years ago, and still have 3/4 of it left... <bg> It'll last me my career, and then some.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Mario,

I also kind of like the way the glue line looks. Trying to hide it or cover it would have looked a whole lot worse. I also am a believer in "making a feature of it".

The glue used was Behlen Master, from International Luthiers (now out of business). I think Woodcraft and Stewmac also sell it. I learned that it has a gram strength of 164. Been wanting to try some higher gram weights. I've read hundreds of pages about glue, and some think that 164 is too weak, others, just fine. I'll take you up on your offer of the high clarity stuff. I'll contact you.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by Barry Daniels »

The glue may have been really old stock. International Luthiers Supply was not selling much volume for years before they went under. Fresh HHG would be nowhere near that dark.
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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Piano Wood Violin

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Barry,

Did an experiment. I think the color is from the wood itself.

Cold glue in dispenser:
HHG Color 100_1226-1.JPG
Glue spread on white paper. Glue area circled with pencil:
HHG Color 100_1237-1.JPG
Original color of Soundboard used:
Wood Color 100_1240-1.JPG

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