Home Page
Site Map
Contact me


Many instruments built today are closer to classical instruments than those built fifty years ago, even with respect to those constructed in the eighteen hundreds.
The return to, or the appreciation of traditional techniques (the classical system) has come about in the last ten years. It is not possible today to use the procedure completely, and the first reason is technical.
Traditional instrument makers applied the neck without a grafted joint, simply gluing it to the upper surface, and fixing it with nails from the inside through the head block. One must assume that all the operations to close or seal the chamber, edge-modelling, finishing, were done with the neck already attached to the instrument, with all the practical difficulties, for example alignment, that such a situation includes.

However, with reference to traditional construction, nothing can be taken for granted.
Another technical problem is evident in the fact that, gouging and arching the shell on the closed instrument, with thicknesses already established, it is not possible to check that project parameters have actually been followed.

When I build on reference models I concentrate on a rigorous style, where no incision is left to chance. Each time I pick up a mould, I discover a new nuance or detail which had escaped me previously, because I don't repeat the same model time after time.

Passing frequently from a Cremonese (Amati, Stardivari, Guarneri) to a Brescian (Gasparo da salò) or Venetian (Santo Serafino) reference, stops the eye from becoming used to a model, and each time this makes me reflect on a particular detail, even if I have already made it many times. In this way I sometimes discover imperfections in the form, which I modify and refine on the workshop moulds. In this way production evolves constantly, both from a functional and an aesthetic point of view.

It's highly improbable that an instrument maker does something genuinely new; each project starts from perhaps an instrument seen, or maybe a photograph of an instrument from another period, or from the modification of models already used.

One of the best moments of the work is that concerning the creation of the idea of the model, the preparation of the design of the various parts, the shapes and forms in cardboard, the details. Calculating proportions, trials and tests, comparison with other instruments.
This is the phase where the aesthetic form and the creativity of the instrument-maker must blend with the expertise and the precise yet constant geometric proportions needed to create a harmonic and pleasurable instrument.

From the project mould one obtains the internal form in wood.

To the form, with a few drops of glue, the rough blocks are tacked, when shaped, thus completing the profile of the instrument: then the head and base blocks are cut and added to the form.

Gluing the ribsGluing the ribs
At this point the heat-curved ribs are glued.

(Click the picture to magnify)
<= 71 Kbdot 71 Kb =>

After having glued the rib-linings (only on the underside to enable the creation of the form), the silhouette of the instrument is ready to be transposed onto the spruce plate and onto the maple base plate which up until this point were two boards of planed wood.

When I have to choose timber, I like to look at it, to search for the imperfections to avoid them during the cutting, to imagine the parts of the instrument already formed in this block, and to think about how to remove them without ruining them. I prefer woods with a marked grain and irregular eccentric flashes.
In establishing definitive thickness, I am guided by the hardness and weight of the wood.

Once the front and back tables have been trimmed and contoured, the maximum height at the centre of the arching, and the thickness of the sides calculated. These are used as a reference point for the sculpture of the arching. They are firstly reduced with a chisel, then with small curved planes and finally finished with blades.

Gouging the woodMeasuring the thickness
The thicknesses are obtained by gouging the wood from the inside.

(Click the picture to magnify)
<= 62 Kbdot 67 Kb =>

Drawing the FFApplying the bass bar
During the sculpturing of the arching I draw the FF sound holes) several times on the plate until I am completely satisfied. Then I apply the bass bar.

(Click the picture to magnify)
<= 65 Kbdot52 Kb =>

Once the bottom is glued to the ribs one can finally extract the mould and close the harmonic case, gluing on the plate.

The purfling is carried out, very fine strips are inlayed, creating an incision around the now perfectly formed contour.
The final finishing of the body involves the rounding of the edges, which is normally done before grafting the neck - these last operations, while not of a particularly creative character, are important for the overall success of the instrument.
In each phase of the work I do not think of the instrument as an end in itself, but complementary to the artistic realization of the musician.

The neck, composed of the head, scroll and the finger board, is obtained by reduction from a perfectly squared block.

The scrollPegs case
Each cut is guided by a mould, for the contour and the development of the back. After the sculpting of the scroll, and the perforation of the holes for the tuning pegs, the neck is shaped on the fingerboard and is inserted in the complex jointing in the harmonic case, attaching to the head block, finishing with the shaping of the heel, and the button.

(Click the picture to magnify)
<= 73 Kbdot 51 Kb =>

Finishing with blades The nude instrument is patiently finished with blades, before varnishing.

(Click the picture to magnify)
<= 71 Kbdot 62 Kb =>
Instrument ready to be varnished
        stradivari, guarneri, amati, bergonzi, guadagnini, gagliano, storioni, bertolotti, maggini, gasparo, balestrieri, gibertini, ruggeri, rogeri, salò, montagnana, seraphin, italy, violin, viola, violoncello, viola d'amore, violine, violon, altos, bergamo, brescia, cremona, italia, classic cremonese, cremona school, brescian, venetian, italian luthier, violin construction, baroque violin, baroque viola, old violin, italian violin, fine violin, italian viola, cremona violin, italian violin maker, workshop, イタリア製バイオリンメーカー, 弦楽器製作家, 弦楽器, クレモナ ヴァイオリン, ヴァイオリン, 古いバイオリン, ヴィオラ クレモナ, バイオリン製作, クレモナ国際ヴァイオリン製作学校, バイオリン, イタリアンバイオリン, アンティークバイオリン, ブレシア, ベルガモ, ストラディバリ, ヴィオラダモーレ Bruno Costardi Bruno Costardi Bruno Costardi
Use of this Web site means that you accept the Terms of use

www.minugia.it/costru-e.htmdot © 1998 - 2018 Copyright Bruno Costardi