Posts Tagged ‘Lion-head’

Completed Varnish on Lion head Viola

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Varnish is complete on the Lion-head viola.

I will still have to complete the rubbing out of the varnish and the final setup of the instrument, but I expect to have it playing by Friday. Here are some current photos:

Front of lion head viola with final varnish

Front of lion head viola with final varnish

 

Side of lion head viola with final varnish

Side of lion head viola with final varnish
Back of lion head viola with final varnish

Back of lion head viola with final varnish

Scroll of lion-head viola with final varnish

Scroll of lion-head viola with final varnish

Side of lion head scroll with final varnish

Side of lion head scroll with final varnish

I am sure there will be minor retouches to do after everything is complete, but this is pretty much what it is going to look like. I like the way the big leaf maple is glowing under the varnish, and even the hard rock maple scroll seems to glow a little. I hope it plays well. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Lion-head viola with three coats varnish

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Lion-head viola looking good, with three coats of varnish, but far from finished.

Here are a few pictures of the viola with three coats varnish. I definitely intend to go darker, but it is looking sorta nice. I especially like the way the heavily flamed one-piece Oregon Maple back is beginning to show its inner glow.Back with three coats varnish 

Side with three coats varnish

 

Scroll with three coats varnish

I may not get much done on it tomorrow. I need to clean the chimney and move firewood.

 

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Lion-Head Viola Progress.

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Lion-Head Viola Progress:

OK, here are some photos of the way things ended up tonight: The color is due to a fresh coat of strong coffee…I had intended to take the pictures before I soaked the whole thing in coffee, but slipped a cog, there, somewhere, so this is what you get.

Front view Lion-head viola before varnishing

 

side view lion-head viola before varnishing

 

back view lion-head viola before varnishing

 

front view lion-head scroll

 

side-view lion-head scroll

 

You can tell I got my peg holes a little off– I will have to move them, or my strings will definitely end up rubbing on the adjacent pegs.

I hope to be varnishing by this weekend. I will keep you posted.

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Lion-head viola in progress

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Not your “typical” Lion-head viola

So many of the “lion-head” instruments of the past have been either so highly stylized that they were unrecognizable, or so poorly carved as to achieve the same result, or, when done in a completely recognizable fashion, were representative of a snarling, dangerous beast which I find difficult to associate with a viola. I wanted the dignity and power of the lion– the majesty, to coin a cliché, and not the predatory beast.

Grafted Scroll

I wasn’t even sure I could carve such a head, so, rather than risk a perfectly good neck-billet on a gamble against my questionable artistic ability, I decided to plan a grafted scroll. I have done this in the past, but this is the first time it was planned. Usually, a scroll graft is a repair, or a major alteration. In some (relatively rare) instances, a maker will perform a scroll graft in the new-making process, so that the new instrument will seem to be old. (No deception involved, it is just that virtually all instruments made before 1850 now have a scroll-graft, as a result of a shift in musical demands, and changing construction styles. Most of the “baroque” instruments were re-worked in this way, so that very few have the original neck.) The scroll-grafts I have done were repairs, up until now.

Knowing that there was a very good chance that my lion-head might not turn out well, I chose a very hard, even-grained maple block for the head, and only enough of the pegbox area to permit a graft. When/if the head turns out acceptably, I have a viola neck billet prepared to graft into the hard maple head, and after that it can be treated as any other scroll/neck for a viola.

Lion-head in the making

This is how the Lion-head looks for the moment. The mane will have to fair into the cheeks of the pegbox–(which haven’t been sawn out, yet, as full-width is easier to hold in the vise.) That will have to happen soon, to finalize the shape of the head and mane.

Oliver Lion-head Scroll (unfinished)

Lion-head scroll from bass side

 

Oliver lion-head scroll (unfinished)

Lion-head scroll front quarter

Oliver Lion-head scroll (Unfinished)

Lion-head scroll from Treble side

16.5″ Oliver Viola

The proposed viola is 16.5″ on the body, with a one-piece big-leaf maple back, and Sitka spruce top. The neck is big-leaf maple, except for the hard-rock maple head. (BTW, that hard-rock maple really earns its name– it was really hard to carve). As the viola is one of my own design, it is labelled an “Oliver” viola (my middle name, and that of my Dad and Grand-dad.) I use that name for all the instruments I design myself. Any design I copy from someone else’s work, I label as “Modelled after…”

The other violas I have made to this design (same body as #11 Oliver Viola– see the chronology) have had very good tone…I seriously doubt that the lion-head will affect the tone significantly for better or worse. But some people like a traditional scroll and will not like the lion. Others may find the lion attractive. We’ll see how folks respond. So far, I like it.

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