In Cremona, the early makers glued the saddle onto the surface of the rib, extending it directly upwards through the top. These saddles are all gone, but once in a while, as on this beautiful Carlo Bergonzi violin, one gets to see the shadow of what originally was there, in the form of the cut-line arc coming down from under the left end of the present saddle. There’s also a faint trace of the mirroring line on the other side, not too easy to see.
Fun with lasers! PDFs linked to here show information extracted from a movie of the top and back of a Brothers Amati violin. The black lines on the still photos in the PDF are curtate cycloid curves generated with free CCycloid software, based on a very simple concept of best fit with the scans. Below is the original movie from which the PDFs were derived.
Cremonese edgework starts from edge thickness. Almost invariably, the thickness of the unworn edge on a Cremonese violin (in the upper and lower bouts, not the corners and c-bouts, which run by different rules) is equal to or slightly less than the distance from the edge to the purfling. This leads to the easy conclusion that the two are somehow related, and the cause seems clear: they were both set with the same tool. A single-bladed purfling cutter, such as the still-extant one of Stradivari, can do double duty: not only can it be used to cut the purfling groove; it also can serve to cut in from the side of a plate, to establish the finished edge thickness. I often do this instead of using my drill press, and of all the hand tool methods of finishing the edge thickness, it is by far the fastest and easiest. (This method of working establishes a band of square cross-section edge outside the purfling, which begs to be rounded into a perfectly circular edge, but that’s not part of this discussion.)
Here are two examples of Cremonese varnish texture. Read more »