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(by P. M. Pennel, published in Popular Homecraft Magazine, date unknown)
Anyone who loves music and is handy with tools can make a cigar box violin that is capable of producing really good tones. The violin may be designed for either two strings or four, depending on the maker's ability as a craftsman and aspirations as a player.
The musical range of the four stringed instrument is the same as that of a real violin, but, although the two stringed instrument is easier to make and play, it has the compass of nearly all well known songs and melodies. Under supervison, a group of children between the ages of 10 and 15 made some very credible violins and later played them at several public affairs.
Materials include a wooden cigar box, a piece of broom or mop handle about 23 inches long, two smooth pieces of wood for fingerboard and tail piece, two small screw eyes, two (or four) ukulele pegs, a stout violin bridge, some short pieces of heavy wire, and glue, tiny nails and some extra pieces of wood for nut, sound post and bass bar. The two string violin requires violin A and D strings while the four stringed instrument uses a full set of violin strings. An old bow can be bought cheap at a music or second hand store.
As cigar boxes vary in shape and size, the measurements given here must necessarily be approximate, but following the basic principles a playable violin will result. This children mentioned in an earlier paragraph built their instruments for four strings, but strung them up with only two until they had learned to play them. The children's fiddles had slightly shorter measurements.
BODY - Scrape paper label from the cigar box and sandpaper it. Make a paper pattern the size of the bottom of the box and cut it out with afine toothed jig saw. The bottom of the box will be the top of the violin.
BASS BAR - Cut a piece of wood, 1/4 inch wide by 1/2 inch deep and the length of the inside of the box. Spread the edge with glue and glue in place near the sound hole. (Study Fig. 1 for position). The bass bar braces the wood fibres of the top of the instrument on the side of the heavier strings.
NECK - Flatten the end of the broomstick on both sides for a distance of about 5 inches. In this flat part bore holes for the pegs about 1 inch apart. File the holes until the pegs entering alternately from opposite sides, come through far enough for the string holes to be seen.
ATTACHING NECK TO BODY - Cut a hole large enough to admit broom handle in the end of the box. The edge of the hole should be about 1 inch from the edge of the box with its sound holes, so that the fingerboard will slant at about the right angle toward the bridge. Pass the neck through the hole to the other end of the box. Secure in place from the outside with a screw eye and a few tiny nails.
SOUND POST - Make a small round post as long as the depth of the box and a little less in thickness than a lead pencil. Glue the end in place as indicatedby X in Fig. 1. Now glue the cover on the bottom of the box and add a few nails around the edge to hold it tight.
The second post conducts the sound vibrations to the neck of the instrument (whence they emerge through the sound holes) and also supports the top.
(to be continued)
Hi, I just joined this site- as soon as I saw the violin thing. I have a cigar box and stuff, but I can't figure out how to download the rest of the plans- any help would be appreciated- thanks
Amorel Lerner said:
Hey Amorel, check out my set of pictures again. I added a few helpful details in the photo captions.
Amorel Lerner said:Hi, I just joined this site- as soon as I saw the violin thing. I have a cigar box and stuff, but I can't figure out how to download the rest of the plans- any help would be appreciated- thanks
Amorel Lerner said: