Hey Gang,

So, I've got most of the parts together to start building what I am going to call the "Stumpwater" fiddle. It ain't done yet, but I'm already working on the "Stumpwater Blues" song, "...Oh, I've got the blues...Got the Stumpwater blues...".

I have 5 cigar boxes now, trying to decide which is the best one for a first fiddle build. Local tobacconist, B&B Cigars sells the empty boxes for $3.00 each and donates all proceeds to the local animal rescue folks.

I bought the tailpiece off Ebay for $3.99. Uke pegs off Ebay for $3.99. I think I will use the poplar for the neck. I am thinking I will glue two pieces together and use it against the grain for strength. I am going to use the red oak for the fingerboard. 

If I use the thicker cigar box, the "Nicks" box, it will be narrower, but I will need to put the poplar through the cigar box, I think. If I use the a thinner box, I can float it similar to what Steve does with Carolina fiddles. 

My thoughts were to build my own bridge, because all of them I've found are for a curved body surface. However, I am open to feedback if the consensus is the storebought bridge is better (otherwise, anybody ever build their own bridge before?)

Any and all feedback, suggestions, ideas, or nitpicking is welcome!

Thanks, AL.

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Replies to This Discussion

And don't forget your waist!  Or add extra height in your neck angle.  That is a nice looking box.  And it is wide!

Hi Diane, 

Yes, I'm a little worried about width and bowing, but I am hoping it will clear. I have a fingerboard that will go on top of the neck, which will lift it a little higher. We'll see how it goes. This one is just practice, I guess!

AL in Asheville

Now, the F-Holes, I found the templates using Google, but I believe they actually originated on this CBN site!

The cuts turned out a little rough. I reckon I can hasp them out a little. Still, it gives the instrument a bit of the "folk instrument" look, so that the "rough" appearance is not all a bad thing. We'll see.

AL in Asheville

Hey Gang, 

So, at the end of weekend one, here we are with the pieces sort of set in place.

I'm hoping to finish it next weekend!

AL in Asheville

Hey Gang, 

So now, the issue is the neck and how to get the fingerboard rounded. Can I just sand the edges of the fingerboard to round it off some?

AL in Asheville

If you already play fiddle, a non-standard fingerboard might be pretty annoying. I confess, I did not make any of mine, I got cheap ones off ebay and never regretted it! 

Hey Diane, I ordered a cheap fingerboard off Ebay yesterday, was less than $10 and shipping was free. So, we'll see what it looks like when it arrives. I noticed on most fiddles the angle of the fingerboard is cut into the fingerboard, with the neck more or less straight. I cut the angle into the neck, so I hope I don't end up with the fingerboard too high. On the other hand, I can probably shave some height off the neck. Funny, I'm at that point in the build where I find myself considering how I'm going to do it different "next time". One thing I liked about the idea of making my own fingerboard, is the option of making it wider than a traditional violin. I have short fingers and find it difficult to fiddle when the strings are so close together near the end of the neck. I'm not sure I could cut a progressive curve into the surface though, that would be workable. Regardless, hoping to make more progress this weekend. I appreciate you're feedback. Thanks, AL in Asheville.

Member Naz Nomad here made a radius-ing jig to use with a router for making a progressive curve for a fingerboard.  He had a vid up for a while, but I think he took it down.  You could contact him if you wish.

The "stumpwater" is looking good, taking good shape! I see you got the angled neck thing going on. You could file and sand the bridge down, or shape it with a sharp knife sand sandpaper, but if you want a real professional finish to match your tailpiece look, they sell real bridges on EBay for under $12. That's how I will go on my next violin.

Hi All,

So, I purchased an ebony fingerboard off Ebay, which means I had to reexamine my strategy for the fiddle neck. I also bought the tailpiece off Ebay, as per Tim's suggestion. Regarding the tweaking of the neck, I had to decrease the angle to accommodate the addition of the fingerboard. So, here is the neck in its present state. I just polyurethaned it again, waiting for it to dry.

I'll keep you posted!

AL in Asheville

Always a challenge, isn't it! I chronicled my journey through the hurdles and challenges of building my violin on my blog page. It may prove enlightening to those constructing a cigar box violin the first time. I just sold my creation online for some good cash, so I guess it was worth it, and definitly a learning experience. I'll know exactly what I need to do for the next one. At the end of the day, the important thing will be: will the neck angle and fingerboard height be the correct height and angle for the bridge? The strings must be at the correct height off the fingerboard to be playable up the neck, which is why I suggested working this all out in a full-scale drawing of the box, neck, fingerboard and bridge in profile, using the string distance between an outside string and the ends of the fingerboard from a standard violin, to be sure you establish the correct angle to set the neck. The bridge height is non-negotiable; the neck angle must serve it correctly. Hope it all works out for you. Keep us posted as you go, and good luck!

You will have to adjust the bridge either by filing the feet down flat, or by glueing shims to fill up the angle, and then filing down flat. Either way works, but the last way keeps the bridge at the correct height.


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