Skeleton Mold

The skeleton mold is a steady and true mold for me. I got the inspiration from Andrew Carruthers. After reading and researching his methods and my propensity to do things my way, I used this mold for several models. I love it. So much easier to clean up the inside of the ribs before popping off the mold.

I started with a traditional mold in my violin making journey. Then one day, I saw in TheStrad an article and a related pdf detailing how Andrew uses a skeleton mold. I was immediately drawn to the unusual approach. It seemed so elegant and simple; yet versatile and evolved.

So, I built my first mold using old hardwood flooring from a friend. I said to him, “I’m going to use your old floor to make the foundation of my next violin.” I made my subsequent traditional violins using skeleton molds and haven’t gone back. I can’t see a reason to go back. It forces me to be more diligent when bending ribs; my linings are cleaner and have less tool marks; and popping off the mold is easier.

Now, making violins with a skeleton mold is not going to put me on a “naughty” list. Plenty of things will but this doesn’t seem to be one of them. From what I have read in forums, not many people are using or even trying this method. I’m sure factors like “I do it this way” and “why change a good thing” influence people’s choice to stay with their system. I get it, it’s just not how I like to do things.

I prefer to do things the first time by prescribed traditional means. Then I reflect on why do I have to do it this way and then make changes that fit me. The violin mold was no different. There are inner molds, outer molds and no molds (glue ribs to the back). I only asked questions about the violin mold based on those three types of construction. I didn’t even know there was a forth. I know a skeleton mold is not for everyone but for me it fits into my regime and makers’ philosophy.