A couple of months ago a member of the Fiddlerman Forum posted to ask if anyone had built a kit fiddle. I posted the video of Kelly playing my Six Foot Fiddle and answered a few questions about the build which prompted another member of the forum to request that I build him a kit fiddle. I tried to dissuade him, pointing out that a pretty decent fiddle can be bought for not a lot of money, but he insisted he loved the sound of the SSF and wanted one just like it, but in Red. Okie-dokie! We aim to please here at the Kit Fiddle Finishing Factory, South Beach Branch (trademark pending πŸ˜‰

The kit has been ordered and received (same eBay seller) and here’s a sneak peak at what was in the box:

Ebony fingerboard! It will need black stain to even out the grain and considerable hollowing on the underside – it’s heavy! The neck and scroll are nicely carved with well-fitting pegs.

I plan to add a black outline to the edges of the scroll a la the Messiah.

The grain of the maple back is nothing special, but the channel and purfling groove are very nicely cut, with bee stings at the corners and a nice rounded edge.

If the SSF is a good example, the lighter spots will varnish up into glowing specks.

The end blocks are well cut and installed, but I’m not at all happy with the state of the corner blocks and linings – they are a mess! The back appears to have been glued with hide glue (or something similar that is water soluble) so it might not be out of line to make an outside mold and build a new garland. Flamed maple sides and linings can be had for very little cash (spruce blocks are ten a penny from the boat-building scrap pile at the moment πŸ˜‰ and it would be so much better. There are disadvantages to using an outside mold, but likely this fiddle kit was built using one in the first place so it won’t change the overall look.

The grain on the spruce belly is quite interesting –

Nice, tight grain, with quite a few dark stripes. I like it! There are some cosmetic dings and some glue residue that will need to be removed.

The FFs are nicely cut and the channel and bee stings are similar as those on the back. The channel is not as neatly cut, with some rough wood around the edges of the groove that will get a post of their own.

Overall the quality is better than the SSF kit. The plates are thin and carved symmetrically, as far as can be told without putting a caliper on them. More details to come!

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