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Fiddling About
The Shrew's Fiddle has a colorful bondage history
04 May , 2006 - Article by Mark, modeling by Jane and Bob, fiddle by NV-Bob, photos by LT-Switch
traight from medieval times, the Shrew's Fiddle was a device used to deliver humiliation - and
other far worse atrocities to the wearer. However, centuries later its ingenious design shows up in the garages and workshops of kinky craftsmen around the world.
The Fiddle featured in this article was created by one such woodworking craftsman, Bob, an avid reader
of this web site who took it upon himself to send us one of his designs. He sent a Fiddle and blindfold, and asked if we could use them in a photo shoot with Jane, one of our willing models.
The photos on this page are from that photo shoot, and highlight Bob's unique handiwork. The comments below are from Bob and myself.
Bob: I knew liked bondage from early childhood. Long before I was aware of sex I felt something stirring within me each time I would see a bound and gagged woman on a television detective show. At the time, little did I know that this feeling was developing into a bondage fetish.
I acquired a love for woodworking in my late teens, and later in life combined that with my interest in Medieval history - the result was to build shrew's fiddles which you see in the photos. You see, I regularly attend Renaissance fairs which all have a set or two of the obligatory stocks. But invariably, the holes in the stocks were always so large that the wrists and head of the prisoner could easily pass through when the stock was closed and locked. Damn! I suppose they were made this way on purpose for play, but I found this annoying and wanted to make devices that would actually restrain someone and be inescapable!
As the name implies, a Shrew’s Fiddle resembles a violin. It was originally a device designed to punish or humiliate a troublesome person, usually the wife whose husband deemed her as being unruly. The neck is clamped into the larger hole with the wrists held within the two smaller holes in front. The prisoner could be easily directed and pulled along at the end of a rope or chain. A double version of the shrew's fiddle was used to punish quarrelsome women. Two women were locked into the same fiddle, facing each other, and left that way until the argument was resolved and they were suitably penitent.
One day while searching through the maze of bondage links on the Web, I stumbled across Mark's site. I really liked the way it was laid out, with articles about various aspects of bondage. It was there I found an article entitled For Your Eyes Only and I discovered a lovely lady by the name of Jane Rose who was featured in the photos. I was really taken with the way she eloquently spoke of her awakening into bondage and her love for the feelings it created within her. I related so much to what she said that I e-mailed Mark and asked if I could ship him a fiddle and blindfold and requested that he ask Jane to model them for me. Mark responded saying that he is always looking for new pieces of gear and would be happy to photograph them with Jane. This web page article is the result and I couldn't be more happy with the way it turned out.
The Shrew's Fiddle you see in the photos is made of oak, stained with Minwax Provincia, and finished with a paste varnish. I have used other woods like poplar, pine and maple, but oak seems to be most satisfactory for this particular piece. The hasps and hinge came from a local home improvement store, however I'm not 100% satisfied with them but they were easy to obtain and relatively low cost. In the future I'd like to incorporate hardware that looks as though it was from the Medieval times, but for now I use spray paint that creates a hammered texture look, which is the look I'm after.
Mark: As you can see, the Shrew's Fiddle is quite a clever and effective device. However, a few words of caution: attaching the Fiddle to an overhead suspended chain like we did in the photos is actually quite dangerous. Due to unexpected fatigue or fainting, a life-threatening situation can arise because the prisoner is not able to freely fall to the floor. Another dangerous situation can occur when the Fiddle is unfettered and the prisoner free to move around - an unexpected trip and fall can potentially break the prisoner's neck if the Fiddle hits the floor before their torso. Play with bondage at your own risk. assumes no responsibility for your actions or use of this or other types of bondage equipment featured on this web site.
Once Jane was in the Fiddle and suitably secured by the overhead chain, we felt the urge to restrain her feet with a massive chain and padlock - I guess you could say we were just "fiddling about". As we wrapped the chain around her ankles, Jane said that the weight of the steel links were very pleasing and made her feel even more bound and helpless. This was precisely the result we were looking for.
Bob: I've tried various fiddle shapes; just about any shape will do so long as there's an opening for the neck and two wrist holes in front for it to be called a Shrew's Fiddle.
The size of the neck and wrist holes vary quite a bit from person to person so it's necessary for me the have accurate measurements before start work on a custom piece. Using a cloth seamstress tape to take the measurements usually works well. I cut the wrist openings in an oval shape and slightly oversize because I like to get a snug fit with just a little room for comfort. The fiddle in the photos was made for me, however the wrist openings were a bit large for Jane.
Many thanks to Mark, Jane, Bob V. and everyone else involved in putting this article together.
Click HERE for close up photos of the Shrew's Fiddle