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  2. Michael_Molnar

    The Wood Well and Merle Franz...

    I am sorry to learn of Merrill Frantz's passing. I last saw him and his wife, Diana, at the Cleveland VSA in 2016 where we shared lunch. Like Ernie, I too visited Merrill's home and business (originally Whale Bay Woods LLC). Merrill sent me home with a suitcase full of Bigleaf maple wood - an example of his generosity. I remember how inspectors at the airport questioned me about the weight and contents of my luggage full of maple. Again, like Ernie, I no longer use this maple except for some Quilted maple, a specialty of Merrill's business, The Wood Well. During my visit, Merrill showed me a large steel boat he was resurrecting for fun and sporting - an example of the extent of his enthusiasm. Near the boat were huge pallets of sliced Sitka guitar tops for one of his customers. Merrill visited me in 2015 after Diana attended a college reunion in New England. We then drove down to visit Nelson Steffy at The Chimneys in Pennsylvania where we enjoyed swapping stories and information about making violins. Merle's enthusiasm was exhilarating for sure. I also loved his knowledge of N. American wood which came with many stories. I will miss Merrill.
  3. Today
  4. Blank face

    Opinions on this label

    Old owner's or family documents discovered in paperwork and identifying violins as some 17hundred thing are causing the 2nd deep impact on my BS-o-meter today
  5. jacobsaunders

    Opinions on this label

    We told him/her that about 2 months ago…. It crossed my mind that if you took the fake label out there could well be one of those (triangular) stamps beneath. Never mind.
  6. Marty Kasprzyk

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    The problem with small instruments is that the plates and ribs are made too thick. The combination of small plate sizes and thick thicknesses produces a much higher stiffness which makes the resonance frequencies much higher than normal size instruments so the resulting sound isn't as deep sounding as larger ones. The A0 frequency for example is well known to be proportional to the f hole size and inversely proportional to instrument's volume. But it is also dependent upon the stiffness (or the opposite--compliance) of the cavity walls. Frogs have studied this extensively and can make low pitch sounds by having very flexible air sacks.
  7. Rimino

    Opinions on this label

    I guessed commercial Mirecourt work circa 1825 before I saw other’s opinions, I had pass through my hands a Grancino copy Mirecourt around same date also in poor condition but sounded outstanding, although worth only about 500-2000$ (conductors and your audience likely will never care who made your violin). Your instrument definitely looks antiqued, made to look old, not that it hasn’t aged a lot besides. I wouldn’t pay more than 2000$ and, just like when buying any violin, only if I looked long and hard at other violins in the same range.
  8. Jim Bress

    Good Soundpost Wood, Old vs New

    Not that I'm searching for a better mouse trap, but is there any deformation in "normal" sound post end grain? In other words does the combination of end grain and yielding of the plates make a harder sound post (e.g. old yellow pine nail benders that Chris mentioned) irrelevant to potential damage to the spruce top. I'm thinking the end grain of spruce sound posts can easily damage the face grain of the belly during poor adjustments, and will certainly damage the top and not the sound post if the instrument is dropped or struck. By yielding, I'm thinking of the futile exercise of trying to hammer a nail in an unsupported 2 x 4 overhanging a work bench by a few feet. It just wont happen because the board will yield absorbing the force of the hammer blow just as the plates will move with a tighter sound post up to the point when the sound post is too tight. Sorry for the early morning ramble. Probably shouldn't have brewed that second pot of coffee. -Jim
  9. Blank face

    How would you fix this properly?

    Such a claim always has a strong impact on my BS-o-meter.
  10. Taking the Washington state ferry over to buy some wood from Whale Bay Woods also known as The Wood Well has always taken an entire day. I quit using western bigleaf maple several years ago but now I've decided to buy some quilted maple to make a few 5 string fiddles. It has always been a treat to spend an entire day over on the Olympic peninsula at the Wood Well. The wood buying today was spectacular as always but...I was sadden to hear that Merle Franz (owner) had died a few days before Christmas. Merle was a violin maker and I know many here knew him. I remember meeting him the first time I went to The Wood Well. He invited me up to his house and we spent a couple of hours together talking and playing his fiddles. I told him I was new to violin making and after talking about varnish making he gave me in a gallon glass jar the nicest thickened turpentine to make some Fulton Varnish along with some linseed oil. I'll never forget his generous spirit and enthusiasm about violin making when I was just starting to get interested in building fiddles. The family business is still there in Quilcene and still selling wood. I know Brad Dorsey is relative of Merle's wife and if this has already been mentioned on MN I'm sorry for bringing it up again. Just wanted to inform those who knew Merle and didn't know of his passing.
  11. Felefar

    Maker or Owner?

    "Repaired by / Ole Petersen / Hedmarksgata No. 3 / Vaalerenga, Kristiania" Is the 1889 date the repair date? It would fit with the spelling - Kristiania was mostly used from 1877 to 1897.
  12. Nick Allen

    Nick Allen's Bench.

    I will be gluing the top onto the viola tomorrow. Always a fun time.
  13. David Beard

    Good Soundpost Wood, Old vs New

    Are you talking about a spruce part? I wouldn't use a post that is dramactically harder than the top plate. Afterall, you don't want it to drill into top. Some piano action parts are made of very hard hornbeam. Not suitable for posts.
  14. Nick Allen

    Nick Allen's Bench.

    Thank you. I'm striving to be as deliberate as I can. Of course there are still many things left to improve. The Strad model is getting linings:
  15. Quadibloc

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    Well, a bull frog isn't made of wood. The problem with string instruments that are too small isn't that they don't produce low-frequency sounds at all, but that they do so less efficiently. So the fundamental is under-represented in the sound produced.
  16. Michael Szyper

    different gram strength hide glue for center joint?

    That is the same supplier, justt English version He is based in Berlin, Germany
  17. Michael Szyper

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    Thank you for the reference, it was my auto correction on the iPad. Seems to do mostly things I don't mean.
  18. Michael Szyper

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    These lines are isophones. Sorry,my auto correction thought i would mean isoprene...!? so the graphs show the human ear sensitivity to different frequencies at given sound pressure levels. For example, at 20 dB, you need a sound pressure of 100 dB to achieve the same loudness impression as 50 dB at 4 kHz.
  19. chrissweden

    How would you fix this properly?

    Probably got stuck between the case holder. The crack (not a lift!) it most likely further then you can see.... my restorer has special glue for this which she claims will make it stronger than in original state.
  20. Violadamore

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    Michael is obviously inputting from something that spellchecks on the fly. For "isoprene" read "isophon". The graph is explained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour
  21. devaraja42

    Rosin recommendation

    Nothing wrong with Salchow rosin - in my opinion, it's kind of like the Dominant strings of rosin; it works very well for most players, in most climates, on most bows and instruments (and strings). I also love Bella Rosin, which feels similar to the subscription-only Baker's Rosin, but is more readily available, and works better, in my opinion - you don't need to apply as much of it (2-4 swipes is usually more than sufficient), grips extremely well, and unlike most other rosins, it is very easy to clean off your strings. However, it is not cheap.
  22. Nick Allen

    different gram strength hide glue for center joint?

    Found the clamps here too: https://www.fine-tools.com/hatagane.html
  23. Mountain Luthier

    Opinions on this label

    Incomplete labels are even more fun to fuss over. I think it is a "tell" that it isn't what it is labeled.
  24. dpappas

    Rosin recommendation

    Why not try Kaplan art craft from D’Addario? It’s inexpensive and works well.
  25. Marty Kasprzyk

    Baroque viola neck and fingerboard dimentions

    If a viola should ideally be 21 inches long to produce a low pitch sound how do explain that a bull frog can do it?
  26. CSchabbon

    different gram strength hide glue for center joint?

    I have been experimenting with glue a little in the past few month since there seems to be very little knowledge in the common pool. It takes quite a lot of energy and time to test different glues, glue to water ratios, and types of wood, so this cannot be stemmed by one person alone, but I have glued and broken quite a few joints. There are many other characteristics glue can have; viscosity, surface tension (or how glue can creep up cracks), melting point, gel strength, bond strength, sensitivity to bacteria (longevity)... My main conclusion about gel strength is that there seems to be a negative correlation between gel strength and bond strength, meaning that the low gel strength glue I have tested have usually resulted in a stronger bond. Or very simply said glue joints with glue over 300 gram strength came apart a little easier. There is a big difference in glues from different manufacturer, so skin, fish or bone glue etc. cannot be compared easily, as well as gel strength, although there seems to be a trend. High gel strength glues seems to be suitable for glueing patches (less penetration in the wood, so a thinner glue joint, meaning less tension and less distortion in the plate), and ground preparation/isolating the wood . Low gel strength had generally a stronger joint. To achieve a reasonable viscosity, high gel strength glues usually have to be diluted a lot for difficult jobs, resulting in a weak joint, so I try to avoid them for anything that has to withstand a lot of force. If the gel strength is extremely low like in bone glue though, the glue might penetrate to deep into the wood, also resulting in a weak joint, especially with a high water to glue ratio. Since there seems to be a strong correlation between gel strength and viscosity, it seems to make sense to use low gel strength glue for difficult jobs, like glueing cracks, or jobs that need more time like glueing a top. For spruce center joints I would not recommend the highest gel strength, but a low glue to water ration (low gel, thick glue!!!), also since glueing is pretty straight forward. For maple a thick bone glue might be the best option
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