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Quentin Clark

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Everything posted by Quentin Clark

  1. With strings going sharp it could be the neck is pulling to one side.
  2. MANIFO, based on my efforts to make use of Vigdorchik's system what I think can be smelled is extraordinary balance across all four strings with immediate and sensitive response throughout the entire register. I can't help but feel a system that consistently produces these qualities doesn't deserve to be mocked by those unwilling or unable to use it. The main problem and perhaps the root to most of the flak surrounding the method is, even with a gifted ear, an open mind, and complete confidence in my abilities to work with wood, I found it extremely difficult to use.
  3. Quote: I believe Vigdorchik to not only be erroneous in his conception of how a plate works To my knowledge, Vigdorchik never offered a conception of how a plate works. I'm left to wonder at the motivation and cause to make such a bogus statement. Was it poorly worded? Quote: but also in his ability to detect the differences in tone in his "diagonals". With your following quotes in mind, I would say your view offers more reason to doubt your abilities to detect differences in tone rather than Vigdorchik's. Quote: I was in touch with another (world class) maker who did use Vigdorchiks techniques (apparently successfully) in order to augment his own making practices Quote: I have spoken with a number of makers who subscribe to his theories, but I don't Michael Darnton: Quote: From what I can tell, just about no one's been able to replicate or make useful sense of Vigdorchik's method And from what I can see, the world is a very dark place. Oh wait... my eyes were closed Never mind Quote: In the scientific community, that's usually enough to make something "simply wrong"--at least for the moment. Do you have some contrary evidence you'd like to throw into the discussion that might to reverse the situation. Better yet, what can you tell us about your own experiences using it that leads you to defend it? What from my own experience would be more convincing than ctviolin and I knowing half a dozen makers between us that apply some form of Vigdorchick's method? I'm defending one mans half century of violin study from being lumped into the same category as talk of Miss Cleo healin' violins ova'da phone doan'ja no? Other than that I see no cause to dive deeper than I already have.
  4. Quote: Perhaps I was only reinforcing my preconceived ideas about what I would find - I don't know That's a long way from saying so 'n so is simply wrong
  5. Quote: I "wasted" a great deal of energy not long ago attempting to unravel Vigdorchik, and much to my dismay I discovered that even though I think he's totally off base with his ideas - attempting to understand him (and realizing that he was simply wrong) led me to a greater understanding of why my own techniques work. So it really wasn't a waste of time. I'd be interested to hear details of how you or anyone else came to the realization Vigdorchik is "simply wrong".
  6. As much as I like to read what Michael has to say here on any given subject, for what seems like a ages now, I've often wondered if his time might not be better spent. Regardless, I'll look forward to reading what ever he has to say whether it be here or in print. I should also add, the same goes for Jeffery Holmes
  7. A couple of decades ago I read an article suggesting the scraper's hook wasn't necessary. I played around a bit and found while the no-hook method didn't last quite as long I felt it gave better control, the finished surface appeared to be a little finer, and the small amount of time lost resharpening was gained back by the sharpening process being much faster. I've continued going hookless ever since for both cabinets and violins with a square edge (twice the cutting edge for one sharpening ) on all my freehand scrapers. A note of caution; the reason this method probably works well for me is because by the time I am ready to scrape there is not much scraping to do.
  8. As Manifo has implied, there is a lot to learn about hand planes. There is no chance of straight away getting good use out of a high quality low angle plane on figured wood without having a solid background in hand planing already. What ever type of plane you try next I strongly recommend you learn about tuning it first before going too far. Fine Wood Working Techniques (I believe volume one) is an excellent source. No, I don't mean tap tuning, ha ha. Basic principles of sharpening are also covered, without which a low angle plane will seem the wrong tool, for example. Or what seems a perfectly keen edge won't hold up long at all. Perhaps a low angle on curly ribs is not the best way to go, I just have to say it can/does work with out any tearing and that I prefer a planed surface to a scraped one, doing so when ever I am able.
  9. Same as the gap you would want on a 30" or 60" board. as close to zero as you can get
  10. The trick/goal is to add translucent color. You want everything the wood has to offer to shine through as much as possible without being hindered. It's hard to understand how much you're missing out on by using a stain unless you absolutely know wood can be gorgeous with out any finish at all. Aside from the possible drawbacks Chris pointed out with modern poly-whose-its, most violin makers along with their customers want to stick with traditional materials that have been around for at least a few 100 years. Plus home brew is always gonna sound more sexy
  11. First burlguy, get what I said right: ‘Potential wood beauty'. What I will tell you is the same thing a friend told me. Linseed oil is known to have a deleterious (his word not mine) affect on wood. I never asked him for his source or bothered looking for written proof since I had ample reason to trust him on the subject. What I have done over the years since is to keep an eye on various clear finishes known to contain linseed oil and see what takes place. Not so great looking to begin with IMHO (in my harsh opinion), I've observed within a few years the type of finish you recommend destroys refractive properties on all of the several varieties wood I've seen it directly applied to. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Casper, How would you feel about nay sayers to a secret shared if the advice was along the lines of say... a good way to get around NYC is to cross against the light? A bit extreme but that's pretty much akin to my gut reaction after seeing burlguys secret varnish recipe.
  12. I would just as soon put used motor oil on a violin rather than let any mixture of linseed oil near bare wood. That goes for furniture, let alone a stringed instrument. Whether raw or cooked it may offer a form of solid lasting protection but a certain amount of the woods potential beauty will be forever lost over the years. Adding such with the idea it may one day lead to the secret of enhanced sound is an even worse idea. Please, just don't. Okay?
  13. A careful read of the article should reveal maples are named as a host to the pathogen. Not mentioned in the article; so is almost every woody plant it comes into contact with. To date the only danger is to oaks and rhododendrons. Yes, some redwood seedlings have been affected but there are no signs it will ever be a danger to redwoods past the seedling stage. It should also be noted some oaks are showing resistance.
  14. Make sure the string isn't buried into the bridge or nut.
  15. I used shellac thinner-ethanol/methanol, not Bekhol as Behlens recommends so I suspect that's my problem. After reading Jeff's results, out of curiosity I tried mixing the castor oil with straight thinner this morning and it seemed to stay mixed, after adding shellac it instantly turned cloudy and began to separate after an hour or so. One day maybe I'll learn it doesn't pay to be cheap Since I've no good reason to try castor now I'll try Bekhol first, then spike oil and see if I can improve my consistency at getting good coats. One day I think I've got my brushing technique down pat only to be completely dissatisfied my next try. I've removed quite a bit more shellac than I've been willing to leave be to date Thanks for the help folks. I was about ready to yield to the temptation of air brushing. Oh the shame!
  16. The problem I found with using the drug store variety was it would never really mix with the shellac. My attempt to use it was to make the shellac a little easier to apply by slowing the dry time, which a few drops didn't seem to affect. I like the chippy nature of shellac so long as it doesn't do it too readily, perhaps it was best I never found a varnish grade of castor oil.
  17. I start with soaked ribs, use a fairly low temp (hair curling iron set on hi) with a dip as soon as I know the rib is dry. As already suggested, try to keep the temperature and bending pressure as consistent throughout the area being worked as possible. It may take 15 minutes instead of a few seconds but the fracture rate so far for me has been zero. Maybe it's the way I prep the wood but I've yet to see the grain raising or ripple effect on well figured wood using this method [This message has been edited by Quentin Clark (edited 07-12-2001).]
  18. Bink, "for best results" in terms of looks and what it can do to the tone. Not that anything you are doing now looks or sounds bad, it will just look and sound better with a good ground beneath it. Alone, shellac applied to raw wood will alter the tone of an instrument. While a thin coat (less than 1 lb. cut) isn't noticeable, 5 or 6 thin coats are. Use enough to get a decent color on light wood and vibrations will be suppressed. It is up to the maker's methods and the nature of the wood used whether a heavy coat of shellac on bare wood is going to help or hurt the sound. Since either way the tendency for this shellac effect is to lessen with time and play, wouldn't it be better for it to be less of a factor from the beginning?
  19. According to a bow making acquaintance of mine, snakewood is preferred by baroque and period players. If I remember right the most popular reason players gave was the action is softer, not quite so lively as the best pernambuco. Every once in while he'll get a Lucci meter reading on a billet of snakewood that matches the tippy top of the highest readings for pernambuco. Generally he's found the average elasticity readings for snakewood to be just below those of high grade pernambuco but only just. If we're going to play guessing games I would guess a bow made from "good" snakewood will be on average be better than one made of a medium grade pernambuco. However broadly the name ironwood is applied it is my understanding the term when accurately used is for trees that grow extremely slowly, end up as lumber of scant size, often times more precious than pernambuco, and almost always anything but straight or clear enough to be cut as a bow blank and would add little more value other than as a novelty or freak. While we're on the subject, a strange tidbit to ponder; in the instructions for the Lucci meter it lists elasticity measures for Torte bows as being below the readings for those of other makers in his time as well as first class modern makers. Here's a suggestion if you're not too anally fixated on traditional materials; try seriously looking into carbon/graphite fibre. The best of the man made materials are now better than most players realistically need and almost certainly better than the vast majority of wood bows being made today. It may not save one acre of rain forest but on the other hand... Now, who's up for some fake ebony?
  20. The shrimp shell varnish was one of the first revelations Nagy pulled out of his bag o tricks. Having listed chitin as the master's main finish ingredient its a wonder he never mentioned shellac being practically pure chitin. Maybe he didn't want folks confused his sample might have been just 200 year old french polish. I've been suspicious of everything he has had to say since. Though his recent disclosure of finding borax in the wood makes sense, you'd want something to wash away the prior solution of cow poo and pee soakings. I know off the shelf doesn't seem as sexy as home brew but if you want to try chiton, shellac is a lot better place to start than messing around with boiling lye and fire ants, das-foe-show. Here's a tip for anyone interested in saving some wasted effort; for best results don't use it on bare wood. Ever.
  21. I share David's view on Vigdorchik's system and his open advocacy for use of it has prompted me to stress a few things that might not be clear. My impression from reading his book is Isaak Vigdorchik was aware the system he offered was not quite the end all for matching the true or full Cremona "sound". Whether it be age, finish, wood treatment, u-name-it, as a high level musician/violin maker and accredited judge of tone Mr. Vigdorchik felt the "ultimate magic bullet" (my interpretation) remained yet to be discovered. He shared his discovery with the hope of having it validated by other makers as well as scientists to further the cause of finding a complete solution. So far for me the method consistently produces instruments balanced on all four strings, up and down the board, under heavy or light bow pressure, without wolfs. The tone of my instruments have been described by musicians as sweet, never as harsh or rough. One of the few bonafide professionals to try them remarked on the balance being quite extraordinary. A good beginning at least. This particular tap tuning method is definitely not for everyone. Without an extensive musical background having a very keen ear may not be enough. Right from the start of giving this method a go my naturally keen though untrained ear was aided by a former music major who had very definite observations on the notes heard while we took turns tapping around. Having done about two dozen plates now using this method I still find it one of the most difficult parts of the whole process. At least one other maker I know, who has tried the method and believes it works, said it wasn't worth the effort turning instead to a more general rather than so finely plotted approach. I'm inclined to agree, more straight forward methods could easily surpass the instrument needs of 97% of those ever taking up the violin. The most recent tuning sessions have gone like so; not quite so fast as David, with the roughing out complete I'll work tuning a plate for about six or eight hours thinking it done, leave it be for a bit, then always seem to find sections showing need of a few hours more work. I prefer non-toothed planes for tuning with a final light scraping all over. Hey come to think of it, takes me an extra half hour just to erase all those da-umn pencil marks ; D
  22. Silly wabbit, tricks are for prostitutes. Go back to ebay and shake yo' booty.
  23. The fit of the bridge is very important, not to be taken lightly. For a fiddle setup a slight lowering of the D and A strings is about it. Not all fiddle players require/desire even that. Randomly swapping bridges as you suggest is not a good idea.
  24. My method is similar to Jeffery's and goes so far as to soak the ribs in water 15 to 20 minutes before starting. A hair curling iron does the trick for me, chrome plated, comes in various radii (the smaller one gets used, mostly), the high setting seems about right. Keeping it moist until the curve is right, going to the form warm but dry. On a side note, from my days of bending laminate plastics (Formica) I realized a clean square edge on all four corners can prevent cracks, kinks, breakage likely to occur otherwise. Most makers probably do this as a matter of routine but initiates may not even consider it.
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