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Derek McCormick

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About Derek McCormick

  • Birthday 06/27/1943

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  1. FOR SALE: Used copy of "the British Violin" in very good condition This well known book was published by the British Violin Making Association to accompany the 1998 exhibition "400 years of violin and bow making in the British Isles". In addition to the superb photographs and instrument data, there is an excellent and informative historical section dealing with the major figures in the development of violin family instrument and bow makers. This is a used copy with some marks and yellowing on the cover but otherwise in very good condition. If you need any further description don't hesitate to contact me. The price of the book is £125 with free postage and packing within the UK and Royal Mail postage rates outside the UK.
  2. Hi Melvin, My memory is not always a reliable witness, but my recollection of that time is that rather than Barlow and Woodhouse concurring with Rubio the reverse was the case. I think that David Rubio designed his "soup" in an attempt to reproduce the mixture of elements found by Barlow and Woodhouse's analysis. All the best, Derek
  3. Hello 1alpha, I am sorry not to be able to help drectly with your enquiry but I was interested to read about this violin. I saw it a couple of years ago when on a visit to London. Unfortunately there was almost no information accompanying it and I have often wondered about the maker and the source of the wood. I hope that Maestronetters will turn up more information. If you have been told that it is in "good working condition" I assume that it must be checked out from time to time by a London luthier. If this is the case the Museum may be able to put you in contact with him/her. Best wishes for the recital - I am sure that it will be a very moving experience. All the best, Derek
  4. Hello Priva, Over the years there has been a lot of discussion on this topic all of which is in the archive. I believe that a majority accepts the results of the definitive studies by John Topham (later confirmed by Grissino-Meyer et al). John has performed dendrochronological analyses on huge numbers of violins including many Stradivaris. In addition to determining the dates of the Messiah front (and finding it consistent with attribution) he has demonstrated that the Messiah wood cross-matches significantly with other Strad violins. I haven't seen Mondino and Avalle's work in the peer-reviewed literature, so I cannot assess their methodology or their data, but for those who are interested it might be worth checking the archives to avoid too much repetition or raking over old ground. All the best, Derek Derek McCormick P.S. Hi New Newbie, The reason for the different dates on the Cozio site is that on the transept measured by Grissino Meyer he was able to measure a few more rings than John Topham. They are in complete agreement about the dates of the wood.
  5. Hi Manfio, Do you apply the Magister coloured varnish by brush or by the "pad" method which Magister suggests? Thanks, Derek www.mccormick-violins.com
  6. I have had no difficulty ordering very small quantities (enough for 6 or 7 violins). I like the maple/pear and have had no problems withe "bleeding" although Karin-Rost told me that here had been a problem some time ago with some batches.
  7. This is the scroll on my violin which is an English instrument made by Pamphilon around 1680-1690. The little triangle at the chin of the pegbox is a characteristic of his work.
  8. Hello Barry, I can strongly recommend the German firm Karin Rost at www.karin-rost.com. They make excellent purfling - maple/maple/maple and maple/pear/maple. I especially like the latter. Regards, Derek McCormick
  9. Yes - a little patience is necessary, but not a lot . I also use NRI rosin oil diluted with turpentine. After putting it on I rub down with a cloth dampened with turpentine just to make sure there is no excess surface oil and then I find that a day in the UV box or a few days hanging in the workshop is fine. Before going on to the next stage I burnish with a piece of towelling. Derek
  10. quote: Originally posted by: fiddlecollectorWhere did the spruce on the Furber originate? Hi Derek, could you try and answer the above, i cant quite figure out how these reference charts work out without knowing exactly where the wood originated. i do know that many old English makers used pine, and other woods other than spruce.The climate in the UK wouldnt be the same as in the Alps or other places like the Baltic. Am i missing something here??/ quote: Hi fiddlecollector, Sorry - I missed your post yesterday. The short answer is that I don't know where the Furber spruce originated. At the moment we do not have sufficently robust criteria to tie down geographical origins. The nature of the problem wsa illustrated when I made the Jura chronology. I found that trees in the Jura cross-matched very well with trees from a Swiss forest about 100km away. So whilst Dendro is extremely useful in dating wood, it is not often possible to determine origin. As regards wood used by English makers; I did some library searching a few years ago to try to find out what types wood were being imported to Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries. A lot of wood was imported for naval shipbuilding. The main masts were made from "American pine" from New England. For the smaller topmasts and spars, "Abies excelsa" from Norway was used. Abies excelsa is synonomous with Pices abies. Is it possible (likely?) that English makers or timber merchants could have collected off-cuts at the Naval dockyards and that the violins of some of our early makers are close relatives of the spars on Nelson's warships????? Best wishes, Derek
  11. Thanks Fastaff. That looks much better. The youngest year on the front of this violin is 1746. For clarity I have truncated the reference chronology which actually runs from mid 14th century to early 19th century. Dendrochronology can of course only define the youngest ring since we clearly can't date wood that has been removed during seasoning and plate preparation. Regards, Derek
  12. Hi, I'm not sure if I can manage this attachment business, but I have tried to send a picture of a dendro analysis which I did on a violin by David Furber. It has a beautiful one-piece front which on visual appearance has fairly even growth over much of its width. The graph (if I've managed to send it) shows ring widths for the violin lined up with the ring widths of a reference chronology (MIMC36). This is a very good match with a t value of >12 which means that the probability of getting this match by chance is many millions to one against. As well as the excellent overall match of the graphs, look at the years of unusually narrow rings. These are known as "signature years" and can be quite useful. Examples are 1639, 1663 and 1685. Best wishes, Derek
  13. David, The chances of getting a spurious result by accident are infinitesimal. When John Topham and I were preparing our first paper on dendro of British violins we decided on very rigid criteria before accepting a date - much stricter criteria than most dendrochronologists in other disciplines. I'm sorry to go into statistical jargon but in summary, we only accept a positive dating if we have more than 60 rings in the sequence and if the analysis results in a t-value >6.0. This means that the probability of getting that date by chance is somewhere in the region of 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 (the precise value depending on the number of rings in the sequence). Best wishes, Derek
  14. Hi Melvin, Its good to see some "real" wood in this discussion! These are good questions and I will do my best to answer them. Pic 1 Firstly, I would say that if this wood appeared on a cello front the dendrochronologist would immediately go for transept B rather than the obviously distorted section A. Having said that Section A may well give the same date. The important thing about dendro is that unlike techniques such as radiocarbon dating it either dates or it doesn't, so even if the distortions in "A" interfered with measurements, we would not get a spurious result - it just wouldn't give us any date. I should say that dendrochronologists do not claim to be able to date any piece of spruce, but failure is more often due to lack of the appropriate reference chronology rather than problems with the wood - I have a nice piece of "bear claw" spruce which dates without any problem. Violin dendrochronologists are realy lucky compared with dendroclimatologists or archaeologists in that violin makers tend to make life easy because the wood that suits their purpose is also ideal for dendro. The former groups are stuck with cores taken from living trees or scraps of ancient wood which have been ravaged by time. Pic 2 This piece of wood would not be a problem because in spite of the unusual growth in that year we can see the demarcation (and therefore would not misread that as one very wide ring). "Tonewoods" may be able to throw some light on the possible reasons for this effect? Best wishes, Derek PS I printed your pictures to try to measure them, but the prints from my dot matrix printer were too grainy to allow accurate measurement.
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