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jmasters

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  1. Most old German violins I have seen seem to be in this class. The ones that show a lot of use sound better to me. I do not know if this is because playing helped them, or if they were played because they were better. (survival of the fittest ?) Have you others experienced this ?
  2. Perhaps my coats were thicker. If your dryer was "top-down" then a thinner coat would be quite an advantage. I will admit that old samples of mine seem quite firm and of a good hardness. Do you have any comments on the other points ??
  3. Peroxides will form in the "bubbling" or oxidation process..... I think that several years ago on another forum I was the first to mention zinc oxide. Of course, lime would work too....... about a teaspoon per 300 cc of oxidized material. As soon as the melt starts to emit bubbles, remove and stir. You will see the oxide being taken up. If you wish, add until there is an excess. This will simply filter out at the end of the process. The Zinc compound resulting will take alizarin to quite a degree to make brilliant red. This may fade somewhat, but is certainly more red than the iron compound. If you like aluminum lakes, that is too bad, because aluminum oxide will not disolve in anything. However, the peroxides react with the oxides and there is almost no evervescence or danger in the cooking. My only complaint about the Fulton varnish is that it dries very slowly and very soft. I have also used various driers. Cobalt dryer from the art store is OK, but it is a "top-down" dryer. Japan dryer contains manganese, zirconium, and perhaps calcium. Perhaps traces of others. If you want the raw oxides of these materials, good luck. Or perhaps some other salt of these. If the ancients used them, perhaps you can find a metal-content analysis of the old varnishes somewhere. I have seen it, but cannot say where. In any case, lead predominates, as it should. The EPA does not like lead, but to hell with them. Here is a hint.......... and the best one I have discovered. Any metal oxide seems to work (besides aluminum) so you should try lead oxide (litharge.) This makes a much better drying resin. Lead is THE drier par-excellance. But I do not know the color with a complex of Alizarin. The Fulton resin is produced commercially by the Hercules Poweder Co. I once bought an 85 lb bag for experiments. It was cheap at less than $2 per Lb. Hercules has been bought out, but you can find them somewhere on the web. The resin, poly-beta-terpene has a very low melting point. Or rather, softening point. (It is not a true solid, but a rather viscous liquid; or you could say an ammourphous solid.) Its main commercial use is in chewing gum. Reminds one of Mastic ??? The hardness and toughness of the film will depend on the oils used. Cold-pressed oil may or may not be good. You may try a partially-polimerized oil such as stand oil or many other things. But a short oil-varnish can only be hardened a certain extent. The ultimate determinant is the nature of the resin.
  4. I posted on another occasion. There is some good advice in the other postings too. Spruce IS brittle, especially if it is not thoroughly wet. Also, if you buy precut linings, the grain may not be parallel to the strips. Then, they tear along the gain. Spruce is waterproofed pretty well and has closed pores. I suppose this is because evergreens evolved to be functional throughout the winters. Because of this, I soak linings several days. You can keep them in water for perhaps several weeks before mold starts to grow. I would advise you to find a long tray and soak them for a week. After this, they are as easy to bend as willow. The heat will drive off most of the water. You can clamp them in place for a day or two to allow the remaining drying (and perhaps shrinkage, which is quite small in any case.) Don't trim until fitting. You can clamp to the outside of the ribs. If you are worried about wetting the ribs, just put in a layer of Saran wrap. One writer points out that they may be too thick. The stiffness goes up rapidly with thickness. I think by the cube. This may be part of the problem.
  5. I will have to say that a Porsche is a Porsche because variables have been identified and optimised in the Lab (racing cirquit) and by intelligent engineering. Also, electrical engineers can design perfect amplifiers because the notion has evolved based on known moduals. This is not the case with violins because there is no agreement as to what is best as to wood, and many mechanical variables. Some say to follow the "true archings" and not make mistakes which are common. I respect that point of view. On the other hand, I think that there is an optimization of materials which has not been stated or found. Engineering follows from sound analysis, (we science types are proud of that). There is a great big hole in the understanding of the violin. (and by "sound" I mean solid, backed up by testing etc. Not 'sound' in the sense of noise.) Having said that, let me say that many violins have been made accurately with good wood. These may be deficient in interior detail, but that can be fixed. If one has a non-descript violin of high potential , I think that a few years of serious playing can make it quite good. The problem is to convince the musician. Also, the art-dealer is not going to want such a thing competing for sales against an historic article. I will say that many have become "lucky" but you will never know about it or see it...........
  6. Is the hair changing length causing a different part of the channel to be containing the eyelet? The floor of the channel may have a bump, the screw hole in the stick may not be concentric or some other allignment problem. I see a fair number of these in some class of bow. You might have it looked at... the clearance problems are not too hard to fix, but you do not want to try it yourself.
  7. I have rebuilt many old "factory" violins if I liked the wood. Sometimes just for the hell of it. The interior work is what is lacking generally. There is nothing wrong with many of these violins. When the linings and end blocks are replaced or made right, one can reset the neck and have a very nice violin. I do not have any compunction about revarnishing either, if it is already a violin with no claim for "respect" from anyone. I think too many people make a fuss over origins and provenance in non-descript violins. Many of these have very good wood because they come from an era when good wood was more common. Also, many have been well played. Likely this is because they sounded pretty good to start with. But they are rickety and weak. A rebuild can add a lot to the functionality.
  8. If the top has no bar, everything seems symmetrical. I would expect it to have almost no radiation except for a very small sound up close. That is one thing that interested me... A regular violin has a high degree of assymetry built in. By the way, it is funny to make jokes. But for the other readers, Consider what you can learn from a failed experiment........
  9. Well, did you play it? Any comments when comparing it to other violins of the same basic construction and materials ? I notice that the teat on the "bow" does not seem off center as much as a post should be. Is this an illusion? Does it contact the top where a normal post would ? The post is a quasi-node in the top and (some say) also transfers vibrations to the back. This latter statement might be better phrased "the post couples the top and back." Which of these two roles of the post seems dominant, or are they about equal? I once made a bridge to glue to the inside of a back from edge to edge at the "latitude" of the post. It did not sound so good compared to the original violin, but then again, It was a crude experiment and I did not follow up with refinements. (This was not a string bridge, of course.) So, were you able to make any conclusions ?
  10. Yes, I would say that was very helpful. Perhaps on your rebuilds, you have done what I do. That is, take a little wood out of an overly thick top to get a particular tap tone and then put in my own bar which I do in a particular way. As to Fagnola, I suppose it is possible that he had a large stock of uniform wood also. But I must add, I usually make violins in triplets and the only thing that always seems to dominate tone is differences in woods. Of course, a basic tap tone (ring mode) can compensate somewhat for density. This probably gives no more data than basic flexing. Just my feelings of course.
  11. This has been a long thread devoted to a particular maker. I have heard of him, of course, but not seen any representations. Let alone enough to generalize about them. Michael, if this evaluation is correct that should be an interesting database for making some generalizations. If there is a similarity one to the next, can you say anything about what causes the similarity? Or is the initial premise flawed ?
  12. It seems as though spiral growth is a dominant trait of spruce trees. The evolutinary impetus would be to make branches more resistant to wind loads. The spiral could "unwind" to take up stresses. If the tree were protected from such stresses, the "tropism" of spiral growth would not be excited in the young tree. If a maker wants non-spiral, and that seems the norm, one would expect to find these trees in well sheltered places. Perhaps ravines. But also well-lighted ones to give a more open grain. Just an idea. Such geological locations might be scarce. That could in part explain the scarcity of "ideal" tone wood.
  13. The man I met was from the Northwest, Vancouver, I think
  14. I believe this may be the same William Fan with whom I have dealt. Several years ago, he appeared at my door with a van full of violins etc. I have bought a few things from him including hair. Since that time the general level of work on Chinese violins has improved. I have no reason to believe that his merchandised is inferior. I do not know if he is an agent for his own factory, or another. He did not strike me as a maker, but as a traveling representative. As to description, he is a large man with close-cut hair. Does this match the man you met ?
  15. After reading the entire thread, I think I may have overlooked something. Did anyone point out that Stainers were more highly esteemed than Strads for some time ? Leopold advised son Wolfgang to buy either an Amati or Stainer as the Stradivaris were too strident Even if Stainer did not have formal tutilige from a "Master" he was close enough to travel and observe. I don't see the point in assigning him to some sort of "school."
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