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Michael Richwine

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    Shawnee, KS
  • Interests
    Making music, Chinese internal martial arts, Taoism, cooking, my dog Clyde, learning stuff.

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  1. Nobody's mentioning the routed pegbox. E R Schmidt's pegboxes looked like that in the 50s after they moved production to Mittenwald. IIRC, the varnish looked a lot like that, too. Might be a possibility. Lots of changes going on after 1945. Life was tough.
  2. The Krutz shop puts a 'prophylactic' round sound post patch in their shop violins, and as far as I know, Anton does, too, on his own violins. I have had to shorten sound posts on follow-up maintenance as new violins shrank and settled in, but the only sound post cracks I know of for sure have been associated with rough handling.
  3. There's a whole technique to touchup, starting with learning to match colors, then to establish a base or underlying (lightest) color and build patterns on top of that. Most important is knowing when to stop, because touchups seem to darken as they age. I just use a paint pallet that I buy locally in hobby stores. (Started out using children's watercolor trays.) The pallets I buy now have a dozen plastic cups of about 10 ml capacity. I put a little alcohol in a cup, around 1 ml, and dissolve about 1/8 tsp of powdered rosin, then add about 3/8 tsp of dye, dissolve and mix thoroughly, and set aside to dry to make a dry paint "block". Then I use a piece of white plastic (HDP) to mix colors on, picking colors up with a wet brush. I always seal any surface with clear touchup varnish before I apply any color, and the binder in my color is purposefully weak so I can easily remove it when I am not happy with my progress. All I want the rosin binder to do is to make sure my color stays in place when I coat over it. I do put my colors on with a dry brush and clear coat between layers so I can see my results. Orasol dyes are available from Museum Services and are light fast. I only ever use about six dye colors and three or four pigments. I may change that system next time around. This works well, but I keep experimenting.
  4. I use Orasol dyes with a pretty weak rosin binder when I need transparent colors for touchup. The rosin is compatible with the touchup varnish and holds the color just enough so it doesn't lift too bad when I coat over it. I can also load a brush with thin touchup varnish and pick up a little color off the color pad I make up periodically. Next batch I'll probably experiment with using touchup varnish as a binder in the "paint pad". I make them up like a watercolor pad, and with a white palette for mixing color, it works pretty well, and is reversible so I can take it back and start over without losing any ground. Also works with pigments. I started out in furniture retouching and repair, and adapted some of my experience over the last 15 years.
  5. What more is there to know? It's a trade violin out of Dresden, probably a product of cottage industry or small workshops. I like Dresden violins like Reichert, Duerer, Fiedler. They seem to have a similar look and good workmanship, and I can generally get good sound out of them, and they are easy to sell. Chances of getting specifics about individual workers or shop managers are pretty remote. The additional carving or detailing doesn't, IMHO, add one thing to the sound or playability of the instrument, and, for my market, actually reduces the value I ask for them, but I'm ornery that way.
  6. It is pretty. Those are just quick photos. When there's lot of figure, you have to move the lights around to make them look the best. What look like dark spots on the back disappear with changes in the light, and if I were photographing in order to sell, I'd spend more time making it look good. ATM, my only concern was documentation.
  7. No notch. I don't know anything at all about the "Czech School" yet, or its influence, but I have noticed that of the instruments I have looked at designated as Czech school, an awful lot of them seem to have extra-fancy backs. Haven't found anything written yet about construction, influences, etc.
  8. Good eye! The rib joins do look pinched. The corner blocks are evenly centered on the joint, so they could be solid or dummy. There's plenty of overhang on the corners of the top and back, though. The neck heel has been off and re-glued, but it has also been broken and repaired later, so that may explain the pin. And the repair may have been done by Biedermann -(?) There's something in the signature I can't read, but it definitely doesn't say "repaired". Just before Emil. Fluting on the scroll goes deep but not not all THAT deep, and not like any place I know of, other than Bohemia. Update - I just happened to look at a nice fiddle in my stock made by Jindrich Stumpf in Lovosice, about 40 mi NNW of Prague, in 1930. Had that same pin in the neck block. Pinched corners, similar scroll, similar blocks. But blocks and linings were spruce instead of willow. Button on the Stumpf was wider and rounder than this one. I don't know anything about the "Prague School", but I have a feeling I'm about to learn some more....
  9. I just had a couple of old fingerboards to reglue, and considered making such a clamp. But, as usual, I tightened the C-clamps slowly, allowing the glue to settle, adjusting alignment with my fingers as I went , and the result was perfect, with nothing left to trim or burnish anywhere. I used a straight pin at the top to keep the board from sliding up. Both were old boards, and I wouldn't have been able to tell by feel that they had ever been off, where with mechanical alignment systems, there is always some leeway that leaves a "tell" that you have to polish or burnish off later. Some tools are just more trouble than they are worth, if you know your materials and go gently. A friend of mine who is a retired engineer bought one of those L-N "violin maker's" planes. I'm still waiting to see what benefit he gets out of it. He says making bridges, but I just hold the bridge in my hand or on a block of wood and use a block plane; I like a wider blade.
  10. Definitely the neck block, and given that the neck block is only 27mm high, the pin scales out to about 3.5 mm diameter. I'm looking for clues from the workmanship, dimensions, shapes of the neck button, corners, material choice, linings & blocks, etc. as to where the maker was from, trained, etc. Doesn't look like "the usual rubbish", and thus worth learning more about.
  11. Looking at the label, I was expecting this to be another Ho-hum "all hat and no cattle" fiddle with a fancy back and not much sound. Preliminary setup told me it was worth spending some more time on. Went ahead and polished it out. Now I'm gonna have to cut a better bridge and put some better strings on it, because it sounds awfully good with just a basic setup.
  12. I think I have an Idea what I have in the way of a violin; I'm mostly wanting to know more about the guy on the label. Still, it's more fun with pictures, isn't it?
  13. I was restoring an old violin, and it's turning out a lot better than I expected. It just has a trade violin label, but it has a spectacular quilted back, and sound that puts it easily in the "attention-getting" range. The generic "Strad" label is hand signed "Emil Biedermann Chicago 1906" in a small, tight American hand with nib pen. The work inside and overall is pretty nice and neat. Blocks and linings look like willow. LOB is pretty long at 362, taped. The other odd thing is that there is a small pin, about 3.5mm diameter or so that appears to go through the center of the neck block when looking from the inside. I'm kinda hoping anyone turning out decent violins in 1906 in Chicago might be remembered, whether he was importing or making. Can post pics if there is any interest. Thanks to anyone who might take the time to consult any references I don't have access to, including their memory.
  14. Anton's theoretical explanations don't make much sense to me, but the empirical results I observed were undeniable, and were achieved by persistent, rigorous testing over a period of years. How many times in history has science come to correct conclusions based on incorrect theory? We all know that gravity works, but do we yet know exactly why? In my thinking, results speak for themselves, and I'm content to accept results and figure out the "why's" as time and ability allow.
  15. I don't know much about the hiring practices of the K C Symphony. I knew a lot of players, but the hiring practices just were never of much interest to me, since I was never an accomplished player.
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