Michael Richwine

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About Michael Richwine

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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. I may end up doing exactly that. I've gone as far as I can with photographs. I hope I can find a shop with one in hand.
  2. In the shop where I worked, we deliberately raised the grain of the spruce to produce the corduroy effect seen in truly old violins, so in that case, it was considered a good thing. But in fact, while you can see the grain through the thin varnish, there is no corduroy effect; the varnish is just thin, and looking at it in hand, the grain not raised at all.
  3. Violin weighs 380 grams, stripped, which is right in the ballpark for an average European violin, IIRC. I doubt there is any compressed wood in it. I worked for an American maker for years, and given Fawick's reputation for disorganization, it's no mystery that a violin might have slipped through with no label. I can offer no better explanation how an instrument might have made it from Hilaire's shop to America with no label. I get Chinese and Romanian instruments in with no label regularly. Why would things have been different in the 50s?
  4. This violin was found in the estate of a pawnbroker in the Missouri Ozarks. It had no sign of any label in it. I've sent pictures out to a number of well known appraisers, but can't even get any agreement on country of origin. A couple of well known people have had it in hand, but none will commit. After chasing down a few blind alleys, I'm pretty well convinced that it was carved in the shop of Paul Hilaire. The Corners, the F-holes, the edges, the scroll, the LOB (scant 356mm) all seem to match the photos I've found. It seems likely that it came through the Fawick shop and may have been varn
  5. Exactly. That's why I strive for accurate color as well as full lighting of all details, and good depiction of outlines, contours and modeling. I hold the violins up next to my color-corrected monitor with the instruments lit by diffuse daylight, all in an effort at getting the best representation I can. LED monitors are pretty good, these days, but they do vary, and in reality all you can ultimately do is make a file that will meet standards. Lately, with my current setup, I rarely need to do any color correction other than tiny adjustments to brightness / contrast. Years ago, when I was
  6. I'm in the process of shooting about 50 violins for a new website: front, back, side, and details as necessary. It is really important for me to show the instrument on the screen as near as I can as it will look to the buyer in hand. I've been doing product photography with furniture and violins for a long time. It kinda depends on what you want. I want the colors to be accurate, and I want just enough highlights and modeling to show the contours and shape of the instrument, and I still want minimal distortion. I settled on strobes a few years ago. I started with continuous lights, and eventua
  7. The string shop where I used to work offered hybrid basses and cellos with laminated backs and carved tops among their student offerings. The advantage is lower price and better durability for a school or child's instrument than a fully carved instrument, and yet better acoustic performance that a fully laminated (plywood) cello or bass. Bear in mind that old plywood Kay basses still bring a pretty good price among certain users, especially people who haul them around and gig a lot, mostly playing pizz.
  8. No alligatoring. There is some small embossing on the top where the storage bag got compressed onto it, but the greatest portion of the damage is where the viola lay on its back inside the bag. It has a very nice replication of the weave of the fabric. I have a reliable spirit repair varnish that I make up and have been using for nearly 40 years now, and it's great for most things, but the varnish on this viola is enough different in many respects that I would prefer to do some research before overcoating the damaged areas. If I could come up with something with the same RI, and solve the
  9. That's interesting. Will follow for more information.
  10. Castor oil contains linoleic acid, and it is a drying oil, at least to some extent. Linseed oil is a drying oil, too, but never fully hardens unless cooked with resins. I can only presume that castor oil needs to be cooked, too. The varnish on this instrument is still a bit flexible, but not soft, after 50 years. A fingernail will indent it, but it doesn't print any longer. Would have to experiment to see how much effect UV has on a duplicate varnish if I can come up with a duplicate. The color coats don't seem to have been disturbed much, and I would hope to build the damaged parts of the cl
  11. I have a studio in my home with about 70-plus violins hung from shelves along the wall. I hang them from u-shaped wire loops screwed to the bottom of the shelves. That does a good job of protecting the instruments, once they are in "ready" condition. The house is pretty well humidity controlled.
  12. I recently acquired a 1965 Aschauer viola in wonderful condition from the original owner. Wonderful condition, except for the fact that the varnish is embossed badly from the fabric of the storage bag that she kept it in. She had sent it back to the Moennig shop a couple of times to be reworked, but even after the last time (early 70s) it continued to print. About half of the back is still going to need varnish repair before the viola is in first class condition. The varnish on this viola is very nice, and in general looks near new where not embossed or physically worn from playing. Does any
  13. Thanks for the kind thoughts. Both of you! I've only gotten a reply from one shop so far. It seems Mr. Hinchclliffe might not have been able to maintain the quality he showed on this piece, which was his no.5 on his own after leaving Squier, because the market doesn't appear to support the price that I would have estimated for this one. Good to know, because I don't like to be way over OR under market on anything I sell. Still waiting for a reply from a shop in Ottawa to confirm the information I've gotten so far. I'd still appreciate input from anyone who has direct knowledge of the mar
  14. Thanks to Philiip Kass and Henley, I found out that this violin was made in Ottawa when Hinchcliffe was only about 25 years old, and I've written to a couple of shops in Canada for general market info on Hinchcliffe violins. Much credit to Philip Kass for his help on this and another item. Recommended.
  15. The stripey varnish is original, perhaps intended to suggest "bear claw". The only crack in the violin is a repaired wing crack up from the bass f-hole.