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Michael Richwine

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

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  1. Fiebing's leather dye has been a staple for as long as I remember. I used a Chinese hair dye for a while but it was water based and took too long. Wipe on some 1 lb shellac from flakes to match gloss; otherwise I sand with 800 and paraffin oil for a matt finish.
  2. This luthier's dog doesn't seem to add much to the tone of his instruments, but adds immensely to the tone of his days.
  3. Back when I was selling a lot of 5-strings, we produced a few 5-string violas, including one for a symphony violist who was having joint problems and wanted to prolong her career. It was approx 15 1/2" body length, derived somewhat from a Tertis pattern, and the customer and her director were both happy with the instrument. We used Helicore viola E. Many of my ordinary 5-string fiddles were too dark and viola-like for the intended market, who tended to prefer a "fiddle with a C string". I stocked a dozen different SKUs in 5-string instruments.
  4. Where I worked, we made our own glue from dried sturgeon swim bladders from the former Soviet Union, then froze it and kept it indefinitely, for months on end. As long as it didn't get moldy, it was fine. A little too good for my taste; (it was so strong, it was really hard to rework anything).
  5. Not to mention the crack in the lower back and the odd highlights in the sound post area in the back. Big red flags for me.
  6. I watched my old boss (a first rate maker) go through varnish and ground trials for years on end. His ground convinced me, but he ended up using a commercial varnish for the outer coats. Frankly, until you are a very good maker, in control of all other elements of your making, commercial products are enough for all your coating needs, IME.
  7. I try to do touchups with a dry brush, so as to avoid "fat edges" that produce a ring around your brush strokes. I also try to build color in at least three steps. Also, touchups seem to always darken as they age, so stop when it's a bit light, or else it will be too dark later. you can always add a faint stroke in a few months or weeks.
  8. It looks to be more or less textbook "inside mold" construction, but I haven't had any modern Italian violins open so somebody with more experience will have to offer an opinion on country of origin. The varnish looks like it could well be straight shellac. We had a long thread on that a couple of months ago regarding a Holmdale violin I had acquired. Long story short, it's straightforward enough, but time consuming, to restore it, and it can be done slowly and meticulously or quick and dirty, depending on objectives, but whoever does it had better know what they are doing when they start.
  9. Probably the same people who buy "authentic" Louis XV furniture from India.
  10. All the fake repairs and clumsy "screwdriver" ageing, like a Schweitzer. POC, IMHO
  11. It's a little different style of head than I usually see, but I agree the box looks Schoenbach/ MK area. The varnish is pretty good, and is supposed to look that way. Could use a little cleanup. Would be nice to know where the neck carver came from.
  12. Sounds about right. A colleague who spends time in Chinese violin factories says it's Government policy to employ humans wherever possible, and specifically not to displace humans with machines, in the interest of maximum employment. Besides, you wouldn't believe how quick these people are!
  13. I record demo videos for my instruments, and my goal has been for the recording to sound to the player (with monitor headphones) like the instrument does when he/she is playing. Took a while, but I finally got there with a Zoom video recorder and a very carefully set up location and sound baffles. All in all, the location and setup turned out to be the most important for me. I needed just the right amount of liveness or echo in the room to get a good live sound. Violins don't sound good "dry", and all the doctoring in the world doesn't sound as good as a good live setup, IMHO?
  14. No problem! My question got answered, and further pertinent detail is welcome. I used to be fairly fluent in German, but it's been well over 50 years since I've had use for much German at all.
  15. This is all very good information. I'm not sure on the formal differences in connotation between Geigenmacher und Geigenboumeister, but I would think Geigenbaumeister would imply shop manager or director, so he could well have been functioning as a Verleger or supplier to Pfretschner, using shop employees to do assembly, varnish, etc. It's all pretty consistent with brands like Heberlein where there is a LOT of variation in detail from one instrument to another. If Jenkins was carrying the brand, I'm surprised it doesn't show up in Earhardt's books. He was a KC guy. I'll have to see whether I can dig up any of my old Jenkins catalogs.
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