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Michael Richwine

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About Michael Richwine

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

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  1. Not at all uncommon for Titebond hide glue. I has a limited shelf life and is hygroscopic, absorbing moisture from the air. I use it for labels and nuts only. Never for anything that needs to hold up. Hot stuff is easy. Better a little thin than too thick, if you size your joints, IMO. Keep everything warm, and don't let it gel! Plan your moves and rehearse if needed.
  2. I researched all kinds of joints in more than one formal study. I started with three employees and ended up with over 60 over a period of 20 years. I started with a jointer and progressed to a straight-line saw and huge rotary progressive clamp rack. The point I was making was that sanded joints are weak compared to cut joints. Stronger than the wood is strong enough. Too thick a glue line can be too weak. The violin maker I worked for later uses a well-maintained jointer for all shop production, but I never heard of any of his plate joints failing in all the years I've known the workers there. They make everything from violins to basses.
  3. Back when I was in the furniture business, going through a flatcar load of wood each week, and buying custom-formulated glue, drums at at time, I did some serious research on glue joints. The physics of glue bonds is pretty complicated, but the empirical result of testing is that sanded joints are way weaker than a freshly machined joint. I won't get into the rest, because it's not relevant here, but a freshly planed (sharp blade) joint with a glue line thickness appropriate to the adhesive is stronger than the wood itself, which is strong enough for practical purposes. Because a lot of the bond is ionic, an overly thick glue line can be weaker, so in many cases a thinner glue line is stronger, within limits. When gluing up large solid wood panels in a fairly large facility, wood moisture content, atmospheric humidity changes, and end checking are a constant concern. I could have machined any degree of hollow or camber into my glue-ups I wanted to, if there were any advantage in it. Practice in the industry was to cut 'em straignt, glue them promptly, control moisture loss through the end grain, and do the best you can to avoid rapid humidity changes so the panels don't lose moisture too quickly through the end grain, causing end checks. Cutting hollow joints just leads to problems with joints opening up, IME.
  4. The tailpiece may very well be celluloid, AKA cellulose nitrate. It smells like camphor as it degrades, common substitute for ivory, horn and tortoise shell ca. 1900. Read up on the "hot pin test" for plastics. Also, another easy clue: the labels are printed on cheap pulp paper, which only first became available after 1850 or so. Earlier labels would generally be printed on easily identifiable "laid" rag stock. This violin, along with other indicators already mentioned, looks more and more like a "made to look old" circa 1900 Markneukirchen effort that has been further messed with by maltrained hacks. Not very interesting to me, except as a lesson for others.
  5. FWIW, I have spent some effort selecting and adjusting my recording environment, and here's a link to one of several demo videos I've shot lately that all parties involved agree sounds very true to life, listened to on decent monitor headphones. Recorded flat, with no EQ or added compression, reverb or any other effects. This fiddle came in second with the customer looking for a fiddle for Irish and Old-time music from an earlier thread. (It was close!) Shot with a Zoom Q8. Cropped and edited with Cyberlink Power Director.
  6. FWIW, Fubbi's list shows a Teuffel active around 1780 in Breslau, Silesia. NFI
  7. I've been working on old violins seven days a week for years and years. Tried almost everything at first. Also saw lots of different kinds of damage that people do to violins and sound posts. They damage violins trying to shove posts around without knowing what they are doing, and they truly mangle posts, both with s-type and scissors type tools, both. Based on my own experience, I think a scissors-type tool is clumsy and hard to use without damaging the f-holes, and tends to chew up the post a lot, where an s-tool, shaped right gives me maximum control and sensitivity and lets me place a post exactly where and how I want it with minimal manipulation once it is set. I do them pretty much like Davide Sora does, if you want to use a video for comparison, and it's quick and accurate. Violins I see regularly for maintenance have a slit maybe 2.5mm long and half a mm wide that hangs onto the tool tight enough that you have to wiggle it to dislodge it. I've never seen anyone use a scissor tool without marking up the post. I've got a box full of old mangled sound posts somewhere. A good lesson in wretched excess.
  8. 13 and 14 inch violas are common around here. Main thing I look at is the rib height.
  9. Apparently the answer is "no". I haven't found any such reference,
  10. My house rarely varies more than about ten percent relative humidity, and yet I have 100+ year old violins sitting out in my office (with old, worn out pegs) that let go over night. It doesn't take extreme changes in humidity. My house generally stays between 40 and 50% RH, day in and day out, but when the outdoor temperature drops 50 deg F from afternoon to early morning, that puts a bit of strain on the system. Newly set up violins seem to be holding fine.
  11. While you are following this good advice, you might want to consider doing all you can to learn to play viola the best you can. When you are building something, it really helps to understand how that "something" functions and is used. It's not about woodworking, it's about making music! Woodworking is just a means to an end. If you just view this as a woodworking project you'll most likely end up with a Viola Shaped Object instead of a viola, which you can buy for $40 online.
  12. I don't have much standing as a maker, but growing decades of experience plus recent episodes with wolves lead me to wonder whether sharply defined modal peaks may not be more of a bug than a feature. My customers always shy away from instruments with "peaky" notes, or any really notable unevenness, for that matter. Probably the second or third thing they comment on is "evenness"
  13. My purpose for recording is to allow prospective customers to compare instruments from among my stock to decide which ones to ship in on approval. It's been a challenge to achieve "home studio" recordings good enough that customers can clearly distinguish one instrument from another using good quality headphones. My Zoom video recorders render those differences pretty well when the recording environment is conducive. I've run A/B simultaneous recordings with cell phones and the differences with Zoom video recorders is painfully obvious, at least it was last year when we ran the comparisons.
  14. I just got the "used" Q8 in. It has 2 XLR inputs, so I can record from the board or direct from mic while recording ambient sound for live performances. It has built -in compression, limiting, and leveler, plus adjustable low cut, plus a much better picture than the Q4. All for $200, including the Zoom sound. A poor man's portable recording studio. I'd still like to see the video upgraded, but what more can one ask for 10 year old tech for that kind of money? Pretty happy with it so far.
  15. The reason we tapered the hole and dowel was to get a good glue joint. This requires more care in shaping and fitting, but it's really difficult to get a good glue spread with a straight dowel that long. It's a lot easier to get a good glue bond with a few inches of tapered dowel. Fit it, cut it to length, apply glue then push home.
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