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Michael Richwine

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Everything posted by Michael Richwine

  1. If you want to incorporate violin and guitar, Alex Svistunov makes cellos all day long, and on the side makes perhaps the best archtop guitars I have ever played, according to players reactions. Clapton bought one, as did Zack Brown, and George Gruhn would love to get more. I can't say why Alex doesn't make more. Cobbler's kids, maybe. Arching and wood are important on an archtop, but Alex has done some interesting things with the bracing, too, and this guitar works in a large group (jazz orchestra) like no other.
  2. Well last night, I was working on the same violin that had the stubborn top. (I had been making occasional attempts at getting the top loose and hanging it back up for over a year.) I went to repair the rib crack that was the reason for taking the top off, and found the crack had been glued out of line, wasn't a just loose crack. The steamer was ideal, for "un-gluing" and re-gluing the crack, and it is now a lot better than it was, and I can get on with selling the fiddle. I used the same rig to undo some slivers from a violin that had been repaired with Titebond. Steam has to be used judiciously, but IME it works in a minute or two, and if you work in an even slightly organized manner, and pick the condensate up quickly, the water doesn't have enough time to penetrate. You always have to be conscious of things like that. Steam condenses as it gives up its heat, so condensate has to be dealt with. So far, no detectable damage, since it's just warm water by the time it gets anywhere, and I don'[t give it any time to penetrate anywhere except where I'm working. I posted a photo in the other thread, if anyone is curious. $15 for a thrift shop pressure cooker. $27 for auto parts fuel hose. $7 for assorted copper and brass tube. $5 for assorted spring hose clamps. Scrap wood. The nice thing is, the default run time is 15 minutes, about right to get the system hot enough so it's not spitting, do the job, and shut off and cool down.
  3. Just from cooking experience, you hardly need any perceptible pressure at all to make a pot lid dance, and that wouldn't push enough steam through a hose to keep it hot enough not to condense. You have to have enough volume to keep steam live up to the point of application. That's one reason I was thinking about shortening up the hose. One alternative would be a teakettle and stopper with fitted nipple or any similar chemistry setup. As I wrote earlier, I just went with what was convenient, fast and cheap. The newer pressure cookers are self-contained, adjustable, portable, semi-automatic. I only wish this one weren't so bulky.
  4. The diameter of the pressure cooker lid is 10 inches, surface area about 78 square inches. Minimum pressure setting on the pressure cooker is 20 kPa, about 3 psi, and produces adequate steam at the point of application. 3 psi would translate to roughly 234 lb of lifting force on the lid. 1 psi of steam pressure wouldn't be enough. You could use a small pressure cooker on a hotplate, which is what I set out to do, but the newer ones are self contained with timers and other features, so I just went with what was readily available. "Improvise, adapt, overcome." along with "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without. Virtues of a military/ redneck upbringing.
  5. The pressure cooker had a roughly 1/4" tube sticking out on top for the usual pressure cooker weight, so I just used 1/4" fuel line and a spring hose clamp to secure the hose. On the other end of the hose I used an old sound post as a plug, drilled for a tight friction fit with the 3/32" copper tube. Secured the wooden plug/ sound post in the hose with a tighter spring clamp. Made a hand piece out of wood thick enough for insulation. That was the most time consuming; had to use chalk for a lube to get the tube through the hand piece, and by the time the plug was in the hose, it wasn't going anywhere. The only thing that gets hot is the hose itself, the copper tube, and the steam coming out. If I were to do it again I could improve it, but it's probably not worth the time, considering my schedule. It works fine now.
  6. The steam worked great! I made it with a steam tube that extends 11" -28cm from my hand piece, so I could put steam exactly where I wanted it. I propped the top open about 1 cm, shined a light in with my left hand, and played steam along the joint for a minute or two, then tried a knife. The steam condenses as it gives up its heat, but the whole process took about four minutes, with no distortion to the top, and I was able to pick up the excess moisture quickly. While the steam generator was hot, I used it to pick some slivers off another open violin that had been repaired with Titebond. I can't tell yet what kind of glue was giving me so much trouble earlier. The glue line was very thin, and it was still a little tacky after it came apart. I'll take a closer look tomorrow. Doesn't look like I did any damage on my earlier attempts, which is gratifying. Even though it's just a $2500 Neuner violin, I try to treat them all with respect. I may shorten the hose a bit, but all in all, the rig works fine. There's always room for improvement, but I have customers who want stuff done, too.
  7. Found a like-new pressure cooker for $15 at the thrift shop. It lets me adjust the steam pressure from 20 to 80 kpa. Also found brass tubing in 1.6 and 2.4mm OD, so don't need the Stew-Mac stuff. Only expensive thing was some 1/4" fuel line. Got plenty of cork and stuff and can get chemistry stoppers as needed but should have something to test in the morning. May have to make a more durable connection for the hose to the steam pot, and I'll need to maybe craft an insulated handle after the concept proves out. so far, everything is testing out just fine. Total budget under $50 US. Most expensive item, 8 feet of 1/4 inch fuel line at $3.79 per foot. Have to have the hose pretty hot so that steam doesn't condense in the hose, and you need a needle in the hose to build up enough back pressure to get live, wet steam to the point you're interested in. I think 1000 watts should be plenty. Just need to be double careful to keep everything tight if there's any kind of pressure. I've been scalded before, and don't care to repeat.
  8. Off to the thrift shop to buy a pressure cooker. Ordered a neck steamer from Stew-Mac. The needle's long enough to put steam where I need it. I'll need to be a bit judicious, but I'll report results. Thanks again to all who contributed!
  9. I have a hotplate and could probably come up with a cannula and some tubing that would work. It would be handy for other things, too, and worth the effort. Less potential for damage than impact, and I've got a couple of other bodies with slivers that need soaking and re-gluing after following a tite-bond job. Most, but by no means all, synthetic glues yield to heat. I was just about to go out to the shop and try a rod and hammer on the back of my opening knife, but I believe I'll make a steam generator first!
  10. Everything else is loose; it's just the neck block that's a problem. The place where I first worked made their own fish glue from sturgeon swim bladders, and this stuff was Strong and tough, especially when not aged, so I thought I had learned quite a bit about undoing glue joints. I'll try impact in various degrees. Hadn't thought of it yet, so thanks for that idea, and the techniques.
  11. I'm kind of embarrassed to raise this topic, because I thought I knew many of the tricks after so many years, but I am having the devil's own time getting the top off an old Mittenwald violin. I got most of the top loose without too much fuss, but the neck block has been resisting every attempt so far, and I have a customer who has been searching "everywhere" for just such a fiddle. I Made new opening knife out of a good quality ham slicer with a uniform taper and single bevel so it doesn't tend to dig into the top at all or chew up the neck block and I can use both hands on the blade for more leverage. No help. The old knife I've used since the 80s isn't making any headway. Working patiently back and forth with either knife doesn't seem to be making any progress, Heating the knives to 300-350F has worked with plastic glue in the past, but I don't seem to be gaining. Alcohol doesn't seem to help, although it has in the past. Would an E string and an electric train transformer make a useful hot wire? I don't see any signs that tell me what kind of glue is in there. The glue line is thin with no visible squeeze-out to test. I only have 7mm more to go...... Maybe I'll take razor knife with a .27mm thick blade pull the blade out of the spine, stone the teeth flush on the sides, and just saw through whatever glue line there is, using the top and ribs as guides. What have you done in the past when nothing else was working?
  12. Perlman sweats a LOT. Didn't his luthier apply plastic shielding (shelf lining?) on his violin ribs and other vulnerable areas? Anybody remember how that worked out? I haven't seen that suggested lately.
  13. As I have often said, "There's no point in being clumsy unless you show it!"
  14. It's amazing how much grows back, including nerves. I've made stuff from wood for money since I was 12, much of it in industrial settings in the 60s and 70s. I won't bore people with war stories, but when you're in a fast-paced environment where rhythm is important..... Stuff happens, and I got bit a few times. Let's say it's a good thing I didn't have a whole lot of musical talent. I thought I was going to lose a finger, but they sewed it up, and it only took 10 or 15 years to get it working again, but the severed nerves regenerated, and I can play fiddle and guitar as well as I ever did, which was never much to crow about, but was only limited by talent, not dexterity.
  15. Seems to me the seller is deliberately showing anything BUT dispositive details. Only thing you can really see is the pinched rib corners that look like anything but MIttenwald to me. Looks more like one of those J B Schweitzers that look pretty good until you look inside them. Once bitten, thrice shy...
  16. I'll be the little kid pointing at the emperor here: I would have to turn that fiddle down as a gift. To me it looks like a bottom-end Schoenbach schachtel that's been gone over with a do-it yourself home antiquing kit. I can't imagine what fool bid it up to 500 quid. If that betrays my ignorance, then so be it.
  17. It's pretty interesting. He's a little known maker out of Nebraska in the early 1900s. I've found three examples of his work apart from mine, two on the East coast and one on Australia, all for sale in the $15- 20K range. Mine's not gonna be in that range, because it's a lion's head, but OTOH, it's one of he nicest lion's heads I've ever seen. I've had it stashed away since I acquired it, waiting til now to start restoring it. It's in OK shape, but needs quite a bit of cosmetic rehab. It will take me some time before it's ready for pictures, but I'll be happy to show it once it's reasonably presentable.
  18. Actually, the only thing that paid off is that I made some private contacts whom I will enjoy knowing, and whose acquaintance may develop in the future. The sale evolved through contacts completely removed from Maestronet. I opened this thread hoping to get a private recommendation for a reliable dealer in a major market area who might do well with a nice Roth. I did indeed get a couple of much appreciated suggestions, but the connection that paid off best this time was, as things go, from a completely different quarter. What happens sometimes is that when you start on a "quest", seemingly unconnected things happen that facilitate that quest.
  19. To quote Mr. Roth, "We think the value for the price category is no 81 XV-R." You seem to put words in other people's mouths that they don't say.
  20. Wilhelm Roth said "It was built before 1920, we think 1913... so we can say nothing further at this time. " As far as the quality designation goes, it meets all the criteria as affirmed by the leader of the firm, so I'll accept that, barring new, actual data. NOt my problem any more, since it's getting shipped off today. It's been an interesting lesson. Next project is an A H Seymour that I found in a Nebraska flea market....
  21. There it is, as we got it. Needs a neck reset and some other minor repairs.
  22. Thanks to everybody who contributed to this thread. I considered and benefitted from almost all the observations, and enjoyed the comments. I did obtain a full provenance on the violin, along with the letter I got from the Roth office. We got it from the family of the original owner, who acquired it in the early 1920s and was rather well known in the music world. I'm still waiting for a paid appraisal from New York, which I still intend to pay for, but in the meantime I have found it a home at what I consider to be a very good price. I did take proper photos if anyone is interested. One doesn't often see a 1913 XV-R. This one needs some work, but not bad for a 100+ year old violin.
  23. Doesn't say I did it, only that it wouldn't affect the price IMO. I typically wait before I do things I've never done before, and I've never removed a label before. Besides, I would have had to do that in the deep of night, my time. I work a lot of hours, but I do sleep at night, here.
  24. Where did you ever get the idea that I had removed it? Please copy and paste.
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