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Martin Sheridan

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About Martin Sheridan

  • Birthday 05/29/1945

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    martinofiowa@yahoo.com

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    Mazatlan and Iowa

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  1. I've known this to happen in new violins where the top is very smooth and therefore slippery. You can put a little chalk on the bottom of the feet or a little rosin; don't use too much.
  2. Two violin makers. One murdered. A missing sister to the Messiah? Stradivari, the Amati, Guarneri, Count Cozio. You name them and they are in this well written book entitled:The Rainaldi Quartet. Author: Adam Paul c. 2004 Published in Great Britain as The Sleeper A mystery written by a man who knows a lot about violins, violin makers, and the history of violins. Enjoy.
  3. You did not say why you don't want to thickness the top like Stradivari did. Why not? Or Why not similar but allowing for the wood you are using? What tap tones did Stradivari use? Did he use them at all?
  4. GM I understand where you were coming from, but as part of the ex pat community in Mexico it is very common to ask folks to bring things down here. It is perfectly legal to bring a musical instrument; the rules say one, but I had a friend come down from California last year who brought three instruments with him and it was no problem Violas so far as I know, at least in the proper hands, are not dangerous, and the case can be opened for inspection. I put my message out on a local website and have already had a couple of replies. There are many things that you can't buy here that you can get in the states including some prescription drugs and even over the counter meds like anti histamines, so friends, relatives and even strangers bring them down. We're 850 miles from the Arizona border, so getting anything brought or sent here is a problem.
  5. If anyone is coming to Mazatlan, Mexico I need to have a viola delivered. Shipping to Mexico is very expensive and customs might not allow it in. However, it is permissible for anyone to bring in a musical instrument. If you are going somewhere else in Mexico, I might be able to meet you or pay for you to send it to me from withing Mexico. Muchas gratias mi hermanos de laudero. Please contact me privately at my email: martin@martinsheridan.com
  6. It would be interesting to see the results of tests on some of our violin varnishes and grounds. I wonder what they would come up with for answers and I wonder if those answers would have anything to do with what we used?
  7. Andrew, Why do you say you have no doubt that the Italian golden group is sodium nitrate?
  8. Here are a couple of true stories that ought to give some of you the willies. A friend of mine traveled to Germany and visited a supply house where he often purchased wood. He said the owner was called away to the phone and while he was away my friend wandered around to the back and there saw entire trees waiting to be milled. He said everyone of them was stamped USA. I suspose that if you purchased some of that wood after it was milled they could truthfully say it was from Europe (at least sent back from there). Story two: told to me by a US woodcutter about ten years ago. A friend of his ordered from Europe a very expensive piece of maple listed as "Bosnian Rarity". When it arrived at his home in the midwest US it still had the woodcutters name on it; the guy I talked to. It not only wasn't Bosnian maple it wasn't even maple. My wood guy told me it was some birch he'd cut a couple of year before. Finally, although we usually think of wood as air dried or kiln dried at least some woodcutters are now using vacumn tanks to dry the wood. The wood is put in the enclosed circular steel tube and the water is sucked out of it with pumps. I took a piece of my own maple with me that I bought from a maker who had purchased the wood in the 1920s from a tree that had alledgely been cut in the 1870s. The woodcutters new vacumn pumped wood was slightly drier than mine!
  9. Roger Hargrave, I want to thank you for writing the most interesting and informative articles I've read about our craft. I always look forward to reading and rereading them, and now we can have access through your web page. Thanks again, and keep them coming.
  10. It just kills me to see such a beautiful piece of flamed maple used to make a workbench.
  11. Since I have been primarily been a maker of double basses, I have always been in search of a way to speed things up. So a few years ago I used a grinder with a chain saw attachment and somehow almost took my finger off. I'm back to doing everything by hand and enjoying it more than ever. I couldn't play bass for over a year after the accident and am just thankful I didn't loose the end of my pinkie on the left hand.
  12. I was just reading FORMULAS FOR PAINTERS by Robert Massey and he mentions that both ear wax and bile from oxen were used as wetting agents. He has a number of formulas in the book that use beeswax and other waxes. Is it any stranger that we use hides and fish for glue? OMG earswax! Could it be the secret ground? It is the right color. I'm off to the shop. Be back when I can hear better.
  13. One reason for believing that the tools were stolen is that the bottom half arrived without the top half. The top half had the destination sticker on it. I think it was easier to steal this smaller part than the bottom section. Where do they send baggage that does not have a destination sticker? Of all the destinations in the world would a baggage handler say, "gee, no destination sticker, I think I'll send it to.....Mazatlan, Mexico, maybe it's going there?" Continental told me that all lost baggage is inventoried and checked against the claim. I gave them a detailed list of the tools and if anything may have left a few out due to faulty memory. So if they don't have them? I might add that my tool box was industrial grade with good latches and was triple wrapped with duct tape as an extra precaution. It appears to have been cut. Chirs, I'll take you up on your kind offer. We all end up with tools we don't use or some how get duplicates of. I know because I gave those away when I moved here. I'l send you an email with my daughters address. I'll be making a bass when I'm there. Many thanks for your care and concern, it's more than that shown by the airline.
  14. I hate to admit it, but last summer at about this time Continental Airlines lost or someone in baggage stold my tools. Almost $3000 worth. Continental does not cover tools and probably none of the airlines do. Since it was an international flight that also lowered their liability to zip. Since they do not want sharp knives, gouges, chisels, plane blades etc in the cabin you have no other choice unless you ship UPS or FEDEX etc. I had probably covered several hundred thousand miles with my tools prior to this without incident. This has been an extremely painful experience for me. This summer when I go back to Illinois from Mazatlan I will take them on the bus from here to Tucson and then the train to Chicago, so that they are never out of my sight. It's not only going to take a long time to replace all of them, but there is the emotional aspect of having made over 100 violins, violas, cellos and basses with those tools. Continental's answer has been that I should have read the fine print on the web site first. So far the most they have offered is a $200 travel voucher. Maybe you can get them insured bit it's not something you want to happen.
  15. I'm surprised we haven't heard from Michael Darnton on this topic, or perhaps we did in another thread. I think it was Darnton who said something like, tomatos, onion, garlic, and pasta are not a receipe. Anyway it's always interesting to read about varnishes. I gave up long ago on discovering the receipe and now I'm only interested in the results. It might be useful here too to mention Sacconi who stated that as marvelous as the old varnishes are that he's seen better new ones...or words to that effect?
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