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Rob Fowler

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Everything posted by Rob Fowler

  1. Great work Ben. I wouldn't mind owning that one-piece backed violin - I just love nice looking violins but it's like window shopping for me without any chance of buying. Nice choice of colours and I like the antiqued look. How do they all sound? It is plain to see that you are a good maker as evidenced by many subtleties and the fact that you are prepared to try different styles and not straight jacketed to one approach. Well done.
  2. Marc, did you apply the red varnish over the top of a yellow coat? That would result in the orange effect!
  3. So, has anyone ever tried using Tru-oil or Danish oil as a final coat over an oil varnished violin? If so, what did the finished coat look like and how long was it after application before the fiddle could be strung up?
  4. I'm not much of a lover of craquelure and I figure it's a finish gone wrong rather than something to aspire to but I know there are those who like to see it on old violins.
  5. Ben, is that shellac you like to put on top of the oil varnish? Is it all right to add a spirit varnish on top of the oil varnish - will it not pull the oil varnish when applying it? One last question, if it is shellac on top of oil varnish will it not cause the varnish to craquelure?
  6. If you copy the link that Brad provided and paste it into Google and do a search on it then when the link comes up in Google you can choose the option to translate the page. This will save Marc having to do any translation. Very interesting resource Brad and Marc and thanks for posting this.
  7. I was also very interested in the ebay Hardie violin. I was so interested I nearly bid on it! It said in the listing it had a repair label label by T Thomson Buckie. Now I live in Buckie and know for a fact there was a fiddle maker by that name who left Buckie around 1925 to emmigrate to Canada and it seems quite likely that he would also have repaired violins. This seemed to add some authenticity to the ebay listing but in the end I also thought it didn’t look like a Hardie violin and decided to let it go but I could well have been wrong " font-family: Wingdings;">L
  8. Yes, nice clean work and good looking flamed maple too. I’m still on my first violin and this first stage I thought was the easiest – it has got progressively more difficult since. Hope this comment does not put you off. Looking forward to seeing more progress soon.
  9. Thanks for that very interesting link catnip – I found some very useful information and really enjoyed some of the different approaches Otis takes to violin making.
  10. Rob Fowler


    Happy Birthday too Luis – hope it was good for you.
  11. Your timing for this article is impeccable Luis. I just started my first neck today! I’m going to be following your photos and procedure with great interest. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this.
  12. I really enjoyed watching this video clip Jasmine and you must be really proud of these two cellos. Well done.
  13. I like your well organised workshop and your website which shows the violin as it progresses step by step. I am also on my first violin and now I wish I had taken some pictures of its progress. Already I have made a few mistakes but nothing so bad as I have had to start over again. Certainly it seems that the process of making a violin teaches you many things that can only be learned from a hands on approach. My progress seems very slow as I’m making my violin in the school where I teach and I cannot get at it during the weekends when I have most spare time. I’m currently working on the back where I have finished the purfling and completed the final outer arching and now ready to start on the inside of the back. I’ll keep in touch with your progress also and wish you every success in your new venture.
  14. These are valid points you raise David and questions which I can’t answer. Perhaps someone who has already done this to their purfling for a finished instrument may care to add a comment or answer your questions. It seems it has been done in the past by some and so there must exist some experience on the effects. Or perhaps the effect of adding a little glycerine is negligible and that’s why the tip is so freely given. My first thoughts on getting moisture back into the wood was to somehow put it in a sealed container (sealed polythene bag or string tube) with a potato or something else that would slowly release its moisture so that the wood could absorb it. I guess the quick fix of the glycerine appealed to me and let me get the job done but I may regret this fix at a later date. I appreciate your post – thanks.
  15. I got the glycerine and mixed it with water. It took three coats of the 1:5 solution over two days to make this purfling pliable enough for bending but in the end it worked great and it turned a batch of brittle stuff into useable material. I found this part of fiddle making quite challenging and I’m sure I’ll make a better job of it next time. Still, there’ll always be more challenges ahead! Marilyn, I’ve got about 20 strips of this brittle purfling left and I may try your fabric conditioner on some of them in the future. Thanks to all for your help and posts.
  16. Thank you both for the glycerine and water tip. I’m off to the shops tomorrow to get some glycerine and give it a try. You guys are the best at helping out because I’d never have thought of that and was prepared to lose my batch of purfling.
  17. I’m at the stage of adding purfling to a back of my first violin. I had bought some old stock from a deceased luthier’s estate. It’s the real wood kind and not fibre. I’m having a devil of a job to get this stuff to bend without snapping. I’ve already tried just dry heat on the moderately hot bending iron and working the purfling very gradually over the iron. Also tried wrapping a damp thin piece of cloth round the bending iron strap whilst bending so that some steam could be generated to assist in bending. Also tried a quick soak in water which was more-or-less in and out of the water to wet it and tried another piece with a soak of up to 5 minutes. The longer soak resulted in the purfling coming to pieces and the shorter soak dried off to quickly to assist in bending. Everything I’ve tried so far has failed and I’m now of the opinion this stuff is just too brittle to do any bending. Do any of you know of a way to rejuvenate this purfling so that it can be bent? I was thinking of sealing it in a bag with a couple of potatoes for a week or so to see if it would take up some of the moisture and therefore make it more pliable. My most recent thought is to buy some new stuff so I can now get on with the job but I’ve still got about 30 strips of this old stock that I don’t really want to assign to the bucket. Perhaps I could scent them and use them as joss sticks!
  18. First time I did a rubbed joint on a back I had a perfect fit before gluing but it also opened up at the ends. The ends opened up about 0.5mm at the very ends and gradually tapered to nothing about 20mm in from each end. After sawing open the joint and re-planing it again to get a perfect joint I then heated the wood this time before applying the hide glue. The result was a perfect rubbed joint second time round and I put this success down to the wood being heated first. Of course there may have been some residual glue left in the pores of the wood even after re-planing the joining surfaces and this may have helped to size the wood first and thus prevent the ends opening up. In each case the glue consistency was the same, about the consistency of thin syrup.
  19. I enjoyed this video David and Rene popped that top off in next to no time. Thanks for posting the link.
  20. Bravo Luis " font-family: Wingdings;">J Another fine piece of work. I wish Santa could bring me one " font-family: Wingdings;">J I like the bear claw – I have it on one of my fiddles and I believe it is quite rare (hard to get).
  21. Well I really enjoyed the longer clip even better and I loved the harp and viola together at the beginning – really dreamy music – just magic! Thanks for taking the time to post this better clip Luis.
  22. I enjoyed listening to this sound clip immensely. Great tone delivered from your viola and it sounds as if it has great response. Alberto is a fine player. Thanks for posting this enjoyable clip and you must be proud to hear your instrument played in such a setting.
  23. Great photos Manfio and your wee boy will surely have a good master to learn from. Perhaps if I had started at the same age I might have been on my 500th fiddle by now! Your workshop looks like there is a lot happening.
  24. Yuen, I also remember seeing a thread a while back about hardening a bridge but this thread was about using a brush on product which was a wood hardener. This product is essentially for strengthening and reinforcing decayed or rotting wood. It sells here in the UK under the brand name of Ronseal but Colron also make it. I think in the USA the brand name for a similar product is Minwax. I tried coating one of my bridges with this stuff (Ronseal hardener) and I feel the result was that it marginally improved the tone by making the violin sound slightly brighter (it was already a dark sounding violin). I think the application of the liquid wood hardener would be preferable to toasting the bridge – at least I didn’t burn my bridges – no pun intended!
  25. Hi Yuen, I think violins are like women – she may look dandy but be rotten inside" font-family: Wingdings;">J Some look worn out but have wonderful souls – these are the best kind.
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