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Mike Thomas

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    Hobart, Tasmania

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  1. David, this would make a very good Trade Secrets article for The Strad.
  2. Thanks Andres, I'll experiment on some maple. I'll try burnishing a neck with a linen cloth and a dab of Tru-oil, and see how it feels to the hand.
  3. Greg Smallman is an Australian classical guitar maker, whose instruments are played by many fine concert guitarists, including, for example, John Williams. His guitars, although traditional in appearance, have been described as "representing the most important and influential new direction in classical guitar design since Torres". Smallman's guitars have very thin tops, usually cedar, around 1mm thick rather than the usual 2mm or so, braced with a lattice of balsa and carbon fibre. The aim is to make the tops very light but stiff. The balsa/carbon lattice bracing is graduated so that the top is more flexible towards its margins. The backs and sides of Smallman guitars, on the other hand, are stiff and weighty. They are made from laminated rosewood. The result is a very responsive instrument that projects well. I understand that violins and guitars are very different instruments, but I suspect that a light, stiff, well graduated top matched to an appropriately substantial back and ribs may well form the basis of a very nice violin.
  4. Sophia Amati, what a wonderful, sad story. And it's true.
  5. A question from a real ignoramus on this: is the texture a consequence of cracks, or of wrinkles in the varnish. I find it hard to tell from the photo. Is the texture immediately obvious to the fingertips?
  6. David, thanks for remembering to resurrect this thread. And I do have a question.... "why not, as a matter of course, build into every new instrument the fix that David suggests"
  7. Sharron, a while back, Jasmine Davis (Kittykatjaz) documented the building of a cello here on Maestronet. In one of her posts she offered to send by email, to anyone who wanted it, a fully dimensioned drawing of the 1739 "Sleeping Beauty" Montagnana cello. If you contact her, she may still be able to send you a copy. If you can't get in touch, I have a copy courtesy of Jasmine, and I could forward it to you. I'm sure she wouldn't mind.
  8. What a nice thing to have been able to do; and such lovely pictures. I bet you were compared favourably to Stradivari
  9. Thanks Martina. Does that mean you use it wet? And when you slice it, is that across the stalk, or lengthways?
  10. May I ask, how exactly do you use it? I know what it's used for, but not the process. Is the horsetail broken into small pieces for use?
  11. Chris, that really is a spectacular first violin. In fact it may qualify as a spectacular 100th violin! I am at a similar stage with my first violin, which I thought was pretty good until you started posting pictures of yours. This forum is an extremely valuable resource for beginners, and not only because of the advice, help, and comment of the experienced makers. The newcomers to the craft of violin making are equally important, because it is so often their questions that bring out the expert responses. I think that you, and Tim, over the past months, deserve special credit for this. I'm sure your daughter will be thrilled. Are you going to disguise it by wrapping it to look like a box of chocolates?
  12. Mike Thomas


    And here's mine. Done on a computer, and laser printed on to a sheet of paper from the art shop. The font I used was "Vivaldi", and is the only Italian connection my violin has
  13. A local violin maker here uses tubular cutters made from steel golf club shafts, and they appear to work very well. The shaft is tapered in steps, and if you are lucky two of the steps will be the right diameters. Sharpen internally with a conical grinder held in a dremel, or similar. If the tube is sharp, it does not need to be toothed. Mount in a drill press and use in the same way as a drill bit.
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