Kelvin Scott

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About Kelvin Scott

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  1. Swedish scroll gouge set

    Hi Berl, I guess I like the quality of the gouges and I make enough instruments that pretty much all of them see use, though I only use five or six on a given scroll. I also had him make me some fishtail gouges. I really don't care what the resale value will be because I will be dead.
  2. Swedish scroll gouge set

    Hi, I bought an entire set of these gouges plus a few extra about seven years ago, and they have served me very well. I the smith who makes them is very knowledgeable and the gouges hold their edge very well. I plan on reordering a few extra gouges of particular sweeps that I use all the time.
  3. Don Noon's bench

    Nice color, Don.
  4. Spruce grain

    Hi Martin, Yes, that's what I was describing. Kelvin
  5. Spruce grain

    I think that bit of spruce looks quite acceptable assuming all else passes muster. If it were mine, I would cut off one or two bassbars off the thick side of the wedge, thus moving the wider grain more into the bouts of the eventual table. Good for tone? Perhaps. I like tight-grained bassbars. I met a famous maker in Cremona once who swore that you must cut off some of the wood near the sapwood in order to get the best out of a billet. FWIW
  6. If tools make the man/woman, do they also make the style?

    I watched Tibor Szemmelveisz rough arch a cello with a large, wood roughing plane, then go straight to a large scraper. No finger planes, no large arching gouges. Impressive.
  7. A Tribute to Neil Ertz

    Hi Matt, I spent a very memorable week at the SRAM making a viola with Neil and a group of other viola makers. Neil was a lovely guy and and I would be happy to help out on the USA side of the work, let me know. I can do any part of the making process that would be helpful. Best, Kelvin
  8. Notes on VSA winners

    Hi Carl, Sure, overall I thought that in the cello category the straight instruments were really strong. Had Goodfellows and Nagaishi's cellos not been entered, there were a few others that could easily have taken one of the top spots. While I do not speak for all the judges, I personally thought that Nagishi's cello individually and as part of a very well thought out quartet was pretty special. His cello exhibited both incredibly high technical accomplishment as well as a great deal of artistry in the design of the scroll, corners, purling treatment, etc. I also felt he took some risks both in his design choices as well as his personal setup. His nuts, saddles, pegs, and TP were great sources of discussion among the judges. Goodfellow's cello perhaps did not step out as far artistically, but it was a great study in tastefully expressed lines, arch, and edgewoork. His work is also very clean, but he somehow captures a very natural, organic impression (very different from Nagishi's modern aesthetic)....not always easy in straight finishes. Further down the list, Silvio Levaggi's Scroll lines and corners were amazing, and Dobners Scroll was deeply cut and visually lovely. So, all in all, I thought it was great to see makers pushing the new look and asserting personal style. Contemporary making could use a bit more of this. If I were giving advice to makers wanting to compete, I would say that unless they have mastered a process and antique at the highest level, in the manner of a Jeff Phillips or a Melvin Goldsmith or a Stephan Von Baehr, etc, they would be good to avoid middling antiquing on competition entries. We saw so much one dimensional antiquing that simply could not stand up to the bar that has been set by other makers. Anyway, only regret was that none of the workmanship recommended cellos picked up a CM for tone and thus a gold. Another lesson to future competitors: make instruments that have exceptional tone and control your own destiny! Could you please elaborate with some specifics ?
  9. Notes on VSA winners

    Hi Julian, I echo many of your sentiments. I just got back and as with most VSAs, the overwhelming feeling that I come away form these conventions is the sense of wanting to push my work in reactiokn to some of the instruments and makers whose work made me think in new directions, or feel a jot of inspiration. This was my first time judging; it was difficult, and an honor, and I was deeply impressed with the level of the some of the new instruments, particularly, this time, the pristine finishes. The top five pristine cellos were incredibly strong. I hope that younger makers took a long look at Goodfellows, Kostovs, Levaggis, Dobners, and Nagaishi's cellos and had some take-aways. A pleasure to judge such technically fine and personal work. Thanks again to all the scribes who stuck in there even during the wee wee hour of the night!
  10. Group Build?

    The violin was not bad and in the end it sounded quite good. It had poor areas of workmanship, but it didn't matter. The violin had charm that derived from the fact that a bunch of makers of different backgrounds and abilities came together to make something collaboratively. Such collaboration are always novelties and can be fun, produce a decent instrument, but the work will be uneven. I did a collaborative viola in Scotland with a group of professional makers and even there the workmanship told the story, e.g., the purfling of the top differed from that of the back because differnet hands were involved. Nature of the beast.
  11. Group Build?

    Someone asked if this had been done before on Maestronet, and the answer is that it was. About fifteen years ago a group of Maestroneters did a group build, mailing the bits of the violin around the country and world. The violin turned out fairly well, though with inconsistant workmanship throughout. The violin was donated to the Joy of Music School, a non-profit that provides string music eductation to underpriveledged kids. Good luck! Kelvin
  12. Melting amber

    I would say that fusing amber is only different from fusing pine resin in that you need a somewhat higher temperature in your pot. I like amber varnish for lower coats and dislike it for upper coats. There is something optical about it that is pleasing when it is down low and near the wood. You should definitely grind the raw amber well to a fine dust in a coffee grinder before you begin your fuse and I use cheap porcelain pots you can get at Walmart or some such store. The ones with the old fashioned speckled surface. Without checking my notes, you need a temp over 300 Celsius. Run it for a couple of hours on a hot electric burner, cool it, and then regrind it before adding it to hot oil. Pretty simple. All the fuse about fusing amber came from the use of open flames, I suspect. Be careful...wear long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection. Good luck, Kelvin
  13. The first summer I worked at Alf Studios was a world cup year, and Gregg observed that my making was always going to show a drop in productivity in every four years. Still holds true, though with DVR, it makes it a bit hard to justify to the wife sitting on the couch at 2:30 in the afternoon, though that's where I will be tomorrow!
  14. Holly for Purfling

    I've also used if for purfling. Yes, it is very white and bends as easily as poplar, etc. I have only used it for the middle band. I have a hard enough time getting my poplar black all the way through; I imagine the holly would be even more of a challenge.
  15. Commission a violin

    As other have pointed out, there are great makers up and coming all over. I personally know of one that makes great professional instruments but is just starting out. His name is Eddy Miller and he was trained under Gregg Alf who also trained Feng Jiang and myself. Eddy has just started out on his own and would be a great find for people looking to get a reasonable priced instrument from a young maker.