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Posts posted by arglebargle

  1. 16 hours ago, Dennis J said:


    I get the impression that some makers think it's a crime to even use arching templates

    Not me. As I said, many talented makers use them. I believe M. Darnton is among them, and he is pretty firm about their usefulness. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    It's just not a method I find useful or enjoyable. 

  2. My issue with arching templates, and templates in general, is that one tends to work towards the template rather than the piece. This can be a good, even necessary, thing in the process of making. I think a workable mold and rib structure is dependent on an accurate template. I need my scroll templates to set me on the right path, but after a certain point, I don't. Do I need a template for the pegbox? No, but it saves me time not having to lay-out the thing for every instrument.
    I think arching is of such a fundamental importance to an instrument that I would not trust it to a set of templates. The arching is where the woodworking skill, intuition, and artistry all come together. It is the best/most fun part of violin making. The loosest, most fuck- it part. And as such requires the most skill to execute well. When we make an instrument we are sculptors and wood carvers, not carpenters. We should keep that in mind.
    That being said, there are a lot of very fine makers that use arching templates, and I say more power to them. It's just not for me.

  3. 2 minutes ago, TJ Fuss said:

    "Japanned" is the name used for the black ashphaltum finish typical on older handplanes like Stanley. It's not a drying paint, but more of a thermoset finish. It was a very tough, durable finish that "imitated" Japanese lacquer thus "Japanning" or "Japanned".



  4. 3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:


    Is most of the damage 400 yr old instruments incurred due to one or a few early undocumented owners who used it as a shovel to plant potatoes?  Lots of very interesting statistical questions lurking there

    It is my understanding that most of the varnish effects on early instruments, Cremonese in particular, occurred in the first couple of decades of their life. This is a reflection of the nature of the varnish (soft at first) and the utility of the instrument (they were sold and played as soon as they were made) and the kinds of cases available back then. 

  5. Here are my roughing gouges. All are socket gouges bought on ebay, cleaned up, and fit and epoxied to the handle, then reinforced with cord and epoxy. The handles are pre-fab railing components from big box hardware, a few bucks each. The one on the left in my go to tool. Got me through several cellos. They are straighter than the pictures make them look.

    Keep in mind, a sturdy, immovable bench is just as important as the gouge.


  6. Do you want to simulate varnish wear, or just dirt? No shading?

    For dirt I use various oil paints, straight from the tube, rubbed onto the area, then wiped off with a sheet of paper. (Ordinary printer paper) This allows the color to get into any nooks and crannies and stay there while being removed from the surface. Of course, the surface that you are starting with will determine what you can and can't do. A perfect, smooth, glass-like finish won't take the oil, as there are no nooks to fill, but I don't like that look anyway.

  7. Too late for you now, but I always carve the pegbox first. With the blocked squared remove the wood on the face of the pegbox, draw your desired design, and go to town. I find that this makes the work go much faster, as you can clamp the block more aggressively and really go at the pegbox without any worry of damaging the beautiful scroll you just spent hours carving. No worry of blowing out the pegbox walls either. Not sure if this would address your concerns, but there you go.

  8. I just took the top off a Charles Ehricke violin (Albany, 1934 #50) to start on a button repair and found an interesting inscription on the top and back.



    Goes to show that messing with other peoples violins was a common enough practice way back then to merit a warning.

    Alright Mr. Ehricke. I won't scrape your violin, but I will fix your broken button.


  9. Um, the best cello case ever made?

    Sure, it doesn't have wheels. And the handle tends to fall off. And it's a bit heavy.  But by god, I would take a million of these cases compared to the crap we have now. This beast got me through high school, college, and is still going strong today.

    You know, in a community filled with brilliant structural engineers and creative thinkers why a workable, affordable cello case hasn't been made is beyond me. 

  10. Hunter, you have never played the violin before? Yes?

    If that is the case I might recommend renting one first. The reason being you have no idea what you are listening for when you first start, much less what feels good to you. Think of it like buying a car without knowing how to drive. You can always buy an instrument later, and you will have a better understanding of what you like and don't and what works for you. 

  11. 16 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

    We don't have any power tools other than a drill press in the shop. The big guns (bandsaw, etc) are in a separate building hooked to a cyclone. But dust comes from everywhere - people, even the low grade sanding we do by hand or with his alberti, etc. 

    I might suggest, respectfully, that you are being a bit obsessive. The kind of dust production you are describing seems very standard, if not ideal. We work with wood. There will be wood dust. I may be wrong, but I find it hard to picture producing enough dust with your hand tools to create a health hazard. 

    As far as varnishing goes, I mitigate the effect of dust in my (relatively) small shop by cleaning at night, setting up everything I will need for varnishing, and leaving. Then first thing in the morning, before I touch one f**king thing, I varnish. Not a lot of dust.


    41 minutes ago, Mark Norfleet said:

    Or the post was edited to add the information about the maker...
    I didn't see it either when I first read it nor is it in the email I received about the post when it happened.

    Nope. Just a case of three people typing around the same time. Nothing sneaky or underhanded going on.

  13. 16 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

    It doesn't not appear that the post caused the crack. It doesn't appear that the crack runs through the post. It doesn't appear that the crack is in an area that would be stressed by the post. Given that the post was not involved, and won't likely be putting any pressure on that area, why would one put in a patch?

    Anyway, in this case even less than my original estimate is what I would charge--given that there is no  post crack, so no crack to glue, and no retouching to that crack that doesn't exist. 

    The cost of the other damage is a totally different question.

    I have to respectfully disagree.

    Yes, the post didn't cause the crack (an errant cello case did) and yes, the crack does not run through the exact location of the post, but I would call this a sound post crack (among other things) any day of the week. Even though the post does not sit directly on the crack, the post would certainly stress the crack more than if it were located somewhere else.

  14. 3 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    This is getting more and more complicated by the moment. The original post asked about a price for a soundpost patch. The pictured damage involves vastly more than that.

    Alright, sorry.

    Consider it a hypothetical question with a visual aid. Any answers provided here are moot and only serve my curiosity as the decision on how to proceed with the cello will be made regardless of any discussions here.

    Perhaps the better question is not the cost of a S.P. patch in this instance, but an estimate for the entirety of the thing. There are clearly many other aspects to this and maybe it is unreasonable to single out the patch outside of the rest of the work. Again, assuming that the owner insists on doing the work (not the case here) and not replacing the top/ trashing the cello.

     Never meant for it to get contentious, just asked a question.

  15. Just to be clear:

    I never said it was an "abnormally problematic" repair. However, it is certainly a major restoration that  requires a high level of skill to execute correctly.

    The maker is alive and active, aware of the situation, and involved. Most likely not going to repair the damage. Perhaps a new top, perhaps a new instrument, maybe neither.

    The original question was only about the rate of a sound post patch for damage like this, not a simple crack, and assuming that the owner insists on having the work done, regardless of cost. Not the case here, but assuming it was.