~ Ben Conover

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About ~ Ben Conover

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  • Birthday 12/29/1969

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  1. Wipe it all off if you can, do not use chemical stripper or sand it. If you can't get it all off then just live with it and next time get it right. That's honestly what I've learned about varnish, just try to get it right first time and do NOT ever strip it. Another thing I'd do it use a brush to apply it, you can better get a feels for how thick or thing the varnish is and you can get it more even off a brush. THEN, you can pat it down (after it has tacked off slightly - but you have to know when that is ) with the plam of your hand. You will find the scroll doesn't need patting down much and the edges of the plates do. Think it through and just aim to know what you're gonna do before it's too late. I'd also not bother with any antiquing, it almost never looks convincing.
  2. Recently I have been using some better hand made German fittings, unless for some reason I make a tail piece myself for extra large viola. I like good ebony, and don't think the weight is an issue.
  3. India ink is interesting, not tried that yet. I use tripoli powder and mineral oil to make the shine.
  4. I add a few drops of Rustin's Terebine driers to each applied coat of my home made oil varnish, then into the UVA room, the varnish dries in a few hours ready for next coat. After all is done I give the varnish a several days more UVA to make sure it will not take a thumb print, ie it will be tough enough under the bridge etc. Basically, just make sure it's hard enough to fit the instrument up properly, or you could be in for a lot of tweeking.
  5. David, I'd like to know how exactly the sinking of the front is prevented by tapering the front upper bouts.....if you can compare it to springing a bass bar ? Although the upper bout taper is obviously Cremonese, I use a full body taper so the front plate can fit onto the ribs flat without bending. Seems to make better mechanical sense to me, might be wrong of course.
  6. Mike, interesting about the leather shoes. Some people are moving more away from power tools, some more towards. Doesn't make much difference if the quality of work is high, some tools just work better in the hand, others don't.
  7. One trap some makers fall into, 'befriend a soloist then my ego and instruments will sound great, but never admit to anyone least of all myself it's a fallacy', There's more to music and instruments than that, but it's also one of the reasons many 'soloists' or fine players steer clear of new instruments in the first place.
  8. A kind bow maker lent me two American bow making books, one was the Henderson. It attempts to cover everything but ends up neglecting much of the established French and English traditions. I didn't use any of the methods in the book.
  9. With 50 good makers (take the 32k price out of the equation) then the chances of their violins sounding 'similar' are good, but each one will have it's own voice and likely each maker will tend to make that sort of instrument....ie, not the same sound as the other makers. At least that's what I'd hope would happen. Then the obvious things, is the violin for a soloist (not many are) or a chamber player or a jazzer who uses steel strings or a b'rock player.....etc. Otherwise, if a maker is (or was) a good player with a degree of taste then the sound they want may be largely their own concern.
  10. Well, you could proceed as you intended perhaps use closing clamps to hold the lower bouts in place, so that you can glue the top on in one go, or get it right if it doesn't work first time.....since your guestimate of 0.5mm off the table neck mortice may not be exact. if the table is in good condition at the neck root then you may not need a special under the f/b clamp anyway....you could also use a wedge under the f/b I spose. Your call.
  11. Main thing is to use a tool which will be tough long and thin enough yet not quite sharp enough to slice into the plate, as can happen. An old thin butter knife ground down work ok.
  12. Roger's distance of a post width behind the bridge is interesting. I once put a post in front of the bridge as an experiment, sounded a bit different, but not much.
  13. New violin ? It might come down 1.5 in a year.
  14. What projection do you have now and what are you aiming for. if the neck thickness and over stand allow it, you could just plane a little off the neck.
  15. Ufuk, wow ! great colours and lines, congrats.