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Roger Hargrave

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About Roger Hargrave

  • Birthday 01/19/1910

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    Meyenburg-near Bremen-Germany

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  1. Great family of violin makers. Lovely people too. ( not always a given)
  2. Thank you so much for this. I realise what Ive been missing of late. It isss not easy taking candid photographs like these. pictures that actually tell you something. thanks, Roger
  3. There are several species of dog fish (small members of shark family) whose skins work extremely well. I get them for free up the road in Bremerhaven. But as I said, hardly, if ever, used by classical violin makers.
  4. I think I’m pretty safe suggesting that the classical Cremonese makers hardly (if ever) used abrasives of any kind. We only have to look at an Amati scroll to see that the hundreds of fine tool marks they left behind. These were so fine, they were practically invisible. As for the Guarneri family they simply did not bother trying. IF classical violinmakers ever used abrasives, they probably used shark skin, because it cuts rather than rubs and leaves less dust to block the pores (and kill reflection). In effect shark skin works like a fine rasp. Rasps have had a bad rap for years, but if you can get good ones they are brilliant tools. I rarely used files. Other than necks, I see no reason for using abrasives and even here I have seen one or two old necks that have lots of tool marks on them. If anyone can show me examples of abrasives having been used by classical makers, please post. If I am persuaded I will eat some of viola’s salmon slime. Very tasty on toast.
  5. As some of you will know I have been out of action for some time. I would like to offer some work, but I need to contact Chris Ruffo. Does anyone have a number or e-mail address for him?
  6. In my opinion, most successful modern varnishes (admittedly not all) attempt to emulate those of northern Italy C 1550 to 1750. Such varnishes usually (not always) do this, by artificially ageing all or part of the material in varnish film. This might involve oxidizing the drying oil by various means. Or, it might involve oxidising the resins before varnish making commences. Occasionally, it involves oxidizing the whole vanish during or after the cooking process. And finally, it might involve oxidizing the varnish after it has been applied. Visually oxidisation usually works well, but it can have serious consequences for the violin, the varnish and the player. I do not intend to examine the various methods here. These can easily be found on the net, save to say that quite apart from the (unavoidable) cooking process, many recipes also involve dangerous chemicals such as nitric acid. Some of which will not only affect skin and lungs but can also cause varnishes to disintegrate in the long term. Historically, all drying oil varnishes were cooked and blended with their various resins. Because of the very real danger of fire, varnish cooking, was only allowed outside city walls. I am just going to give you a simple way of preparing a varnish that will do the job. But please, do not believe that this method is not potentially dangerous, because it is. As for stains dyes and pigments I have written enough about why NOT on Maestronet. I believe on the bass blog there was quite a bit, but I don’’t know how to access these earlier posts. More when I find the time.
  7. I’m just back after a long pause and I’m having difficulty remembering how to use this site. I hope that you will bare with me if I ignore some post while I go on my merry way. I like the odd message that helps me to think about the topic, but please, I don’t need any more posts about such rubbish topics as the Messi Strad being a fake.
  8. I did not write Aha That would be telling. But I promise I’ll get around to that later.
  9. David you don’t need this. When I was at the violin school back in the 1970s, we were shown a film made by an old (probably much younger than I am now) cello maker. At the end of the film he varnished his finished cello with a clear oil varnish. I think one or two coats only. Of course, even back then, as mere first year students, we all knew he was wrong, but he wasn't. The problem we all face when trying to reproduce any classical varnish, is that what we are seeing today, is not what the great violin makers saw when they applied their varnishes. Varnishes, like human skin, suffer from the effects of time. Even if they are not damaged physically, they will gradually deteriorate in the kindest atmosphere. Without going into their various properties, Italian oil varnishes were generally based on either linseed or walnut oils. Other drying oils existed, but in Cremona the thriving linen industry, provided the flax seed from which linseed oil was extracted. In Venice, a completely different state, walnut oil appears to have been king. These drying oils are also evident in the painting schools of each province. As a general rule linseed oils dry more quickly, and walnut oils have a tendency to crackle and wrinkle. In fact, the physical nature of these different drying oils meant that drying times and certain other characteristics were always slightly different. However, while these are important distinctions, they do not fundamentally alter the basic nature of the varnishes used by most classical Italian violin making schools. For the most part, these varnishes would have been prepared and applied in a similar manner. During the life span of any varnish, it will be subjected to many adverse influences which will eventually lead to its gradual degradation. Of course, deference’s also depended upon which if any resins were fused or mixed with these oils. Some films will soften and possibly wrinkle, some will harden and fracture. Some will deteriorate quickly while others will remain relatively stable for a long time, Nevertheless, as a general rule, oil films (including their accompanying resins), become darker with aged and paradoxically more transparent. (Although the overall transparency of any film will depend upon such factors as crackling, wrinkling, thickness and the amount of dirt it attracts and absorbs.) The point I am trying to make here, is that with the best varnishes and the worst, this tendency of oil varnishes to darken and become more transparent is almost always beneficial. So basically, whichever kind of drying oil varnish you chose to make, unless it can be artificially oxidised, it will never look like a classical varnish. If I can offer one final piece of advice before I go to bed. Do not attempt to colour varnishes ever. Never, not ever, because no amount of added chemicals, colour, dyes or stains will do the business. And be sure, that adding or mixing two colours (no matter how clear) will kill the transparency of any varnish faster than adding coal dust. Although there is an exception, right now, I'm off to bed.
  10. An absolutely perfect illustration of worn varnish. I have already copied it for future use. Thanks David!
  11. Either he/she or you misunderstood what is meant by fit. Fit is the most important factor for the health of the instrument. So it goes without saying that when the post is in the optimal position for sound, it should also be fitting the plates exactly. Too often people find the best sound position, but ignore the fact that the post does not fit perfectly, thus risking damaging the instrument permanently.
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