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  1. I have one of those somewhere, but I gave up using it years ago. For a long time I used a Herdim adjustable shaper, which is a heavier duty version of the same thing. With enough fussing it would work, but not always that well. Then I sprang for Alberti shapers and it was a revelation. Worth every penny. There was a discussion of these on this forum not too long ago. Also, Iburkard mentioned the quality of the wood. Yes, makes a big difference, but again, the Alberti shapers will turn pegs that my old shaper would make into scrap. Sorry if this is a little off the intent of the discussion, but there's just no comparison.
  2. The only times I've had to do this, I repaired the crack first, then fitted the bar carefully, then cleated the crack. Once the cleats were in place I carefully notched the bar until it seated again. I don't know that this would work in every case though. There are people here who know more, I'm sure.
  3. These things were made in huge numbers and unfortunately lots of them are still around. They came in many grades but most of them were at the lower end of things, like this one. You may be able to learn something from working on one, but there are limits because of the crude for the Stradivarius label, as I said somewhere else, the emphasis should be on the various part. If you want to learn to work on instruments you'll learn more by working on things that are even slightly better. If you want an instrument to play, find a decent basic violin that has been set up correctly and it'll take you a lot farther. You want something that you can outgrow for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
  4. First admission. I'm primarily a fretted instrument guy. I claim that I got started because I couldn't afford a guitar that wasn't broken and could never find anyone who could fix it correctly. Admittedly, that was nearly sixty years ago, and the repair of many fretted instruments just wasn't done back then. The conventional wisdom was that they had a limited life and after enough time you should just replace the thing. But building and repairing things runs in my family (cabinet makers, clock and watch repairers, etc.) so I fixed the darn things. When in college, a friend took his guitar to a local store to be repaired, and when he got it back I looked at it and said "Heck, I can do better work than that!" So I was repairing guitars in my dorm room. Later I had the opportunity to maintain instruments when I was in the army. When I opened my current shop 40 years ago, I had a partner for about a year who was a violin guy. He later moved to the southwest and went on to the higher end of the violin trade. I then hired various people to do violin work many of whom didn't work out for various reasons. Then I had the good fortune to fall in with someone really good, who had worked in some top tier shops. When he decided to move on, he sat me down and said "Now you're gonna learn to do this right." Since then I have had help from a number of other really good people and I thank them all. That's the short version of the story.
  5. The pegs are not geared. They are mechanical friction pegs, one to one ratio. They clamp against the side of the peg box and the clamping pressure is adjusted by the screw. They may be marginally better than a badly fit ebony peg, but absolutely no match for well fit ebony pegs. The Caspari pegs are just a newer version of the same idea and not much better.
  6. Had a few Meisel/Micelli instruments over the years, some pretty nice, but about 25 years ago I had one that looked good but sounded terrible, tight and nasal. Sold it to Jack Frye, who regraduated it and made it into a really good sounding instrument.
  7. I agree with the above. The Dampit is not the best solution, but a lot of people have them, and if used incorrectly they can do some serious damage. Nonetheless, it is possible to use one correctly, and knowing what you are trying to do and how to do it is the first step. Yes, expecting it (or anything else of that sort) to work while the instrument is kept out of the case for long periods is just wrong. Whatever you use though, the length of time you'd typically have it out to play is not the issue, as long as you put it back in the case with a proper humidifier, used properly, when you are done.
  8. I'm not quite so down on Dampits as some are, but they do have to be used with care. We spend a fair amount of time showing people how to use them (or any other humidifier) carefully and correctly. The big thing is to make very sure that they don't drip. In dry conditions, don't add more water, add a little water more often, no matter what you are using. We spend a good deal of time every winter and spring dealing with problems caused by low humidity during the heating season. Our back room (where the humidity is kept at about 55% all year) often has a rather large rack of instruments recovering before we can work on them.
  9. In the very early days of Ebay I bought a few things for what I considered fair prices and of decent quality. I still have one of them. But the quality quickly went down and the Hype quotient way up, so that these days, it's about the last place I look, either to buy or to find comparable values.
  10. Actually, threes such a thing as a better grade Jackson Guldan, but it is of more conventional construction. I have one at the moment labelled Guldan Special that's actually a decent student fiddle, if a little garish in the coloring and shading of the varnish.
  11. My first thought is that the case is a great deal older than the violin. The violin appears to be a pretty standard cheap trade instrument from maybe the 1950s or '60s. The case is likely from 1900 or so.
  12. Try D'Addario Preludes. Decent for the money, can be purchased in bulk if you're a dealer. I usually go up a grade or two, but I trust these guys for accuracy and consistency of production.
  13. I know this thread is a year old, but I believe I'm working on this violin at the moment. It is a pretty nice early 20th century German trade violin, with good internal work, a nice bass bar and not overly heavy. I don't know for certain that it's Schmidt, though it well could be. I've had a lot of Schmidt violins over the years with various labels but I don't recall this particular one. Then again maybe I have seen it. It's not the top of the heap, but it's a long way up from the bottom. With a good bath and set up it'll make someone a nice instrument for a fairly reasonable price.
  14. Now that I'm officially an old guy, I just tell people that I'm getting creaky in the joints...which is what I get for hanging out in joints.
  15. Keeping the fat wallet out of the back pocket is really important. Went through a horrific bout of this about 35 years ago, crawling on the ground, writhing in pain, unable to get up. Was lucky enough to be referred to a GOOD chiropractor, and that's one of the first things he corrected. Also the leg lifts, stretching, etc. Now, if I do something nasty to my back, I can correct it myself just following the instructions he gave me way back when.