Julian Cossmann Cooke

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About Julian Cossmann Cooke

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  • Birthday 10/19/1955

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  • Location
    Austin, TX
  • Interests
    Making; restoration; psychoacoustics; grounds and varnishes; aesthetic development of the violin family instruments form

    Studied with Karl Roy, Jim Robinson, and Zoran Stilin at UNH summer program for three years; completed studies at VMSA studying with Charles Woolf,Georg Meiwes, Sanghoon Lee, and Aubrey K. Alexander; attended 2016 and 2017 Oberlin Summer Restoration Workshop

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  1. Violin Making Schools

    Hear hear!
  2. Violin Making Schools

    Be prepared to visit the schools, talk to instructors, students and former students. In the latter case, ideally folks who have been in the workforce for a short period as well as those who have a lot of experience under their belts. You want an idea of what life is like just out of school and what it can become down the road. If you're going to spend three + years there, that is a worthwhile investment of time and money. Consider other factors beyond the schools themselves -- cost of living, opportunities provided by the surrounding communities. Your nose will be to the grindstone, but all work and no play makes for a lesser luthier. Or anything else, for that matter. Be open to the likelihood you will work in a shop doing repairs, set-ups, eventually restorations and making at best will be a sideline. Very few are lucky enough to be able to make a living making instruments (not that it's about luck; I should say "fortunate"). Nothing at all wrong with working in a shop as a career. Just that it's easy to view that as second-best if you go into training thinking you are going come out the other end a maker. Be realistic about what you will emerge with when you finish a school program. Repair and set-up experience are not the major emphases at a lot of the schools. Then again, you will not be a maker when you graduate either. You will have some tool skills, know how to sharpen (you BETTER know how!), and maybe know what you don't know, but the learning will only just have begun. Take advantage of any flexibility you have now to attend a one- or two-week summer program somewhere and get a hands-on sense of what the work is like when you are doing it 8 hours a day. None of which is intended to discourage you in any way. And if none of it does, then you are one step closer to knowing that this is indeed something you want to do. Good luck!
  3. Brian Derber's The Manual of Violin Making

  4. Messiah wood (again....)

    Better yet, have them send you the samples and you test them a la the latest colon health screening product. Those commercials are just cringe-worthy.
  5. Files??

    Great! Thanks a LOT for introducing me to another category of violin-making porn: file porn!
  6. Managing our wood stock - how much wood we need?

  7. Musician Needs to have Violin made for him

    Rosewood back? Wouldn't it be difficult to provide assurances as to sound quality? Not that folks haven't used alternative woods. How does rosewood compare to any of those, e.g. cherry, other fruit woods?
  8. Sjöbergs workbenches

    The only thing I would add to Michael's description is good vises and space for joining cello backs! The old Ulmia is getting more attractive, but I would have to switch my woodworking and varnish shops for it to meet the second requirement. Hmmm. That's a lot of work just for a classic bench... The benches I now use for all the carving activity have substructures made of 1x4s and 2x4s attached to the wall and hard maple tops. A la Michael's prescription.
  9. Sjöbergs workbenches

    If you own one of these workbenches, what has been your experience? I have worked on an Ulmia and liked it a lot for its sturdiness, but now have one made for me by an acquaintance. It is sturdy, but very wide, taking up a lot of floor space and meaning it has a secondary purpose of accumulating clutter. I am particularly interested in how well the Sjöbergs vises work and how well the bench accommodates joining plates, particularly the longer ones for cellos. Finally, if you have the storage cabinet, I'd appreciate a sense of your satisfaction or lack thereof.
  10. Brian Derber's The Manual of Violin Making

    By way of preface, Brian's book is an impressive work. The level of detail supplemented by how-to photographs place it at the top of the heap when it comes to practical guides to the craft. It is news you can use. That said, I have decided to sell my copy. After a lot of thought and a little anguish, I have concluded that I have what I need in my notes from school and those of classmates who shared. The book is in like-new condition I have not taken it into the shop so it is free from shop wear and dust. I am selling for $300 including shipping because I don't think Brian deserves to be undersold and because my copy is not brand spanking new. I will take payment via PayPal. If interested, please PM me.
  11. Elements of construction and responsiveness

    Marty, what departures from a standard bridge would you have in mind? Change in mass? Change in position of mass?...There probably are articles addressing this question so please feel free to redirect me. effect of wood removal on bridge frequencies.pdf ontuningthebridge.pdf Bissinger_vn_bridgeAsFilter.pdf
  12. Elements of construction and responsiveness

    A lot of what we do is about feel. Not in a mystical sense, but in the sense of knowledge that comes with experience. How to balance all of the factors over which we have (some) control with each other and the characteristics of the wood over which we have less control even when we select according to certain measurable qualities. Experience certainly is no guarantee, but it helps us get closer to consistency. Hopefully consistently good.
  13. Elements of construction and responsiveness

    This is very helpful -- as usual --, Don. Thank you for the insight.
  14. Elements of construction and responsiveness

    I guess i was thinking a thicker edge would inhibit the action of the channel. Certainly, any longitudinal flex would be reduced (as opposed to flex across the channel). But I may be thinking about it all wrong.
  15. Elements of construction and responsiveness

    Is there a relationship between edge thickness and responsiveness? The model I have been working with has 4mm edges with 4.5 at the corners. Not extraordinary in and of themselves,