Julian Cossmann Cooke

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About Julian Cossmann Cooke

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    Enthusiast
  • Birthday 10/19/1955

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    http://www.cossmannviolins.com
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Austin, TX
  • Interests
    Making; restoration; psychoacoustics; grounds and varnishes; aesthetic and tonal development of the violin family instruments form

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  1. When I was searching for a microscope, I was impressed by the LabX.com lab gear auctions. If you have your specs well-defined, you may be able to find what you are looking for at a reasonable price. Bidspotter.com is another option. Of course, I also looked on eBay. Even if there is a return option, though, these things are monsters from a shipping expense standpoint. My sense from looking at things like reviews online is that it is hard to go wrong on quality with an older Bausch&Lomb which is what I ended up buying. It is adjustable both laterally and vertically and gives me plenty of room to work with tools, brushes, etc. with good resolution. I don't think I bought mine through one of the cited sources, but I was (and still am, why I don't know) on their notification lists.
  2. Bench space is in hatch marks. Shelves are dotted. Bench island is in chessboard. Dashes are hutches on top of a cabinet. Inside features not to scale -- but close. Woodworking on the left of the half wall and machine room on the right. Two areas are also separated by clear warehouse curtain strips which keep AC, heat from being wasted in the machine room.
  3. Much of what follows already has been mentioned. But the list reflects what I wish I did or did more of and consequently what I try to impress upon the occasional first-time maker who asks me to look over their shoulder. 1. Marry -- or otherwise partner -- well. And yes, my wife who has conventional employment knows I say that. 2. There's an amazing amount of fascinating stuff about this trade and places to find information. But resist siren song of digging into everything at the outset. Focus on the basics. Get those down. Plenty of opportunity to branch (and nerd) out later. 3. Sharpening. Nuff said. 4. If you are working with a book, read about what you are going to do next. And before you do it, read about what comes after that. Knowing by looking ahead why you are doing something and doing it in a certain way can enhance the results of a given step. 5. Be fearless in applying tool to wood. Timidity does not lead to good results. Take the wood off -- it does not feel pain. There are fixes for a lot of mistakes, though not for all. Make mistakes so you have opportunities to learn. Most of us make VSOs the first time (or two or three or...) out. It's OK to be average at this stage. In fact, give yourself a pat on the back if that is where you end up at when your first few instruments are done. Most of us were below average in our initial output. 6. Invest in the basic tools. You do not need to buy everything at once, certainly not the stuff with a high niftiness rating when you can do just fine on your first few instruments without it. Believe me, the tools will have plenty of time to accumulate. (See #1 above.) 7. If you have the opportunity, show your work to a maker as you go. Get feedback on what to try for next time. 8. Keep a thorough notebook and review it in the evening after any working session. Notes are worthless and paper is wasted if you don't look at them when the work is fresh in your mind. Document with photos if, like me, you basically suck at drawing. 9. And even if you are good at drawing, draw some more. Draw curves of the outline. Draw the whole outline. Draw how curves transition into each other. Draw scrolls. Draw f-holes. Draw corners. Draw six-shooters if you are from the West. But DRAW! 10. Whenever you have the opportunity to see fine instruments, do it. Go out of your way to do it. Promise to give up your first born. Pictures are important, but there is nothing that beats seeing well-executed instruments in person. 11. Look at high quality photographs of which there are scads online and in the better books. Choose a maker's work and study it. Outline. Arching long and cross. All of the things you're practicing drawing. These suggestions are stream of consciousness. Revising the order in which you attend to them should be pretty straightforward. Good luck!
  4. I've been reading the Cahill book The Gifts of the Jews and your reference to Michelman brings to mind the worldview of the Sumerians -- the Wheel, everything coming back around, rendering life predictable. I thought I was done with Michelman and yet -- here he is again! I guess if I lived in ancient Sumer, the inevitability of his turning up would have been a given. Up until now, nothing has motivated me to take him back down off the shelf, but this will do the trick.
  5. Well, I think she is more sentimental about the instrument that she played professionally than insane. Now, sentimentality about the family VSO AND being willing to pay the going rate for significant repairs? Might be a horse of a different feather. As to ordering, it was more a matter of her saying "Sure, you can have my viola for a couple weeks to make measurements and we'll see how it turns out" and my saying "Of course, no commitment on your part to buy." Once again, perhaps my choice of words implied something else.
  6. Point taken, WB. Please know that a change to my use of the nomenclature will be thoroughgoing -- not just here, but on social media as well. That said, I don't recall my ever saying that even the terms "model" or "inspired by" involve only soundhole tracing and outline design of an original. That may or may not be what your statement was meant to imply, For purposes of clarity in this dialogue, I still use what arching information I have on instruments so described by me. I use all available dimensional information. Where I can -- as I am doing in the case of the Craske -- I often come as close as I can to the original wood appearance. And then there are photographs upon photographs upon photographs. If my efforts are "inspired by", that is an acknowledgement of the shortcomings in my making skills rather than a characterization of the research that goes into my making. So, as I said in the original post and at the outset here, your points are well-taken. But as far as I recall I never have suggested here or elsewhere that a copy involves only outline and soundhole templates so we agree on that point. I think we are now on the same page -- which happens and sometimes doesn't among folks here on MN. At least this conversation has provided some clarification of appropriate terminology, will move me to make the suggested correction in nomenclature, and has given me the opportunity to enumerate the resources I use when following an inspiration and/or using a model. Thank you for your contributions to those outcomes.
  7. All good points, WB. I appreciate the effort that went into steering clear of condescension. And if that statement itself sounds snarky, I don't mean it to be. The job of upolding a culture of respect on MN belongs to all of us. This IS both less and more complicated than making a bench copy. You are absolutely right. If this were going to be a true bench copy, I would have at least done laser arching shots. So, strictly speaking, we are talking about something simpler -- a viola modeled on a specific Craske. The challenge of reflecting the precision of a bench copy has been eliminated. The complication lies in trying to make up for not having done the laser work -- which I didn't do because I did not have the set-up at the time. What I do have are some good photographs of various views of the archings. I'm attaching a couple. So, I have the general shape. I am trying to compensate for the lack of the laser material by using the photos and the arching drawings of a Craske viola made in the same year. It's an imperfect solution and therefore, the result will not be a true bench copy. The ex-owner of the original had decided that she was not really happy with the sound. If I had actual arching information, I would be better equipped to try to address her concerns. Fortunately for me, she is not looking for the qualities of a bench copy. The moral of this long, tortured story is that I should have been more precise in the terminology I was using and I do appreciate your raising that issue.
  8. Oooooh! It's a great resource. Annual subscription of $45. 460+ instruments with background notes, dimensions, photos, arching drawings, and laser arching pics. Admind by the folks at David Kerr Violin Shop in Portland. http://luthierslibrary.com/luthiers_library/ http://www.luthierslibrary.com/faq.html#faq-8
  9. Back to working on the Craske viola copy model. [cue ] Checking my files, I see I have detailed graduations and lots of photos. But I have nothing on arching. I can find information on Stradivaris of which he was known to make copies. Assuming I can find something close in rib height, length and widths. But I thought I would check here and see if anyone has any leads. Not that there are a lot of folks making Craske copies. I wouldn't be either if it weren't for a friend who sold her original and may be interested in buying this one instrument. And then there is the exercise in making SOMETHING AS CLOSE TO a copy AS I CAN WITH THE AVAILABLE RESOURCES-- this is the only person to ask me to make one A VIOLA BASED ON THEIR INSTRUMENT.. OOPS! Forgot about Luthier's Library. I'm shocked. Shocked to find a Craske viola in this establishment! But I am leaving the post up because no doubt someone else out there is looking for the same thing.
  10. I use a small muller -- about 2" across -- and find I waste less pigment. But maybe that's an illusion. I just find I spend less time scraping everything back up into a pile for further mulling since I tend to make small batches. I also use a coffee grinder starting out -- I cheat? -- to start out with a finer consistency, reducing the time. I have mixed turps or alcohol with the pigment as it comes off the filter -- turps for oil varnish, alcohol for spirit --, I get a "mud" which stays wet in a sealed jar for quite a while. Sounds a little like what Michael does, though the oil instead of the turps may make a difference. But my perception is that the mud results in a varnish that is too opaque. I have assumed that is because the particles are too small to allow for the transit of light to the wood and back out again. Would love more information from the more experienced here.
  11. David, is his own mover and seconder, but in case he gave me his proxy and I didn't get the message...I second his emotion. Sorry, Smoker fans, but... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5YmKrxnSY
  12. I've been looking at Brescian viol archings for further clues to those found on the violin family instruments from that city. Found some really nice photos here, though not specifically of archings. Still, if you like Brescian, they're worth a gander. https://emuseum.nmmusd.org/search/viol/objects/images?page=1
  13. The good news on the Everclear front is that you may be able to find one of the off brands which here in TX save you about 33%.
  14. As I noted in the other thread on this topic, I haven't been here much lately. But I do want to take the opportunity to say a couple of things. 1. (and most importantly), this is a remarkable effort with remarkable results. 2. Jordan and Christian have been working together for some time and the resulting synergy shows. 3. Jordan is a remarkably talented guy -- a savant in my view. I am glad to know him pretty well. That said, if he weren't quite that talented, I would say so. Being my friend does not give you a pass on my being honest about you when asked as long as it is something I have told you about yourself. Maybe that's why I have so few friends. 4. I have immense respect for the leading lights of our trade who have earned that designation by word and/or deed. Excepted: where folks self-designate and that designation is unwarranted. 5. Neither ageism (in either direction) nor time-in-the-trade-ism has a place in our business or any other, in my view. Young and old all have something of value to contribute. Experienced and inexperienced have the same. Often the latter can come to the table with a way of looking at things that is new or old but forgotten that benefits the former. And questions are not the province of the experienced. As we gain more experience, if we are not continuing to ask questions and challenge assumptions, what does that experience really mean? We can churn out instruments like machines -- though not machines without talent. But if we are not taking in new information, even seeking it out, from whatever source and about whatever aspect of life, this mortal coil becomes exceedingly boring. Which may actually be a better reason for departing it than those cited in literature. End of rant from an older, less experienced in making fellow.
  15. Thanks! I haven't been spending much time on MN lately. Obviously!