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. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Polyester velour case lining vs varnish?

    "Don't you think the luster of the polyester just distracts from your stunningly beautiful instrument which ought to be the center of attention?" Then again, if they have their heart set on poly, appealing to their vanity may not work either.
  2. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Polyester velour case lining vs varnish?

    Assessing just the relative risks to your business, declining the business is the lowest risk course of action. Even if they bad mouth you to other players for not being willing to accede to their request, your existing reputation will more than withstand that. The highest risk is that you do what they ask and something bad happens to their instrument -- heaven forbid. In that event, their bad-mouthing can begin to erode your reputation (though I would say it would take several such incidents to have that kind of effect in your case). And, by the way, you would never asked them to play Paganini left-handed behind their back (assuming they are right-handed). So why should they ask you to change your formula for success?
  3. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Going Out On A Limb - Bending Iron

    I couldn't remember whether the old Gewas (Gewae?) had temperatures marked on the dial as the Aehnelt does. So far, I have been impressed by the speed with which the iron heats and cools. Worth the extra money? Don't know, but I did get this one at a discount because it was hardly used.
  4. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Sound hole edge finish

    Black tempera leaves a matt finish that has a greyish tinge to it. But I probably will try the Nussbaum next. The contrast between the tempera black and fresh varnish can give a slightly industrial look if viewed close up. I suspect the Nussbaum brown would blend better.
  5. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Going Out On A Limb - Bending Iron

    I had one with aluminum and it didn't seem to heat evenly. If you can find a Gewa, they are great. I upgraded to an Aehnelt, but that's probably over the top (unless you are selling your Gewa to your apprentice at a heavy discount to help offset the Aehnelt's cost...)
  6. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Materials shelf life resource

    Is it possible/of value to put together an index of materials and their shelf lives, including any necessary caveats? We talk here occasionally about such things but I am not aware of the information having been pulled together in one place. I think I need to start dating my containers when I re-stock...
  7. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Do you make your own varnish or purchase from a vendor?

    Your workshop being in the mountain forest inspires my envy! I did a year of graduate study at the University of Munich and remember with fondness my time in Bayern.
  8. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    wood selection

    I will be very interested to read the other responses, Henry. It seems to me this is a moving target because of all the other variables in play. A "good" piece of wood, properly carved, may be only as good as other elements being in the range of quality. Lots of folks have ideal wood characteristics for which they look and they vary quite a bit. But I think few would disagree with the notion that attributing to wood a percentage of the impact of the various components on the sound is not possible. That said, lots of MNers probably would be comfortable ranking wood selection among the variables contributing to sound. Judging from your previous posts that I have read, I'm not saying anything you don't already know. But one never knows who else may be reading... By the way, where in central PA? I grew up in Lewisburg -- about an hour and a quarter roughly north of Harrisburg.
  9. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Choosing an outline for my violin

    I did this once for a viola I am building based on a Craske instrument to which I had access (the owner being a potential buyer). You won't be able to get a usable outline by placing the instrument on your paper and trying to stay true to the actual shape. But, you CAN take a piece of cold press illustration board -- I used medium weight for its flexibility and draw the rough outline as you are suggesting. Cut a rough hourglass shape from within your rough outline. The board's flex will allow you to maneuver the instrument inside the hour glass so the plate is sitting flat on the board. You can then draw the outline around the edge with a fair amount of accuracy because of the proximity of the plate to the drawing surface. Make your hourglass a bit smaller than you think you need at first. You can always cut away more board to achieve your fit. If you want more flex in the board to facilitate fitting around the instrument. make a few one-inch cuts perpendicular to your hourglass line.
  10. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Drawing source for Messiah Build

    If you still need a neck template, try the silverpoint reproduced in Sacconi. It's a good all-around drawing for a first build.
  11. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Drawing source for Messiah Build

    If you were to decide to go off the Cremonese reservation -- I don't know that I recommend that for a first build -- and want to try the Maggini of which there is a Strad poster, feel free to PM me. I have a set of photos of the National Music Museum's Maggini that I took and they would be helpful in understanding features in his work. To my knowledge the instrument in the Strad poster is not the one in the NMM's holdings, but no one is going to hold you to a slavish faithfulness to the poster.
  12. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    The Neuroscience of Perfect Pitch

    Re the nexus of neuroscience and music generally, I highly recommend the books by Daniel Levitin. Very readable. He is a neuroscientist with a background as a bass rocker in a previous life. Fascinating stuff!
  13. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Do you make your own varnish or purchase from a vendor?

    I don't want to hijack this thread, but just a note on the variability of materials and the resulting color(s). One of the reasons I like making my own varnish is that I know what goes into it and how I prepare it. Another reason is the variability in color. Even if I collect resin from the same species of tree, the quantity of bark in the mix is going to vary based on how much is in my bucket and contains resin that I need to cook out. The inner surface of that bark found next to the outmost layer of wood helps to determine the color. But as I said, I am ok with any resulting color variability. To my taste and for purposes of the identifiability of my instruments as being mine, that variability complements the eclectic aesthetic characteristics in the wood I choose. Just my thinking.
  14. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Do you make your own varnish or purchase from a vendor?

    I choose to believe -- based in part on the popularity of "buy local" campaigns in US communities -- that prospective buyers of higher end student instruments (usually parents/grandparents) respond to the idea that local materials are used in the making of the instrument. In a related vein, at least in some parts of the country "made from scratch" counts for something at least in terms of getting people in the door. So, I have begun experimenting with local pine resins and organic pigments. Too early to say what the marketing impact will be. But I'm of the "throw spaghetti against the wall and see if it sticks" school of product promotion.
  15. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Thin top correction?

    I once had thin areas under the f-holes of a cello which I patched -- chalk-fitting and gluing additional wood -- before closing the box. There appeared to be no adverse effects. In fact, the cello was wolf-less. Leaving those areas thicker in the original build is thought by some to minimize wolf tones in cellos.