Bruce Carlson

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About Bruce Carlson

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    Cremona
  1. Cleaning rosin & gunk for violins with acetone

    Always start with the least agressive solvents and move slowly and carefully to the others. If you don't, one day you will make a big unrectifiable mistake and you will be sorry for your actions. I like to know what I am using.
  2. Peg bushings and the Olympic rings

    Even from the point of view of a future repair, it's a lot more bothersome to have to re-close two non-concentric bushings that overlap each other (the Olympic ring type) this entails fitting temporary bushings in the current peg holes so that the older bushing can be removed and replaced. A lot of extra work. Another aspect of what Jerry mentioned. If the hardness of the bushing wood and the pegbox wall are different (they will compress differently in time) the peg hole can easily become eccentric and, in the long run, will contribute to badly working pegs.
  3. Antiquing vs. Real Age ??

    It was already antiqued when it was initially made and sold and the actual appearance is a mix of this plus real wear and tear from usage. I have seen similar instruments but unused that already have most of the antiqueing you see here; craquelure and all.
  4. Peg bushings and the Olympic rings

    Sometimes pegs are repositioned so that they are not too close to each other. The Gaglianos had a tendency to put the E too close to the G and the D too close to the A which can cause a weak spot between the two holes. The other reason would be to allow any string to reach the upper nut without interference from another peg for more precise tuning. I have seen peg holes bushed and repositioned so many times, in different places, that they have actually cut the pegbox wall in half between the A and the G peg holes. This is an extreme case, to say the least.
  5. Curved Medullary Rays?

    Mapfluke fell off the map. Or was it just a fluke?
  6. Curved Medullary Rays?

    Just to add to what Don already said, I'm posting two more photographs of the same violin. If you toggle back and forth between these photographs you can see how the light direction changes the appearance of the underlying wood and brings out or hides the medullary rays. It's easy to see the broad waves in the maple because there is not a lot of conventional curl or figure in this piece of wood. Bruce
  7. Curved Medullary Rays?

    Wood, in this case maple, can have undulations in the cell structure running either horizontally, vertically or both. It is normal that the radial rays don't show for the entire width of the plate as the tree growth would have to match your arching perfectly. From the fact that they appear or disappear has to do with light, large waves oriented approximately parallel to the center joint and therefore the radial rays are only parallel to the arching surface for a part of the time at intervals. Some wood sources used by the French makers, including JB Vuillaume, show a fair amount of this characteristic. It is not exclusive to the French makers. Here in Italy it is sometimes called "acero farfalla" or "butterfly wood". It is a charcteristic even more prominent in some other woods like mahogany. In fact I tend to refer to this feature as a "mahogany effect". Below, it's easy to see the vertically oriented ripples.
  8. Spruce with bear claw a feature?

    Yours is an extreme example and, like I said before, because of the variations in grain orientation caused by the bearclaw it's a real pain to get a smooth arching. On the older instruments that have it, it is usually limited to one here and one there. The 'Salabue' Francesco Stradivari dated 1742 has an unusual amount of bearclaw on the treble side and virtually none on the bass side which means the belly is probably made up from two different trees, which they did at times.
  9. Spruce with bear claw a feature?

    When I was still wet behind the ears, I used to call "bear claw" "Guadagnini marks" because I saw them predominantly on instruments by JB Guadagnini. Doesn't seem to have hurt his reputation any. I have also seen numerous old Cremonese instruments with this feature that fare well acoustically so I would tend to think that it might not be "all that important".
  10. Visiting Cremona

    The Stradivari in the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome is not a long pattern and is dated 1690. It is likely one of the two violins originally in the Medici Quintet in Florence of the same date (both original violins from the quintet are missing).
  11. Spruce with bear claw a feature?

    This paragraph (abstract??) states that the cause of this wood characteristic is genetic but I have never seen proof of that and there is no sub-species further differentiating varieties of picea abies Karst. Haselfichte
  12. Spruce with bear claw a feature?

    It's the whole tree that is affected and when the bark is removed you can see it. It appears like scratches so I suppose someone thought it looked like a bear pulled his claws down the trunk, thus "bearclaw". The entire tree would have to have been wounded in the same manner. The wavyness is already there in the cambium layer. In German it's "Haselfichte" and in Italian it's "indentatura" or "abete maschio" (masculine spruce is a total misnomer as spruce has both masculine and feminine "naughty bits". Below is a link with some images viewed from different perspectives. Some of the images shown are not pertinent. Haselfichte - Bearclaw - Indentatura
  13. Spruce with bear claw a feature?

    I think it's all right. Just an extreme example. With so much bearclaw it is difficult to get a uniformly smooth arching because the grain is going in so many different directions.
  14. Translation please!

    Thank you for the clarification.
  15. Translation please!

    David, How would you say "upper bouts", "middle bouts" and "lower bouts" in French? Sometimes, in English, these areas are associated to the human body and are called "shoulders", "waist" and "hips". Bruce