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Matthew Noykos

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About Matthew Noykos

  • Birthday 05/13/1978

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    Grand Rapids, Michigan

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  1. Yeah I see this. Maybe Essential wasn’t the best topic name. Maybe “Good Books to Own” would have been a better title. I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge of instruments in general for what I’m asked to do at my shop but also, I’m enjoying the journey as well.
  2. I'm resurrecting this thread I started 9 years ago. I forgot about it until just now and I reread it. I've purchased a lot of books since I last posted this and it was interesting to go back and see what I have and what I don't based on peoples' recommendations. Sadly I still don't own the Biddulph Guarneri books. I tried in a recent auction for Ingles and Hayday that had two sets but they went for a ridiculous amount of money. It's one of the regrets I have that I didn't purchase this earlier when it was readily available. The Nature and Art of Craftsmanship is now a staple of my library and I read it periodically. I love this book and it really influenced some of my thoughts. I was surprised to see I got that recommendation from you Peter! That was before I knew you so I didn't remember the connection. I will have to discuss that with you on Monday when I see you. One book that is not listed here is the Deutsche Bogenmacher (German Bow Makers) set by Klaus Grünke and company. I just ordered that along with the Hill Violin Makers book and Hill Bow Makers book. I should be receiving those soon. The German Bow Makers book from what I see seems to be the quintessential book on German bows kind of like the Millant and Raffin L'Archet books for French bows (which I have owned for awhile now too). I reference the L'Archet books all the time. Question for those who own them. I have volume 3 of the Eric Blot books on modern Italian makers. Is it worth picking up the remaining volumes or should I save my money and buy that new set of books coming out by Dmitry Gindin? Curious if anyone has seen the Gindin books in person?
  3. My anecdotal evidence is that it added a little clarity to the sound. Of course to really form an opinion I would need to do some more experiments. The kind of experiments I do are things like leaving the ankles thicker and playing the instrument and then going back and cutting more out of the ankles and listening for a change in sound. I’ll do that again on the next bridge I carve tomorrow and report back. I’d anyone has a better experiment I would love to hear it. I’ve only been doing skinnier ankles maybe the last year, so it’s still a fairly new change. Yeah I would agree with this. Of course you are agreeing with the way I cut my bridge so of course we are on the same page. To be clear though, I think all the bridges that won prizes were nicely done and deserved to be recognized and that includes the gold violin. It was nicely carved. It would be interesting to examine that bridge in my hands. I’m curious what the back looks like and a side view. My bridges are more or less parallel thickness at the feet and then curve from the waist up so as long as the back of the bridge has streaking medullary rays and the grain of the blank is stacked up perpendicular to the back, my bridges will always look like that in the front. Sometimes of course the blank I use is less than perfect but in a perfect world they would always look like that. Material choice was one of the criteria for judging, I do know that. My guess is that the gold medal bridge might have been more triangular when viewed from the side. That’s a choice I have seen legit people do, it’s just not what I do. I think I have seen that idea more with cello bridges.
  4. Thanks Jeff. I too was happy to see Greg got recognized. It was also good to see the different entries. It gave me food for thought. And also made me think more about what makes a good sounding bridge. It’s interesting to me to see the difference in the amount of mass people leave on the bridge.
  5. Thank you for the kind words. Do you consider the ankles on the bridges you saw of mine to be fat? Just trying to establish a reference. I’ve been trending in the direction of thinner ankles as of late. On violin I used to make them slightly bigger than 4 mm. Now I have been making them about a half millimeter smaller, around 3.75 or even closer to 3.5. I too have seen quite a few makers make them thicker as time goes on. Curious what people think it does to the sound.
  6. Thanks David for the kind words on my bridge. It’s not really a diatribe I suppose. Tone of voice never comes through in a post. I wasn’t really angry or anything. I was more trying to provide balance to the thread. I personally do enjoy looking at bridges so I was putting forth that point of view. The competition was fun for me because it was a chance to showcase some of my work without putting a huge amount of time and effort into it since carving a bridge doesn’t take that long compared to making a cello or violin for a competition. Plus, I carve a lot more bridges than I do make instruments so it was more natural. I wasn’t at the judging, so I cannot comment on how the process went but I thought all the entries that won something were well done and I came away from it thinking there was a reason they were chosen. I usually feel that way after seeing a VSA competition as well, especially when I was a scribe for Sigrun for one of the years. In the VSA there’s always an instrument that I think is good and should have been scored higher, but I think overall there is usually a loose consensus. I felt that way about the bridge competition as well, so the judging must be working. That’s really the best you can do for competitions like these.
  7. I agree this is a super grumpy group. I don't know why everyone is so down on bridges. Every shop person I talk to who carves bridges all the time, likes to look at bridges. The fact of the matter is there is a lot of personal expression in a bridge and it's one of the few times that restorers can do something that is theirs. Most of the time we are supposed to do work that blends in and disappears (which I love to do too, but I also like carving bridges). I think of bridges like string quartets. It condenses a composer's work down to four parts and their ideas are focused. Bridge carving focuses a lot of different skills into one task. I can look at a bridge and I can instantly tell what kind of skill the luthier has who carved it. There are lots of things people are mentioning about how it doesn't matter what it looks like, only how it functions. But it's interesting to me how all the bridges where the feet fit really well, and the string heights are all working like they are supposed to and the bridge sounds good, are almost always the bridges that also look aesthetically pleasing as well. I rarely find a fugly looking bridge that also just happens to work in all the right places that it needs to in order to sound good as well. So lighten up people. It's fun to look at bridges.
  8. I’m selling tailgut cords that I got from Cremona Tools. I’m selling to US residents only. I bought them in bulk and they ended up being 1 euro a piece. So I’m selling them for 1 dollar a piece. You’ll also save on shipping since it won’t be from Europe and I’ll just charge $10 for a flat rate box from the post office. I used one cello sized cord out of the package so I’m selling 59 cello pieces and 50 violin pieces. So $119 total for shipping and cords.
  9. 103’s are not made anymore by Lie-Nielsen. The 103 was what they called their standard angle and the 102 was the low angle. The difference between them really just affects how it feels in your hand as the cap iron will hit the palm of your hand differently, but also the angle of the cutting angle is affected. You could still get a higher cutting angle with the 102 by sharpening the 102 blade to a steeper angle, but the steeper the edge, the harder it is to push the plane through the wood. You can still find the 103 on eBay and whatnot but it’s more expensive as it’s becoming a collectors item. A lot of bow makers like the 103 because of the steeper angle and you need a steep cutting angle for pernambuco. Probably for your purposes the 102 would do everything you need. Personal plug...I have a 103 that I never use and am thinking of selling. Anyone who’s interested let me know.
  10. I don’t do anything special. I did have one tiny seam that I just glued. Up until this point I didn’t have any seams on the few instruments I have varnished in this newer box. Before I used to have all kinds of seam problems. I also feel it’s okay to push your instruments a little at this stage because I think the stress can be good for sound. Just my belief.
  11. I don’t think it was custom. I just ordered a light package directly from Solacure. I cannot remember the guy’s name but he’s the main brains behind the Solacure line for varnish curing. He helped me figure out what to get. This was also a few years ago so I don’t know if they still offer it. They are 2 foot bulbs. I have 12 of them so I know it might be overkill but it does a great job of tanning. I can get the same results in 5 days that took me 3 weeks with reptile bulbs. I also have a bunch of humidity in the box and it’s a sealed system so there is some ozone going on in there too. I have a fan blowing air through a tube into a bucket with a screen and water and then back into the box. It cools the air down so it’s not too hot. It ends up being about 80 to 85 degrees in the box with about 70-75% humidity. Also the ballasts are installed on the outside of the box and they are mounted on aluminum fins that also dissipate heat. I would have opted to have the 4 foot bulbs and if you can fit a bigger box I would just do that. There is only a section in the middle of the bulb which is actually pumping out the UV so bigger is better. We had to fit the box in this window ledge so we were limited in space. Which is why I have to varnish the body of a cello separately from the scroll. The ground is nothing complicated. It’s the same stuff a lot of other people use. Just tanning, oxidizers, and then resins without oil rubbed into the wood.
  12. This is the ground for the current instrument I’m working on. I’ve since put some varnish on but I snapped an iPhone shot a couple of weeks ago before I started putting on the varnish layers.
  13. I just saw a post on Facebook by Joe Joyner. He owns the Little Rock Violin Shop. He apparently was contacted by the state department a few weeks ago inquiring about an US made viola. He sold them an instrument made in 1938 by Ivan W. Allison of Charleston, West Virginia and that’s the one that was given to the emperor. Maybe Joe can elaborate. I’m not sure if he is on Maestronet. I can send him a message to look at this thread.
  14. Sorry I’m later than I said on this. The shop got super busy this week. The stuff on the tiles are the OldWood alcohol colors in alphabetical order. The tile with the duct tape residue is the one that has been sitting on my car dash for 5 months. The other has been in a drawer for the same amount of time. I’m putting it back in the car to see how it continues to develop under sunlight. The other 2 pictures are the orasol sprinkled onto white paper and dissolved with a couple drops of alcohol. I labeled them by the code that they sell them. The outside ones turn more orange (as you can see) when you layer more on. Very thin amounts are more yellow. It’s hard to tell the hues in the photo but the one on the right has more brown in it and the left is a little more vibrant. The middle yellow pretty much stays that color even as it is layered.
  15. Hello, Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. The Orasol dyes work very well. They are a professional dye like David was describing. They are also very lightfast. They have a lot of yellows and some of the yellows might not be what you would consider yellow. When I’m in the shop again on Tuesday, I can take a photo of a few of the yellow colors and I might have some more to discuss once they are in front of me. The biggest complaint I have from the orasol dyes is the intensity. You have to tone them down with something else like a lamp black to make them work well. It’s like anything else, you have to work with them for a little while to get the hang of it. Lately however I have been trying OldWood alcohol colors and I like them a lot. I have only been experimenting with them for a few months but so far so good. I usually use a glazing technique for touchup meaning I put the colors (orasol, OldWood, or dusted earthtone pigments) directly onto the piece without any medium and alternate layers of shellac to seal the color in. The OldWood alcohol colors have a nice flow off the brush that I appreciate and the colors seam easy to match. As far as lightfastness goes, I’m working on figuring that out. I have all the colors painted on a tile and taped to my cars dash. I also have another tile with the same colors on them sitting in a drawer and not exposed to light. I’ve been doing this for maybe 4 or 5 months so far. I’m going to continue through summer and then I will stop. So far the colors have held up pretty well, except the yellow actually gets slightly darker (I was expecting it to fade). I can post a picture of the 2 tiles on Tuesday too.
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