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Matthew Noykos

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About Matthew Noykos

  • Birthday 05/13/1978

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    http://grandrapidsviolins.com

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    Grand Rapids, Michigan

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  1. Don’t worry, I set aside the Gaglianos for my experiments. So, what is the difference then between surfactants and wetting agents? I hear them used almost interchangeably and I know a lot of terms in this business get thrown around incorrectly but precise language I think is important. And speaking of precise language, when I said mix it up, what I should have said was stirring the emulsion before use to keep it from separating. I actually don’t know yet if it really separates as I mixed it with water and used it right away. And also I would think the laponite would work fine with the emulsion as it’s mostly water. Also, sorry to ambush you, but whenever I corner a chemist I always pepper them questions. You mentioned Triton being a non-ionic cleaner. It looks like Surfynol is as well? What’s the difference between non-ionic, anionic, etc. cleaners as it applies to our business? I’ve read that non-ionic functions well with oily soils and anionic is better for particulate soils and also foams more. Also does it matter if I use distilled or deionized water with this? It may sound like I know something but I just read stuff so talk to me like I’m an idiot.
  2. I know you said it’s not soluble in water but do you think it would work fine if you mix it up before use? Also, I hear wetting agent a lot but as a chemist can you explain in layman’s term what that means for our purposes.
  3. I also did it in front of an exhaust fan we use in the shop for such things since we are talking about toxicity.
  4. So I experimented with it today. Another restorer had a recommendation to mix it with distilled water. 100mL of water to .5-.8 grams of Surfynol. That seemed like not a lot of surfynol to me but after using it in that mixture I will have to say that you don’t need a lot of surfynol. I used a dropper to get the surfynol in and I put about .8 grams in. It’s very strong. It seems promising to me. It seems like a fairly aggressive cleaner but didn’t do anything to the surrounding varnish however I will check on it after the weekend. I cleaned it thoroughly with just water afterwards.
  5. I got some Surfynol 61 from our recent order with Kremer because I’ve heard of restorers using it for cleaning cracks and wanted to try it. My question is, does anybody who has used it have any procedural tips or advice? Maybe other uses as well? I’m going to experiment with it myself and if I come up with anything useful, I’ll report back.
  6. Marcus Bretto is friends with him and Marcus has a profile here on Maestronet. Not sure if he checks it. I bought a curved chisel blank from Thorsson blades a while back and I like it a lot. It’s great for trimming the fit on a neckgraft.
  7. Would Osmo be a good solution? I’ve used it on furniture with good results and it has kept its appearance with minimal darkening even being by windows and exposed to UV. Also a cello maker friend of mine used it on the floors and trim work in his shop with good results. Plus it’s German made since you are living in Bavaria and it’s fairly natural and food safe in most cases. I’m not an expert on wood finishes though.
  8. Oh, also you can put cling film over the heel and spray on the color to see if you have the right mix and then adjust the color if needed without adding it to the heel and then having to take it off. You can also use this to practice with the airbrush since it takes a little skill to add it evenly.
  9. David and Jeff, you guys can speak for me anytime you want. I agree with everything you said. Nick, yes an airbrush is an awesome tool to add to your touchup arsenal. Yes, I do mostly use it with dyes in alcohol when I use it for coloring the heel. I also use it for clear coating which is wonderful. You can use pigments in it like Jeff suggested but they will gum up the equipment like he said. I’m always fussing with it anyhow. Always cleaning the sucker so that’s the downside of them, but when it works well it’s great. I usually take the pin out of mine when I store it and find it easier to get started again when I need it. I thin the shellac more for airbrush use. Something like a 1 pound cut. I also use matting agent which unfortunately also gums things up but looks good on almost everything. I lately have been using Jenkins matting agent that is in liquid form that Stacey Styles mixes up and sells. If you are living in England you can buy liquid matting agent directly from them, but they won’t ship it across the ocean, so Stacey has been getting it dry and mixing it back up in the US.
  10. I’ll offer a couple of things. Feel free to ignore if it’s not helpful. I looked to see what I had for photos. None of them are uniform because that’s not really what looks right for antiqued instruments but I couldn’t find any photos of newer instruments I’ve done the heel for. I’ll add them if I find them later. But my thought on what you posted for your photo is that it looks good, it just doesn’t look finished yet. If you add a little color in the joint to mimic dirt and old varnish and then do just a little of shading from there it will look fantastic. I usually try to mirror the patterns that are happening on the adjacent rib. Here’s my basic process. After shaping the neck, I start out by raising the grain with water and let it dry. And then sand with 220, and then wet it again and let dry. I repeat this 3 times with 220, 3 times with 320, and finally 3 times with 600. By then the grain has been raised and knocked down again so many times that the wood will accept stain very evenly. I first use chickory for the initial stain. I then mix dry pigments together to get my desired color for the instrument and then rub the dry pigments into the neck using a couple of drops of mineral oil just as a carrier. It’s mostly a thick mass of pigments. I will then rub off most of what I applied so everything isn’t so intense. Then I just polish the neck with shellac and mineral oil to seal everything in. Now I have a base color. Then I will start using touchup to fade the color up from the joint making the joint dark and getting lighter towards the top of the heel where the players hand touches. I often use nussbaum in the joint which you can sometimes use to get a nice craquelure too. The first picture with the new neck and replaced ebony crown shows this. I will often use an airbrush to add the color onto the heel as well. This is especially useful if the instrument is newer and the heel needs to be really even. I just tape off the ribs so I don’t add shellac to the ribs. Once everything looks right, I add a few clear coats with the airbrush. You said you had difficulty polishing the heel and I find it to be a bear as well. I usually hit the heel after the clear coats dry with fine steel wool to smooth things over and then I polish. Makes it easier. Often I go back steel wool at the end too to knock down sheen. I also usually use matting agent in the clear coats and touchup varnish. Hope that’s helpful.
  11. I’m rarely on Maestronet anymore these days but happened to check in tonight. Since I wrote the articles that Mark referenced in the beginning of the thread I thought I would clarify a few things. The issue with writing about something is that it is a snapshot in time and gets set in stone in peoples’ minds even if the person who wrote it has had an additional decade plus of experiences to add. Also people tend not to really read an article before they make judgements on it. I have had many people talk to me and start to criticize an article I’ve written only to find out that I specifically addressed whatever issue they had already in the article and often I’m in complete agreement with them anyhow. With that said, I’m actually not all that dogmatic about my work. The longer I do this the more I realize how many different successful methods there are. I don’t have issues with removing a neck without a saw and sometimes I find that to be appropriate. Most of the time when I use a saw, I’m just sawing through old replacement pieces that I will be removing anyhow and also my saw is .2 mm thick and the cut I get is pretty close to what the opening knife would do. If there is a slight cancavity to the sides of the heel, my saw can usually bend to accommodate it as I use my thumb to push the cut right up against the heel. If it’s seriously concave or there is some other odd issue I assess the situation and use something different like most restorers I know. I also use alcohol like Michael talked about. I have a diabetic syringe (it’s a super tiny needle) with the end of the needle domed that I use to inject small controlled amounts of alcohol into joints. Lastly, everybody calls it the karate chop method which is not very accurate for what I do. It’s really more of a tap than a chop. I use very little force as I don’t want to unintentionally damage something. And to be honest the majority of the time I just use the end of the fingerboard and wiggle things loose. The only time I tap the neck up by the scroll is to break the bottom joint of the neck heel endgrain and the mortise, which is the weakest part of the neck joint and usually comes lose by wiggling the neck. The nice thing about a tap is you can control the force without overdoing it accidentally kind of like the control you have when using a chisel and mallet. When you are carving with a mallet, you can tap it lightly to make a controlled cut. You don’t have to all out wack it, just like you don’t need to karate chop a neck.
  12. Yeah I also got into Drucker as a result of reading that book. My father-in-law gave the book to me because a librarian friend of his had a proof copy. So I got to read it before it was even published. I bought Drucker’s Bach Sonatas and Partitas cd that was talked about in the book and it’s still one of my favorite recordings and favorite interpretation of those pieces. It’s funny, I just now checked and it’s in my cd player at the shop right now actually.
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. 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.
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