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  1. Well if the truck rolled up with the latest masterpieces presumably these violins are selling, which suggests that they are good enough, in terms of sound and how they play, for the people who are buying them - otherwise that truck would stop rolling up. How much do you trust your ears? OK so perhaps these makers are passing off all the work as being their own (if indeed they are doing that). It's disingenuous, deceitful. Not much new in the violin world then.
  2. Michael.N.

    Violin shop bankruptcy in Chicago

    I'll be over for my cup of tea soon Jacob. Can I pay for it in installments?
  3. Michael.N.

    Danish oil

    It's the resin to oil ratio that largely defines it I guess. The resin content might be fairly high, just that it's thinned with solvent. The copious amounts of solvent are just for ease of application when using a rag. You could try the Watco, just wipe on coat after coat after coat. If it has a fair resin content it will build and buff to a very glossy finish. I've done it with Danish oil this side of the pond. If the Danish oil has no resin content, well you might be wasting your time.
  4. Michael.N.

    Danish oil

    Danish oil can mean oil (oils) or just a very dilute oil varnish - almost certainly a polyurethane in which case it certainly will build into a finish if you apply enough coats of the stuff.
  5. Michael.N.

    how to remove(probably) synthetic glue

    CA/Superglue? I had a baroque cittern that was from around 1780, someone had decided that all the little issues had to be dealt with by using superglue - and lots of it. If it is superglue acetone will remove it but it might take some time. I think high solvent adhesives usually respond to mineral turps.
  6. Michael.N.

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    I've used a fair amount of bog oak, mostly for guitar fretboards as a replacement for ebony. The stuff I get is black. Fill the open grain and it very much looks like ebony from a very short distance. Anyway it looks like wood, feels like wood and works very much like it. It's supposedly a little harder although I barely notice it. Most of the bog oak I've bought has been carbon dated to 5,000 + years.
  7. Michael.N.

    Craig Tucker, in rememberence.

    Sad news indeed.
  8. Michael.N.

    miniature milling machine

    Forget the milling machine. Use the scraper or a rough abrasive wrapped around a small wooden block. I've done many planes and not had much luck with rubbing the sole on abrasive stuck to thick plate glass. That's when I turned to using abrasive on a wooden block. I deliberately relieved the areas just in front of and behind the blade - same manner that Japanese wooden planes are relieved.
  9. Michael.N.

    Does a violin improve with age?

    You know I've done many side by side comparisons with guitars. I worry if there's a gap of a few seconds (between playing each guitar). I'd be a quivering wreck if that gap was being measured in years! You are relying on an impression. Maybe it's you yourself that's changed? (much more likely), perhaps your playing is a little different?
  10. Michael.N.

    Renaissance Workshop Company....Plans and Drawings

    RWC started off as an off shoot of the Early Music shop. It was sold off many years ago and is now run and operates in Spain. They were very much a kit based enterprise specialising in early instrument kits. I haven't seen their viol plan but I have seen the plan for a lute (when they were based in the UK). I wouldn't be paying those kind of prices for their lute plan. If you think you are going to get something rather special then feel free! The plans don't make the instrument for you, you just need enough detail and the know how. No plan is ever going to give you the latter.
  11. Michael.N.

    Renaissance Workshop Company....Plans and Drawings

    http://www.luth.org/plans/instrument_plans.html Somewhat cheaper. RWC plans are ridiculously expensive and always have been. http://homepages.ed.ac.uk/am/iwd.html#Viols Plans in the collection of museum around the world.
  12. Michael.N.

    French Polish materials

    I was taught French polishing some 40 years ago. I think I've pretty much tried all manner of combinations throughout the years, different cloth types, oils, shellac type and various alcohols. I've been using isopropyl for a good few years now, not really noticed any difference between that and industrial ethanol. They flash off at different rates but the difference isn't worth worrying about. Cloth; cotton or linen both work. Waxy shellac is slightly softer but usually has more colour. Depends if you want more of a clear finish. I use mineral oil but I've also used linseed, olive and walnut. They all work.
  13. Michael.N.

    Everclear alcohol

    I've been using the high % isopropyl alcohol for several years, buying it in 5 litres. It's water clear, supposedly flashes off slightly slower than ethanol. In use I can't notice the difference whether brushing or french polishing. Don't know what the health problems are, wear a glove when French polishing, use a well ventillated area.
  14. Michael.N.


    I haven't found glair to be any better than shellac, at least not in an optical sense. Try them both side by side on an off cut.
  15. Michael.N.


    You could try Tru oil, which I think is a type of linseed/alkyd varnish. It's a thin wipe on finish but it can be brushed on (very easy to brush). It dries relatively fast, probably because of the added driers. On a test piece I brushed on 8 or 9 coats in one long day (one single UV light in the cabinet) and rubbed it all out to flat gloss the very next day! I mean guitar flat gloss too. The woodwork was taken to a very high grit which obviously helped to achieve a finish in such a short time. Of course there's no need to rush. I was just finding out if it could be done. No colour though (or very little). It's also readily available.