Dave Slight

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    Manchester, England

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  1. I do not know. Maidstone varnish isn’t something I’ve spent much thought on.
  2. The worm holes in the fingerboard were probably there before the ebony was even cut into a blank to make it from. The species of beetle which can eat ebony, seems to be a tropical one, and certainly in the case of a violin, there are much easier woods to eat, which would contain more nourishment. This varnish degradation happens with an instrument being left in a loft for example, where each year the atmosphere changes from extremes of damp, baking hot, dry, and freezing numerous times. Thick and glassy varnishes can be hard and brittle. Eventually with the continued shrinking and expansion of the spruce, it starts to become detached from the wood, following the grain. The maple parts never seem to be affected to the same extent, or at all. Later commercial spray finishes, such as nitro cellulose can completely flake off over large areas. These do not stand up well to poor storage conditions.
  3. In general, wood shrinks such a small percentage along it’s length that it can be discounted as a factor here. The back and belly both shrink across the width, the ribs don’t shrink. From this stress, the ribs will start to bulge (they are effectively forced into a longer and narrower shape) near the end blocks, eventually popping the seams open. You will then find that you can’t push the ribs back into position to glue them. Over time, the disparity increases. The ribs will eventually exceed the margins of the belly and back, requiring them to be shortened, along with the linings, in order to restore the correct amount of overhang. Larger instruments suffer from this much more, so if you want to see it for yourself, an old cello is often a good candidate. Look either side of the tail block. In extreme cases, the stress can start to crack the ribs at the edge of the block.
  4. Not around this area. I’ve only seen one in twenty five years.
  5. I have a violin here which is made from mahogany (by a cabinet maker), salvaged from a piece of furniture in a famous building. It has a spruce top, and the sound is reasonable. Being plain mahogany, it looks achingly dull and quite unappealing.
  6. Hi Andreas, I’ve not experienced this personally, but I think the humidity levels in our respective countries may be very different. Hope your mood got better over the weekend
  7. No. This isn’t really the way that shrinkage, or natural movement of the wood happens. It’s never one way first, then another direction later.
  8. Ribs do not shrink along the grain.
  9. Do you know who cut this one for them?
  10. It would seem a rather odd career path if this was the case.
  11. As someone who does this for a living, I find your hypothesis wide of the mark. Over 20 years of dealing with professional musicians, cutting thousands of sound posts, and even more adjustments has proved otherwise.
  12. The Dominant set usually comes with a wound E string, which is not terribly good. As an option, they offer a plain steel E which is better, but still not great. When using Dominants on a violin, a plain steel Pirastro Eudoxa is a much better choice. But really most other E’s are better than Dominants anyway.
  13. I don’t think there will be one, but if there is, I hope sausages and beer would be involved.
  14. I find them to be ok in this respect. The way they are designed means that they clear the edge, and apply pressure over the fluting or purfling. On some models of violin, you will find that the curved clamps may not match the radius at the corners perfectly. Any type of clamp has the potential to damage the varnish, or leave imprints. How you use them is of as much importance as the clamp itself.
  15. If you read my original post again, it may help. This is a trade violin from around 1900. All the faux repairs were done at the time of manufacture. The edge pieces were put in before the violin was purfled. The varnish is entirely original, and is exactly as it was applied. UV can show differences in varnish, and varnish retouching because they fluoresce differently. In this case, it shows that the inset repairs on the back and belly are all under the original varnish.