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Dave Slight

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  1. Thanks Andreas. I did spend some time thinking about how to achieve this type of ground, for it seems to be quite a different method they used, compared to their contemporaries. With my tests, I found it was easy to take things too far, and get a result which was quite unpleasant and cold looking, especially for the spruce. Maple can look reasonable with many things, but to get spruce to look right, is often where the work is.
  2. This sort of figure comes from the crotch of the tree, where the large branches join the trunk. It is common in a lot of woods, but not chosen often for violins, on account of the inherent instability of the grain. As it shrinks, the back seam usually separates, which can be very difficult to glue back. There can be a lot of distortion from the figure as it ages, even cracks occurring, where parts of the wood are virtually endgrain. On the OP violin, you can see the grain runs at 45 degrees to the joint for a large part of the back.
  3. Thank you. As far as I can, I’ve copied the colour and varnish wear from the original instrument.
  4. The edges were made like that, they haven’t been changed. This type of edgework is sometimes seen on double purfled instruments, but not exclusively.
  5. The performance of the bridge, in most cases comes down to the skill of the person cutting it. You could buy the best blank in the world, but if you don’t know how to get the best from that in the fitting & cutting, it won’t make much difference. As to the grading, I wouldn’t always agree with a certain brands grading standards. Some companies are worse than others in this respect, I often regrade them myself, and at times will send a percentage back as being sub standard.
  6. The violin has suffered a catastrophic accident(s), in the past. The damage probably all happened at the same time, and has nothing to do with the wood being weak. When violins get dropped onto a hard floor, trodden on by a horse, or crushed inside a case, there is only so much they can take.
  7. Not a copy at all, just a violin with a spurious label. From the limited pictures, the violin looks to be French. The sort of thing people optimistically like to refer to as Caussin school.
  8. Graphite makes a useful dry lubricant. If you are going to use a pencil, you want 8b or similar, the softer the better. An HB pencil won’t do much.
  9. The button has been broken off, and by the look of it, more than once. The whole area has a hotchpotch of poorly executed repairs.
  10. An S shaped bridge is quite common on cellos with four adjusters on the tailpiece. The order of events will have been that the bridge began to tilt forward, possibly when strings were changed, or simply from tuning over months, and the bridge was not straightened up. When the tailpiece adjusters are used for all of the tuning, rather than fine tuning, the sticky rosined part of the string gets dragged through the bridge string groove. Being so sticky, and under considerable tension, they don’t slide easily, and usually just end up bending the top of the bridge back towards the tailpiece. The bridge having tilted forwards results in the leg looking bowed out, and the bending back of the top part of the bridge above the waist produces the typical S shape. If you straighten the bridge more often, keep things clean & lubricate the string grooves, the effect can be minimised.
  11. Always worth bearing in mind that people make mistakes, and sometimes do different things. I’ve just closed up a mid 19th century English violin, which is undergoing restoration. All of the internal work is still original, construction method is built up from the back. Three of the corner blocks are the English standard, the upper treble one is shaped like an old french block. When you examine the rib, it’s clear they cracked it slightly while bending, so made a much larger block to support the cracked portion. Similar can happen with rib mires, when one was cut a bit too short. To compensate, rather than a central joint, there might be a more rudimentary overlap. Giving the impression it was intentionally mitred. I’ve seen linings, where one end is mortified into the block, but the other end wasn’t, presumably because it was cut too short. No one felt the need to start over.
  12. A great point. When trying to compare instruments, the quality and authenticity of the reference material is paramount. Otherwise, you have no hope of identifying anything from unsubstantiated sources, random internet pictures, dubious guesswork, taking constructional points out of context, and so forth.
  13. A fairly common issue with Strad posters. By the time they were printed a few errors had crept in, measurements reversed in places, and things of that nature.
  14. The Strad poster is the best resource for this cello that can be easily obtained. Not sure what extra measurements you need, but if you explain a bit more, maybe those of us who have made this model can help to fill in the blanks for you.
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