cmjohnson

Members
  • Content Count

    100
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About cmjohnson

  • Rank
    Member
  1. Greetings. I recently came into a collection of old violins at an estate sale. They are mostly incomplete instruments, made by a luthier named Nick Youngblood. The few things I've found of his that were dated bear dates of 1929 and 1930, and I finished one or two of his violins to playable condition. The workmanship is in the "obviously self taught" category. These are not incredible instruments, but they do have character. I have something approaching 30 violin bodies which are just ribs and a back. There are a few completed instruments that I would call "highly experimental" and some broken ones, too. I'm not looking to get rich off of this "treasure trove". I'd just like to pass on these things to other enthusiasts who may want to have them and possibly use them for practice, or complete them and see what they get, or maybe just hang them on the wall. If anyone is interested in these, post here and I will post pictures of them, listed individually, and you make offers on what you want. I'm not going to set any minimum prices. I simply know that I'm not likely to address any building out of these instruments for years if ever, and I'd rather put them in the hands of somebody who is more likely to take action on them than I am. Money isn't the issue here. Getting these into the hands of some people who would like to experiment and/or complete some of these violin projects is the objective. I think there would be something very nice about someone taking these 80 year old violin bodies and finally turning them into musical instruments. I think Nick Youngblood would be really happy for that to happen. I brought one or two of his instruments back to life, and now I'd like for someone else to have a turn. Chris
  2. I have acquired a nice piece, quite large enough for a one-piece neck blank with some good, usable sized remnants left over. And, I have a deal for a second piece as well. The sustained ring you get out of a piece of Pernambuco like this is really amazing. I have never encountered such a tonal character in a piece of wood before. Chris
  3. I feel that I must express my irritation that apparently, people who have pieces of Pernambuco that would nicely fit my requirements seem to be concentrated in Canada, and I'm in the US. (Florida.) This puts treaty restrictons in my way. It's not making me happier with every passing second. Chris
  4. This has been highly productive and given me several good possibilities, including possibilities with woods I hadn't considered. While my objective has not changed, to use Pernambuco if I can get it, I am also interested in trying out some of the other woods mentioned. There's no reason I can't make more instruments, and after all, making instruments, of any kind, is very enjoyable. So I might as well see how different woods affect the outcome. I find it particularly interesting that Ipe is being recommended. How strange, that a wood that is finding use as patio decking, of all things, arguably the "lowest" use of wood, is also found to be suitable for bowmaking, which is arguably the "highest" use of wood. I'm very interested in trying out different woods, but I believe in conservation efforts which will help ensure a sustainable supply of the woods we want to use. Brazilian Rosewood is a long-time favorite in the guitar making world, but the only stuff coming in these days is from recovered stumps from trees cut many years ago. It'll be some time before the species recovers enough that new harvesting is likely to be allowed. Pernambuco, fortunately, seems to lend itself well to cultivation and apparently grows rather rapidly. I think it won't be so many years before it's once again available without enormous hassles. What's concerning me is the availability of quilted and curly maple. This hasn't been addressed by anyone, so far as I know, but it is known that whatever causes the quilted or curled figure is not genetic, it's a reaction to specific environmental stresses, the nature of which is not yet clearly understood. That makes it hard to reproduce at will. Seedlings from trees that exhibited dramatic curl or quilt do not exhibit those figures when planted and grown on a tree farm. CJ
  5. I have been lucky enough to have found two Foredom tools, tossed out in junk piles, over the years. They both work perfectly well. The more recent one is complete with variable speed foot control. It seems a shame that I get extremely little use out of them, but I won't let go of them because when one of these is needed, there is nothing better for the job than a Foredom tool. Compared to a Dremel, they're in another league entirely. CJ
  6. Gilmer has none. I checked them first. I could go with any wood mentioned. I'm prepping a nice piece of East Indian Rosewood for a neck right now, but what I really want is to follow the violin neck experiment as closely as possible. Cocobolo may be good but the objective is Pernambuco if I can find it. I'll check into any leads. I've got several inquiry emails out there already. Chris
  7. Greetings. I'm now looking for a large piece of pernambuco, which should not be of bowmaking quality. By large, I mean a minimum length of 26 inches (30 would be ideal) and a width of 3 inches, or close to it, and a thickness of 2 to 3 inches. I'm sure that it's not easy to find bigger pieces of GOOD quality pernambuco which are suitable for violin bows, but frankly I'm looking for wood that has been rejected by bow makers as not good enough for that job. I would also consider similarly sized pieces of brazilwood. You're wondering what I'm up to, aren't you? Well, though I have a great interest in stringed instruments, my roots are as a guitar maker, and right now I'm gearing up to build a few guitars. If I can get the pernambuco, or brazilwood at least, then I intend to make the neck of one of these guitars out of that wood. Different neck woods give different characteristics to the guitar. Pernambuco has been used experimentally before, and it gives the guitar great sustain and a distinctive tonality. I want to try this for myself. An example of the use of Pernambuco in a guitar neck is the Paul Reed Smith Private Stock Violin model, which is an electric guitar that probably costs about 10,000 dollars. Only a few were made. (50, I think.) The same characteristics that make it the wood of choice for bows (high modulus of elasticity, high rate of transfer of vibrations through it, low rate of vibration absorption) will help contribute to the sustain of the guitar made with it. So, if you know of anyone who might have some pernambuco or brazilwood, as described, please let me know. Thanks. Chris
  8. Sometimes the body "springs" when the top is removed. This can be corrected for by putting temporary braces inside the body in critical spots. The braces are cut to the right length to support the body's correct width when it was mated to the top, but must also be cut thin enough that they can be broken and removed through the F-holes or end pin hole after the top is safely back on. The best way to cut this kind of support brace would be to to cut it across the grain, not with it, on a scrap of spruce from your last instrument top carving project. Make a stick out of this wood with the grain running across its width rather than down its length and it will be pretty easy to break when the time comes. You can tie a string to the middle of the brace and lead it out the end pin hole, or you can stick a rod in the end pin hole and snap the stick. Whatever you wish. Just make sure that the bracing sticks are in fact small enough to be extracted through either the F-holes or end pin hole. Chris
  9. I know someone who had a bottle of superglue BURST while he was squeezing it. Superglue went into his mouth. He had a bottle of superglue remover spray handy. Yes, he sprayed it into his mouth and took care of the superglue problem. He reported that it was by far the most foul taste you could never possibly imagine. CJ
  10. Since slab cut wood is not as strong as quartersawn wood of the same dimensions, I'd PRESUME that a slab cut back would be thicker than a quartersawn back in order to achieve the same level of strength. How much thicker? I'd GUESS about 20 percent. Chris
  11. These both came from the same high volume dealing violin shop that provides instruments (and repairs) to practically every student and every school within 100 miles. The KCC brand is the one they sell the most of, and that's a pretty good number of instruments. There's really no shortage of instruments that have been either damaged in shipping or by mishandling at a later time. Chris
  12. I've inspected the top and the wood is well on the quarter, without any runout to speak of. The finish is an oil varnish, brushed on, not sprayed, and this type is pretty easy even for me to touch up. The soundpost left a very clear dent in the bottom surface of the top where it broke out. The actual missing piece is nearly square. I'm very careful to be sure that the two sides of the break line up perfectly when gluing. I recently got experience with repairing a violin (same brand as this, incidentally, a Keith, Curtis, and Clifton) with two breaks in the top and frankly you'd be hard pressed to see that it was ever damaged. The alignment of the broken areas is essentially perfect. I didn't rush the job and even the cleats are nicely shaped. The biggest thing I'm concerned about with this soundpost patch is, what's the preferred form for repairing the missing area? Should I drill out the hole to a perfectly round hole with tapered sides? Oval? What's the preferredd shape? Chris
  13. Here's a pic of the damage prior to starting repairs. Chris
  14. I see it as a skill builder, and when the instrument is repaired I put it up for sale. It should be worth about 400 dollars in well repaired shape, given the cost of this particular model in as new condition, and I could certainly use 400 dollars whenever it happens to come along. Or would you prefer that I wait to attempt my first soundpost patch job on the next 25,000 dollar violin to come along with said problem? I think you'd cringe at the thought. So would I. Decently made student instruments are very good for learning repair skills. Chris
  15. I'm about to attempt my first soundpost patch repair on a 14" viola. The instrument was dropped and the soundpost blew right through the top and left a long U-shaped break in the top as well. The piece that got knocked out of the hole is not available. The U-shaped split will be easy enough to handle. (The top is already off the instrument.) I'll be fixing that before attempting the soundpost patch. I have some well matched spruce for the soundpost patch. Similar grain spacing, etc. It should match up well and if it doesn't, it's nobody's fault but mine. But, if you have any specific hints or tips on the technique and method of soundpost patching for me before I start shaving wood, I'd very much like to read them. Chris