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Everything posted by lambert

  1. Thank you all for the help, and Jacob, I really appreciate you contributing that recipe in addition to your advice and knowledge of the fiddles origins. Jeff-- The belly has a pretty large pin near the saddle. The separation on closer inspection is actually a crack that has developed about 1.5mm parallel to the center seam. It was glued previously, but obviously that repair hasn't held up.
  2. Thanks guys, The repairs on this are all things I've done before, but it's always been on lesser quality instruments, so I really just wanted to check in and make sure this wasn't something too out of my league... I feel good about doing the work, but then there is a certain line of historical and or monetary value I'd sooner not cross as well
  3. Hey all, I'm not entirely inept at repairs, but wondering if this is one for the pros. Recently picked it up at an antique store... The quality of the construction has caused me to set it aside until I can get a sense of what it is. Im guessing Mittenwald? It has: c bout linings let into the blocks, which are mitered and come to a sharp point A stamp under the endpin possibly reading: 1882 12 Generic Antonius Stradiuarius label Pencil marks on the back suggesting attention to graduations graduations that seem pretty in keeping with strad style grads. Oh and here are the photos:
  4. Nice! First though I had was, if wide enough, you could cut off the sapwood with a little of the heartwood still on there, so that the transition from light colored wood of spruce and cherry sapwood to the darker red of cherry heartwood would happen on the rib. Could be interesting, esp since cherry heartwood darkens so much over time. Or it could look horrible?
  5. I didn't get to see the last three posts on this subject before it climbed down into obscurity, but thank you guys for responding. I dont know much about the ratio theories so thanks for getting me started in understanding those. Martin, I don't think this instrument is valuable. I posted about it when i was first starting to think about building and pictures can be seen here: http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/323446-an-old-violin-identification-and-varnish-question/ In fact, in rereading the posts, you figured it was a "good quality German trade violin circa 1880-1890, Dresden or Berlin"
  6. Thanks for the help guys-- Roger I got to follow some of the thread you made on MN about the double bass, but didn't see you'd created this awesome pdf. Looks like I have some reading to do
  7. Thanks Peter, that sounds very straightforward and easy to get repeatable results. How do you make the veneer?
  8. Hey all, I have had multiple unsuccessful attempts at making purfling save for the stuff i made for my recent first fiddle, which was...useable... With this recent batch I think I'm to the point of experience where Id like to throw out some observations in hopes they may help other beginners who are too "thrifty" or curious to order their purfling from a supplier. I also am interested in any and all suggestions from experienced MNers that will help improve my process and product! As of now I am using poplar and dyed walnut, because they're both readily available where I live, and they seem to do the trick. Here's why: I like using walnut for the blacks because its easy to plane, reacts to the iron vinegar solution very strongly, and it bends well. The downside is that if it has any knot shadows, which a lot of it does, it can be less forgiving to work with, causing the fibers to sever on the portion of the shaving that contains the knot shadow. I use poplar for the whites because its very forgiving and allows for thick shavings more so than a lot of other options. Here's a gander at my current process: 1. Get my #5 and #7 planes extremely sharp. I mean so sharp that the hairs on my arm I'm testing it with leap away from the blade in horror, rather than just halfheartedly slicing off. 2. Prepare a piece of walnut and a piece of poplar to get my strips from. **The poplar was planed on the flatsawn** face. This in my experience made it way less brittle, which makes the purfling bend properly. The poplar block I used this last time was about 17mm wide and 40cm long. The walnut was wider by several millimeters and a bit longer than the purfling. 3. Plane of strips of poplar to .7 mm or so ( I like the look of the wider whites and thin black strips). I used my # 7 for this, and found it very important to wet the wood prior to planing each strip. This is when it really devolves into a caveman style I'd like to improve upon. Since It was too hard for me to push through in one stroke, I would make a preliminary stroke , and then, with the plane blade firmly lodged in the wood, I would knock the block of poplar against a stopping block on my bench 2-4 times being sure to keep the plane level and firmly pressed down as I went in order to keep the strip even in thickness through the entire length of the block. Because it was such a deep cut, I would flatten the poplar after each of these passes with my #5. The roughness of one side of the strip doesn't seem to affect how it looks glued. 4. Plane strips of walnut to whatever will allow the poplar + 2 strips of walnut to be 1.2mm. For the walnut I used my #5 (because it was still sharp and works well for making thinner veneers). Grain orientation was riftsawn, and I didn't wet the wood. I had to experiment with walnut scraps to find the right piece, but, if the shaving snaps easily when you bend it in your hands, you should probably try a different grain orientation or try a different piece of walnut. 5. Soak the poplar in warm water, then straighten with bending iron. After annoying attempts to flatten the curled shavings during the gluing process, I decided to try steam bending them flat. It works great. 6. Soak the walnut strips in iron vinegar solution. This solution has been discussed a lot in maestronet. Mine has existed for years for ebonizing stuff and never seems to need replacing. I just top it off with some steel wool and vinegar from time to time and it keeps doing its thing. You can also use rusty anything in the place of steel wool, but steel wool dissolves quickly. After about an hour I removed them from the jar and let them drip the worst of their special sauce onto a sacrificial piece of plywood. At this point they were looking good and ebony...y, I steam bent them flat as well, which was kind of messy but effective. I suggest wearing gloves. Steam bending instantly dries them and I am curious if it could help the dye to penetrate deeper into the wood. 7. Glue the purfling. I warmed the strips with a blow dryer just prior to gluing, then I speedily saturated the strips with hide glue. After saturated I pressed on them with a hardwood block to squeeze out excess glue, then I clamped them under a large piece of oak to a small assembly table I have. As others have suggested, I used plastic wrap to keep the strips contained so they won't adhere to the clamping surfaces. 8. Trim purfling into strips. After leaving the strips clamped overnight, and allowing them to dry once removed, I trimmed a side of the laminate down to where the smaller white strip is flush with the wider black strips, then, with my #5 mounted in my vise, ran the strip over the plane blade to ensure a flat surface. Then I just used my purfling marker set to about 3mm to make a line on both sides and carefully snapped off the newly minted strip from the laminate. Aaand heres a picture:
  9. Thank you again-- I gotta admit I was nervous posting a picture on forum with so many talented people around. I'll try to be less shy about it in the future though Hey a local Maestronetter! I am game to talk fiddle building any time
  10. Hi Roger, Thank you for your encouraging words. I can only hope my 100th fiddle will be as good as your 2nd one Seriously, without the help of your articles, this instrument probably would have turned out 50mm too long and missing an f-hole As for the brickwork, I live in an older part of Louisville (mid-late 19th century) so its entirely possible that the masons that built it were English. Now I'm curious what gives it away as such you see, these are the kind of great secrets that the e-how writers won't give away to just anyone *scribbles in notebook* Peter- I think good results on first violins are thanks in large part to Maestronet existing. The amount of knowledge shared here is simply incredible. Some of my favorites while researching have been reading through other first time makers like PeSt and Kimmo89's photo documented progress. Being able to read through established makers suggestions is invaluable when it comes to trying to get things right or close to. As for the addiction... tinkering with violins has pretty much become a daily habit for me. Wont be long now till every wall in the house is covered in arcane scribblings on archings, and thicknesses. Even the cat isn't safe from a scroll spiral or two
  11. I really appreciate the encouragement and kind words Hull and Will L-- I based the mold off of the rib assembly scan on the Titian poster, and had "the art of violin making" and of course Maestronet as my teachers. Manfio's corner and scroll carving tutorials, and Roger Hargrave's edgework article (all of which I hope to improve in #2) were incredibly helpful. The Varnish is the simplest (ie cheapest and fastest drying) solution I could find. Modified 1704 spirit varnish tinted with some aniline dye over an amber shellac ground over a thin gelatin seal. Overall I'm happy with how it turned out-- its got a bit more reds and browns than that infamous "safety orange" color I was trying desperately not to reproduce. I am most pleased that I was able to match the spruce and the maple up color wise, because the red maple I was using was significantly darker than the engelmann. Still for my next attempt I hope to get further into the red brown spectrum overall, and could use some tips. I found that the Spirit Varnishing process was one of the hardest topics to find information on. Regarding the fittings-- Ill probably be less cheap on number 2... Probably. Thanks again MN!
  12. So when I was 23 I got interested in violin making. I quickly realized I was in way over my head, and after a few years of building other things, and sporadically learning to play the instrument, I've made a dang fiddle. Its not the best fiddle... I have much to learn, but it sounds good, and its not as bad as a couple primitive attempts I've come across in antique stores, so I am pleased. I havent had the chance to take lots of pictures so this one will have to suffice for now-- but thank you maestronet for answering thousands of my questions along the way. I learned a tremendous amount and am addicted and well into working on #2.
  13. Haha yeah I figured. Now I really have the scale length blues... Esp. considering the old scroll is grafted onto the offending neck.
  14. Addie, how would you deal with the 6mm of extra neck stop length?
  15. Yeah-- also, referring back to C&J the f holes are about 3mm lower on the plate than they suggest
  16. Hi Addie, Attempting quantification The fiddle is a long one: 361mm The neck stop length is 136mm the inner nick on the f hole is 203mm from the upper edge of the top plate the fingerboard is 269mm Let me know if you need any other numbers
  17. I have a nice fiddle that i've been wanting to do a overhaul on setup wise. The problem with is that the nut to f hole nick length is 338 mm. This fiddle has a grafted scroll and I imagine the replacement neck is the culprit as the f hole placement seems correct. Ive been considering fitting a bridge/ soundpost at 330 mm, but that is so far up on the body of the fiddle that i imagine bowing would be awkward. What do you folks do when the scale length is all wonky?
  18. Hello folks, I am pretty close to being able to varnish my first fiddle. A couple evenings work away from sizing. It is cold and gray here in Kentucky, and I do not have a UV box for drying. Is spirit varnish the only option in order to have the instrument playable by Christmas eve?
  19. Thank you everyone, Before I try this, I have more questions. I read a post from 2002 where Michael Darnton had suggested completing a spiral bushing, and then plugging that with a boxwood bushing. Is that what is typically done or do you all just do the spiral and call it good? My other question-- would it be acceptable or even preferable to do traditional end grain boxwood bushings on the peg holes that aren't cracked? Are spirals typically only used when a crack is involved?
  20. Guys I think I may have subconsciously avoided acknowledging how large the peg holes are on this fiddle. Large holes are 8-9 mm in diameter. Should I just go ahead and bush them all?
  21. Let it be known that this crack just happened and it was totally my doing . I was fitting pegs on an old mark. fiddle, and was testing the D peg collar to pegbox measurement after shaving and polishing, when *crack*. I guess there goes any hope of hearing what this fiddle sounds like tonight. Its a straightforward crack that runs from D string along the grain towards the scroll it runs out of pegbox. I have two questions here: First: I am curious what it was I did incorrectly to cause this so i can avoid it in the future. Peg appeared to be making good contact with both sides of hole, and was turning smoothly. Second: from what I've read, I should glue the crack with hide glue, let it dry overnight, and then spiral bush the peg hole with maple saturated in titebond. Let dry, then ream and refit peg. Is this a good plan for a durable repair?
  22. Boroque, Thanks for your reply-- My current theory is this: Ive seen similar surfaces on shellac that was exposed to high temperatures as well as dust and grime on old furniture. This thing could have been stored in a hot attic with the case open. The finish could have softened due to the heat and allowed a nice layer of filth to settle on the top of the fiddle, and sink into the varnish. This would help to explain why there is really no discoloration on the sides or back, only some chipping varnish in the c bouts of the back, as well as why the grime doesnt seem to be separate from the original varnish I ended up having to take the top off to glue some loose linings etc. so Ive been able to test some spots under the neck by applying some 1704 varnish. the 1704 clears the finish very attractively. That being the case, I really would prefer not to strip the fiddle entirely, however im perplexed on how to deal with the areas that have no varnish at all. Should I build up said areas to the level of the existing varnish, then do a finish coat over the entire instrument? if so how can i reduce the sheen of the 1704 varnish a bit so the fiddle doesn't look like ridiculously glossy when i'm done?
  23. I could definitely be more vague, considering my general lack of knowledge of the subject. In fact you caught me in one of my more descriptive moments But yes, the clear oil varnish smells like alcohol, whereas the amber oil smells similar to other oil varnishes I've huff... erm smelled previously... Thanks for your help guys
  24. Interesting-- EM I went ahead and did the sniff test. I have 3 bottles of this stuff- one marked spirit varnish-amber, one marked oil varnish -amber, and the one in the picture-- oil varnish -clear As Berl suggests, the clear oil varnish smells like the spirit varnish does, perhaps with some added materials. It has the same consistency more or less as well. The Amber oil varnish on the other hand is thick and definitely smells oil based. Im curious if the ones marked as oil varnish could have been sold as a sort of 2 part varnish system, clear spirit based first, then amber oil on top?
  25. There we have it-- interesting bit of history
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