Conor Russell

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About Conor Russell

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  • Birthday 01/23/1965

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    Old Irish violins, and life in general

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  1. I'd ask that too. It seems to me that a spline would just give it two more places to break. It looks to me like an old repair. These things can be fine for years, especially so low down on the head. You might find a threaded silver pin or a screw underneath the tip plate - that's what would have been done here. Probably still what I'd do if someone twisted my arm to do that repair.
  2. Looks like a bit of walnut to me.
  3. I think not. Mine was made in Austria, and they were made in Korea later on. I picked mine up on Ebay, complete with mill (pretty useless), stand with drawers, and lots of tooling, for €370. That was ten years ago, but they do crop up.
  4. I have a Myford 7 and a little Unimat 3. I enjoy both. Really, the unimat is perfectly capable for bow button work, making bushings etc. It's really compact, quiet, and clean. The ways dont need oil, and the headstock bearings are sealed, so it's dry. I lubricate the toolpost and ways with a soft pencil. The myford is a bit of a liability in a violin workshop. It drinks oil, and flings it off the chuck at unvarnished masterpieces. So mine has been turfed out. But I love it. I've never had to buy a part for either lathe - they just dont break unless you do something like crash the carriage while threading.
  5. I meant to find some good examples of the Perry shop for this thread, but never had time. I'll take the time to do so soon. Happy new year all. Conor
  6. It sounds horrible to me. Graphite is so dirty and fine grained - it would be all over the place. I hate the idea of having to clean a violin before varnish. It should be spotless. So I wash my hands regularly, and smudging graphite about would do my head in.
  7. I too have a box of old eyes, and can usually find one to work with a little fitting. Whatever I do, first I clean the frog and wash out the old glue. Then I mask the frog with a piece of shoulder tape material, with a hole cut in it the size of the eye. I can file, sand, and etch the pearl without touching the ebony.
  8. Yes, just a flat mill file! If you're worried about marking the rest of the sole, put a strip of masking tape across the plane mouth, and let the file ride on that while you cut away the bump. And while you're at it, file a chamfer across the heel and toe of the sole, to match the bruise. All my planes are chamfered- it's what I learned to do with a new plane to protect the edges, and proved very useful when my workshop had a terasso floor.
  9. If you start at 15mm, you'll probably end up with 14mm final height, which is very low. Most nice old violins have higher arching - I'd say 16 to 18 on average. I've just finished one with an 18mm belly, and I'm very happy with the results.
  10. I've never sealed with anything but the silex, lime or plaster, and my varnish darkens endgrain without it. Do you use a wash of glue or shellac to prevent this?
  11. For violin fingerboards, and thicknessing ribs, I have a Lee neilson 102. Recently I made a high speed steel iron for it from a Starrett red stripe hacksaw blade. Its superb for ebony - I suppose I've done six or eight boards without having to sharpen it. For planing ribs, I still use the iron that came with it. I dont really use it for much else, but I wouldn't be without it.
  12. Interesting you think the lime enhances the grain - I do think plaster of paris kills the flame a little. I looked up lime and gypsum, and apparently lime is less water soluble than plaster of paris. That makes sense to me - you can whitewash a wall with lime but gypsum plasterboard turns to slime if left out in the rain. I'm going to try a few test pieces. I have some putty stored for the last 20 years. If it's still wet it should do very well. Thanks for bringing it up.
  13. Funny, I always associate a heavy neck root (or shallow thumb stop) with Mirecourt - It's one of the tell tales I look for. But this just isn't it. There's a class of violins that we called 'German in the French style'. I was told they were actually trying to imitate Mirecourt work. But their carving techniques must have been different, and they never quite look French. The necks always look German too.
  14. I don't seal with anything else. The plaster fills any pores to some extent, and the thick oil varnish, rubbed on, soaks into the plaster. I add a drop of driers to this varnish. When I first was shown this sort of ground, 30 years ago, we used Silex powder, mixed into the varnish. I like treating the spruce fronts with the wet slurry. For some reason I think it has acoustic benefits, although I dont really know. Roger Hargrave has a very comprehensive explanation on his Bass building thread. I haven't ventured into the wood colouring techniques he mentions, but just use UV, and a light treatment of nitrite.
  15. I used it years ago, just old slaked putty put on wet, then dusted off and varnish rubbed in. I seem to remember it worked well enough, but I'd be careful. Try it with your varnish to be sure it becomes transparent. Now I use plaster of Paris, as a wet slurry only on the spruce, dried and mixed in th the varnish as a paste on the maple. Even very well washed, lime or pop can form a glaze on the surface as water evaporates through them, and if you cant rub that off you'll see it as a haze in the ground. So get any water staining done before the plaster goes on. If you try to add stain later you risk drawing a glaze to the surface of the wood.