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. Bass finger board dressing

    I have Chuck Traeger's book, and I'm afraid I'd question a lot of his methods. If i remember, Strobel gives a really flat radius (90?) for the bass fingerboard, which is way off. I made one to his measurements and wasted a very expensive piece of ebony! Joey Naeger's piece is brilliant.
  2. Any functioning self-rehairing bows left?

    I wonder were they made for people to bring to the colonies and the like, where rehairers might be thin on the ground?
  3. Why mortise the neck?

    Even when they're well made, I think end grain to long grain joints can work themselves loose, perhaps because of the different degrees to which they move depending on the weather. On the business of opening joints.. I would completely avoid steam or water. If hide glue gets just a tiny bit damp it gets mighty strong, and as the wood gets damp it swells up, so you can't get any more water in. If you do, eventually the glue gels, along with all the glue in the surrounding joints. Far better, I think, to let in a tiny drop of alcohol.
  4. Why mortise the neck?

    If that were so, it would be virtually impossible to take a neck out at all.
  5. Why mortise the neck?

    Can't see why you'd want to chase a furious jealous husband around the place at all. More nonsense!
  6. Why mortise the neck?

    Utter nonsense. You can't run with your pants down. No-one can.
  7. Why mortise the neck?

    I have a little English viola whose neck was just glued on too. It seems to have been fine until the thing got damp and everything fell to bits. I think the button joint gives the most important anchor, including in cellos, where you often find loosened in the neck joint, and it's the only thing holding it together. Modern necks bring the joint well inside the purfling line, so that weakness is somewhat covered. Also, there's an extra 5mm of wood in the heel of the neck. Without it, and with the overstand as high as it is now, I think necks would be inclined to drop and break much more than they do.
  8. Fixing an ivory frog

    Lennox will have it Ben, but i hate the stuff and do without it.
  9. Deformed bow

    I've successfully filled holes like this using thin superglue and thin woodshavings of pernambuco. I build the shavings up in layers, a few at a time, and holding them in place with my thumb covered with a piece of a plastic bag, I drop in the glue. Clean it all out with acetone first, and wipe away any extra glue as you go. Overfill the whole area, let it harden, and reshape it. Very useful for building up ebony on frogs too. I fill 'normal' thumbnail wear with a piece of shellac that I melt with a spirit lamp. It wears again, but can be repaired easily at each rehair.
  10. Importance of grain direction on maple backs

    You seem to have the outline marked very much ascew to the grain. I choose a grain line at one end and follow it to the other. I mark a line between, and like to make the centre line within a few degrees of parallel to this.
  11. Neck Overstand

    I seldom measure the angle at the bridge. When making new violins with normal archings of about 15 to 17 or so, I make the overstand 6 to 7. Any time I've checked the angle has been there or there abouts. If you increase the overstand too much, and I've seen it done (9+) to violins with very high archings, you run the risk of encouraging the arching to fold up under the fingerboard, causing the elevation to fall. And some of the highest arched old violins are the very ones most susceptible to this problem. I suppose it's a balancing act.
  12. How to Repair Button Separation From Neck?

    To my eye this looks like a very simple, very common, glue failure. Usually you can run in some glue, put on a clamp and charge a very reasonable amount, and everyone's happy. One thing though. Earlier on I think the impression might have been given that one can reactivate old glue in a joint by adding hot water. In my view this doesn't work at all.
  13. How to Repair Button Separation From Neck?

    Your violin repairer will know what to do in a minute. And if he suggests an ebony crown ask him why!
  14. PegHeds....

    I have fitted a few sets of Wittner pegs. They seemed to to work well for people who can't have tailpiece adjusters but do use steel strings and that sort of thing. They're on the Sultana for example E.
  15. Dimensions and shape/profile of linings

    It can't be done this way if you purfle and scoop after the box is closed, as I do.