Conor Russell

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About Conor Russell

  • Rank
    Enthusiast
  • Birthday 01/23/1965

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Ireland
  • Interests
    Old Irish violins, and life in general

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  1. Here's a violin that started life with a through neck, and the ribs let into the back. In this one too, the groove stops short of the corner. The linings fit pretty well, although they must have been dropped in from the front, like the corner blocks, after the ribcage was complete, and glued in place. It was once a lovely violin, but it's banjaxed now.
  2. I'm not sure that a spline would add much strength in this case. The bow has survived as it is for some time - it doesn't look like a new repair. So I think I'd clean and reglue the flake. I wonder how much damage to the head such as this devalues a bow? I have a similarly damaged stick that plays very well, but I use it as a lending bow.
  3. My bending irons are pretty normal oval ones. I start at one end of each rib and bend it to the line bit by bit. I hold it to the form, and put my finger exactly where it needs to be bent - where a gap appears. Then I bend it there, and only there, then on to the next bit. Most of the work is done towards the end of the iron, or at the end. Most of the time I make the upper and lower ribs in one, and as I approach the corner I cant fit the rib in to try the fit, so I bend to a line drawn on a sheet, and make any little correction afterwards. The same for the c bouts. Hope this makes sense.
  4. I bend ribs a little at a time, inching my way around, and just bending exactly where the rib parts company with the line I'm following, or the form. I usually bend them dry, except sometimes in very tight corners. It's very quick and accurate, and the ribs fit pretty exactly, so there's no worry about tensions or distortions, and I'm left with a nice ripple with the figure.
  5. I'm up to my neck at the moment, but I'll try to show a few more examples and tell you as much as I know in a few days. I'm not sure if the French connection is very real, and I've always thought that the Dublin makers were more related to London than anywhere else. The workshop produced a very wide variety over it's 45 or so years. From pretty crude to exceptionally fine. In fact I wonder were there occasional visitors who just made a few and then went off again. It must be remembered that Dublin had a vice regal court and a large wealthy population until the act of union in 1800, and a thriving music scene for years after that, so a decent shop would have done well, and might well have attracted journeymen. Nathan, to my knowledge the necks were always set with a single nail, with a small overstand and a gently wedged ebony fingerboard. The stop lengths are almost invariably a quarter of an inch or so short, like some English fiddles. I have a couple of fine ones with a full stop, and I wonder who made them! Often, when someone turns up with a Perry, it turns out to be a German trade fiddle with a brand beneath the button. You see the same fiddles branded Duke. But the Perry brand is very distinct, the OP's is correct, and there's usually a number on the button itself.
  6. Yes, this is a Perry and Wilkinson. They had others making for them, either in the shop or as out workers. It's hard to say who made what, without a signature hidden somewhere, which is very rare. They made various grades of violin, some with purfling, some without. I'd make a button and put the neck back in. You'll have to join in the new wood without the luxury of real purfling. With an original setup they're perfectly playable. Lots of them seem to come in this sort of condition. Unfortunately good repairers were thin on the ground in years gone by.
  7. For a professional maker, making a violin isn't the slow and tedious task that people often seem to imagine. I know of many makers who have a staff making for them, and whose instruments are absolutely legitimately sold as their own. But most work alone, and do everything themselves, and the process of making beautiful things is what drew them to violins in the first place. For most, making a new violin is as exciting as it ever was. Only very occasionally have I seen instruments that looked a bit fishy from new makers. I can't imagine it would be all that different in Cremona. I hope I'm not too naive.
  8. It wouldn't surprise me if the screw was a repair in this case. I showed a similar violin here some years ago, and have seen another, whose necks were secured with a wooden dowel driven at an angle through the face of the neck, and down through the block. Any screwed neck I've seen had the screw centred in the block as you'd usually see a nail. Yes Dean's, must have been something like that, but fed with ink.
  9. One thing that I often notice is how nicely the purfling is painted on, even on fairly crude English violins. Surely someone must know how they did it - I'd love to hear.
  10. Its worth remembering that there are a great number of variations on the BOB method, and plenty of makers who, not having been reared in a particular school, made their own way. There are other ways to work without a form. Often, the ribs are built on a board, around blocks, finished, and then transferred to the back. Very much like using an inside form, but following a pencil line with the ribs. I've done lots of violas like that, and several copies, where a form would have been too much of an investment for a one off. A friend of mine, who trained at the London college has never done it any other way. You have to be pretty good at bending ribs. I suppose that the only features that would force one to set the sides directly on the back would be a through neck, or a groove, like the old French makers did, or a lack of corner blocks, although I have made ribs with linen corners on a board.
  11. To spread a glaze I use a big soft brush. One of those cheap square ones with a head 2'' x 4'' will do. I whip the colour over the surface, wiping the brush off on a sheet of paper to clean off excess paint. This way I can leave a super thin layer, as Nathan suggests. I dont use the glaze method, but I do put layers of dirt on, made with paint.
  12. Here's the body. Very quick, clean, confidant work straight from the steel. Every scraper mark can be seen under the varnish. Inside, lots of toothed plane marks. The ffs are well cut, the purfling nicely put in. Theres a deep, wide scoop, and a strong round arch. I suppose it's an ordinary French violin, but I like it very much. The neck root matches the ribs very well, and the varnish throughout, and if it had a different head I wouldn't question it so much, but to my eye the head just doesn't match up.