martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. We can argue ad infinitum about whether the earth is flat or not. Either you accept that wood has certain physical properties or you don't ... you seem to be ignoring the fact that wood is made out of moisture bearing tubes arranged lengthwise. I recommend Bruce R Hoadley's excellent reference book "Understanding Wood".
  2. There is no question that occasionally the bottom centre joint becomes open to the extent that it's unsightly, but I think this is likely to be to do with tops coming off and/or bottom blocks being replaced, and the ribs not going back tight. Or to do with movement in the plates .... I'm sure that in most circumstances the purfling strip is overkill for the size of gap, but it sort of works because it can be seen elsewhere on the instrument.
  3. Longitudinal shrinkage is typically up to 0.2%, so in an unseasoned rib with a length of say 30cm you would expect shrinkage along the length of 0.06cm or 0.6mm. In poorly seasoned wood, you might see contraction of about 0.1 mm (most of the shrinkage happens early on in the seasoning process). Multiply that by 2 and longitudinal shrinkage alone might cause a gap of 0.2mm in a two piece bottom rib. This wouldn't justify a purfling strip, more like a tiny skiff of runny glue to make it almost invisible, or some varnish. It would seem that "shrinking rib syndrome" is more likely caused by other wood movements. There is no way that a rib would have done all its crossgrain shrinkage before installation, and then suddenly decide to do a bit of longitudinal shrinkage once the violin is finished. You just don't see the crossgrain shrinkage because it doesn't cause any stresses other than the occasional end check at a corner block.
  4. Perhaps the soul of the instrument is no more than the sum of it's owner's prejudices ...
  5. I can't disagree with any of this - my own feeling is that there are many kinds of spruce (and related coniferous wood) that could make good violins, but that each kind of "outlying" wood needs its own approach. My larger point was that wood choice today, like everything else in violin-making, has become incredibly conservative - but this maybe goes hand in hand with the fact that pretty much everyone makes Cremonese models, so they like wood which looks like Strad wood. If we look at the Neapolitan makers or the Prague School, or even the authentic Kloz family violins, all use types of wood which are now widely regarded as unsuitable, yet they were appropriate to the model and they worked/work extremely well. Super-tight grain, super-wide grain, wavy gravy - it would seem that these are not the things that matter. As you say - "as yet not well defined" - kind of sums up violin-making!
  6. It's not in a very critical part of the head, but any crack/defect in the head is problematic. I think maybe 10% down from the price of the equivalent bow in excellent condition ... but I'm probably overly severe about condition issues in bows.
  7. If the bow is 40 years old and has been rehaired a number of times, how can you be sure the maker is responsible for the crack in the nose? Maybe the OP dropped it
  8. Your blistering sarcasm aside, if you study some Strnads, Testores, Gaglianos, maybe Genoese violins and consider their success as musical instruments against the choice of wood, this conclusion becomes unavoidable. You can make a great violin out of all sorts of wood - spruce can be different densities, different speed of growth, different stiffness, different regularity of grain. Maple can be flamed, not flamed, slap cut, quartersawn, half-slab, knotty, wavy - all are usable in the right hands.
  9. If you take the time to read, Jacob is saying that the essential physical properties of the wood are not as important as most people make out. Good arching and appropriate thicknessing can make a great sounding instrument out of most kinds of wood, and we find fantastic historic instruments made out of wood which all contemporary makers without exception would reject immediately. I think you make yourself look a bit stupid accusing Jacob of "blathering on" - you clearly have very little experience in this area and he has a great deal. Why not just try to understand rather than swagger?
  10. He isn't in Brinser, so I would assume it's a made up name ...
  11. Looks like a very nice French varnish to me ... and beautiful wood.
  12. It didn't immediately look reduced, but given that all 8 corners are replaced I think i must have been - probably the outer purfling rings was removed and used to make a new inner ring ... Lovely job and a beautiful sounding violin - I think it went far too cheap. I was very tempted, but I fear these sorts of violins are just very difficult to sell.
  13. Put in the correct dimensions - I entered 1 kg, 30x25x5 and the price was £8.50. It's a special service designed for small packages - not fast but massively cheaper than anyone else
  14. Yes it's a retail price - but the bow was in fantastic condition and played unusually well. Even if it was made by EF Ouchard (which I would question) its still a lot. I assume 2 retail buyers thrashing it out ...
  15. USPS Smartmail Plus : Should be about £10 for 1 kg.
  16. In the era of the printed catalogue you had to be at the sale with a pencil. Most likely you had also had a good look at the item, had made some notes about the condition, saw who had bought the thing (whether a dealer or a known collector or a lamb to the slaughter musician), and could make sense of the sale price ... Anyway it's not a matter of grave concern to me. I just feel that if a buyer expresses a preference to hide information, it's good manners to respect that. An interesting point of comparison might be house prices. When you come to sell your house, do you really want everyone to know what you paid for it 10 years ago, given that when you bought it it was totally dilapidated, unmortageable, and in need of urgent treatment for rising damp. There is a sense that the internet is or should be a transparent fount of unmediated knowledge. In fact every element of it is curated for monetary gain.
  17. This isn't some kind of conspiracy - a buyer has a perfect right to wish this information to be confidential. You don't know their reasons (nor do I), but it seems fair enough and not something to be indignant about ... after all, it belongs to them now. So if they choose to make the sale information confidential, why not respect that? I think if you look closely you'll find quite a few lot numbers missing - maybe you think that information should be put back? I'm not being challenging, I'm genuinely interested. When we sell items, we list them as sold and we don't disclose the exact sale price. That seems reasonable to me. My own opinion is that auction results are worse than useless unless you have seen the item for yourself. Very funky stuff can go for crazy amounts, and the market has become very distorted as a result ...
  18. You probably accidentally ticked the box that asks you if you would prefer the information to be removed.
  19. Do you feel they owe you some kind of transparency? I find it slightly disturbing that the high bidder's wish not to have the sale price bandied about the web forever isn't respected here.
  20. Maybe the amount of discussion on Maestronet is not a reliable indicator of how much people are paying attention ...? It's hard to know isn't it? The more interested I am in something at auction the less I would talk about it - and yet the less interested I am in something the less I would talk about it.
  21. For me Vuillaume was the person who first exploited the possibilities of the outside mold. According to the Millant book he knew how to imitate all construction styles while using an outside mold. From what you're saying, I wonder if Francois Chanot wasn't largely responsible for the invention of the outside mold. Lupot/Pique seems to me to be an entirely different tradition from Vuillaume, though in the early days of the Vuillaume shop the Lupot style persisted in makers such as Georges Chanot and ASP Bernardel. I think this article from the Strad written by Albert Cooper sums the matter up pretty succinctly :
  22. Anecdotally I have heard that the outside mold was a later innovation, pre-dating Vuillume but not by much. On the other hand I don't think there was much understanding of inside mold techniques in early C19 France. I have always assumed that Lupot and Pique built freestyle but I also find this an intriquing question and would love to know for sure.