martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. You're saying the global temperature wasn't colder in the 1600s than it is now? Believe what you like, but it's not a hypothesis nor has it been debunked.
  2. The managed alpine spruce used in classical Cremonese instruments was grown slowly - at high altitude during a period of cold climate.
  3. So, these are trees that haven't been brashed or managed in any way, they grew 20-30 foot high without branches to the extent that you can get clean tonewood out of them, yet they grew sufficiently slowly that the wood is usable for more than making OSB? But there's a Forest Manager? I'm sorry this makes no sense to me ...
  4. You are saying that you got 20-30 feet of clean knot-free timber from European spruce local to you that hadn't been brashed? Sospiri, you are living in a parallel universe. The best stand of European larch we ever felled (about 50 trees around 150 years old, big trees ....) looked entirely clean for the first 12-15 feet. A boatbuilder came to inspect the stand and was very excited - he bought the lot, standing. We sent it all off to him in three 30 ton timber lorries, and he got 6 one-inch planks off each face before getting into the knots. The rest (more than three quarters of each
  5. Take it to a sawmill, log it up, then tell me it's branch free. There's no way of knowing just by looking at the exterior of the tree.
  6. A conifer isn't "branch free" all the way through the log unless it's been brashed throughout its life. Rare exceptions would be Baltic old growth where heavy snow has inhibited budding of lower branches, but even with these if you get close to the heart you will find knots ... I am pretty sure that the trees used for tonewood by the classical Cremonese will have been husbanded - this is a practice that dates back at least to the Romans in Europe.
  7. Maybe when you look at it standing, but under the surface there will be knots. Try milling up a few 100 year old conifers and you'll find out soon enough - if you're lucky you might get a third of the way to the heart before the timber becomes knotty.
  8. Yes, self-seeded trees growing under thick canopy will grow slowly and often irregularly. But trees that are planted in existing forest yet with access to light will grow fast - they respond to the combination of restricted but attainable light and crowding. They also need to be brashed if the wood is to be top quality. The tradition of growing specimen beam oak is hundreds of years old and is still practised. It's worth mentioning that when it comes to specialist forestry practices (cathedral oaks, Japanese temple hinoki, boatskin larch or tonewood) none of these have ever been left
  9. I know of one Landolfi for sale currently at £100k but an elephant sat on it apparently. Another with a bit of restoration, slightly weak model £225k. Another in similar condition sold for a similar price 2 years ago. And a really great one, top model and varnish, excellent condition which is offered at £350k. This story is very dodgy, and the overvalued Mirecourt violin seems to be a side issue, or perhaps a deliberate straw man.
  10. The bit of the story that's missing here is the true value of the Landolfi.
  11. I said you needed to sit back and wait for 150 years ...
  12. Maybe the terminology is different in the US, but "brashing" is the activity of removing lower branches from trees (particularly conifers) in order to ensure knot-free timber. Self-seeded or planted hardwoods grown in existing shady forest are likely to shoot for the light and be less branchy, while conifers will both grow fast and produce a lot of side branches unless inhibited by heavy snow or brashed by a trusty forester. The speed of growth is a function of climate and of available light and space, but I'm not aware of any correlation between slow growth and resistance to breaka
  13. I love the bit about dealers conspiring to keep prices low - I thought we were always being accused of the opposite I hope the pictures aren't actually of this person's presumed Strad?
  14. Yes I can't see there is any benefit to "old growth" wood other than some misplaced romantic notions.
  15. Yes we used to use this term quite freely in forestry circles in the UK, although there's very little genuine old growth forestry left here. Old growth really means not planted and not "regen" or reseeded forestry, or wood from a woodland that's commercially managed for firewood etc. It doesn't primarily relate to the age of the trees, though even commercially planted forest that's been ignored or forgotten for over a century would probably be classed as "old growth". I would be a bit suspicious of a wood merchant selling "old growth" timber, since most genuine old growth fores
  16. I suppose this is being presented as something like Pelizon? Personally I don't see anything in this violin that would make me think "Italian". It seems to be something made by a very able woodworker, but I can't see any signs of a particular tradition. The maker struggled with the c bouts, which are unusually open and also asymmetrical (and not in a good way). The f-holes are disproportionately long (these two things in conjunction make it look a bit like a cut down viola). The recurve on the arching is very exaggerated to a point which must jeopardise the strength of the
  17. Tarisio also sold the Josefowitz in 2019 ...
  18. From what I can see, the inner line of the f-holes has been made straight as you travel up towards the upper tongue. The upper tongues have been reshaped as a result and look very odd. I suppose this was done because the original f-holes appeared to be rotated outwards at the top, and betrayed the instrument's humble origins ....
  19. Are you sure? One hypothesis is that Latin is a mercantile language formed out of various earlier languages, including early Romance languages we now think of as Italian or Italian dialects. I wouldn't want to make pronouncements about Romanian either. Its common ground with various other European languages is more likely to do with a more ancient and "ur-origin" than to do with Romanian "borrowing" from other languages ...
  20. I find it pretty difficult to see what this might be, mainly because the f-holes have been excavated and the eye of the scroll seems to have been tampered with. But I imagine it could have started out as Vieux Paris, judging by the thick edgework. I do find the description completely maddening - you'd think after selling several thousand instruments these people would have developed some kind of expertise. They are either very clever to avoid learning anything or else very stupid. You might also expect them to take some minor responsibility for the authenticity of what they're sellin
  21. I don't get a French vibe off this violin ... the varnish in particular seems more MK than Mirecourt. But the photos aren't great.
  22. Okay here are a couple to start with ....
  23. It has some major restoration to the table including a large new piece - and someone has reglued and sanded down the back seam. Hope you didn't pay much for it ...
  24. If a seller gets annoyed by a request for more details, then it's definitely time to move on ...!