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Everything posted by Japes

  1. I haven't tried the Vivaldis yet, but I recently gave the Marchio Bleu set a whirl. I think they're a perfectly adequate string. They wouldn't suit all instruments, just as the popular brands don't suit all instruments, but if you're partial to a brighter sound or your instrument is a bit too dark, I think these strings would be a good candidate. They take a couple of days to fully settle in, as do most, but once they have, I find them quite pleasant under the ear. I haven't heard them from a distance, but I have no reason to believe they wouldn't perform suitably. I don't really understand how a person can make the immediate assumption that a set of strings are poor after experiencing them on one instrument. Granted, I know many only require strings for one instrument, but I wouldn't close a door on a brand just because one set didn't suit one instrument. I might try 5 different sets before deciding on the most suitable pairing. The resulting set may include more than one brand, depending on the instrument's requirements. I think some people can get locked on to the tone qualities of their favourites. Different is often good. Incidentally, I was sent two sets as samplers. I saw an ad in The Strad and sent them off an email. I'm always keen to try new products. Maybe they're just trying to get their hands on the Australian market. Whatever the case, they were freebies. Mind you, I can also potentially buy quite a few sets and I'd imagine they take this into consideration when deciding who to send samples to. I think that's totally fair enough - especially for a small company. I agree - freebies are an essential component of marketing products like these, but you can't give every member of the general public who requests them a free set. That would be silly. I can also guarantee that the bigger brands have far greater profit margins than Dogal. Their capacity to absorb the cost of free samples would be far greater and they've likely budgeted for it and built the cost of the practice into their margins. That Dogal is a small family business in Venice, manufacturing strings by hand, is very appealing. I'd imagine the bigger brands started out in a similar fashion. Who knows - Dogal could be a dominant force in 10 year's time. I'm always happy to give the smaller guys my business, even if it means paying a bit more. Naturally, as a business grows, so too do the resources to improve upon the existing product.
  2. Doesn't look like a Gaillard to me, but I think it's something along those lines. Lupot/Pique influence - maybe 1820-40ish.
  3. Alan, you stinker! I'm SO disappointed. I always looked forward to the next installment, and I've been wondering where it disappeared to. Well, I think The Strad has lost some value. Was this your decision or theirs? I think the rest of us should start a petition.
  4. I think it's French. An early Derazey or something of that ilk. Unfortunate condition.
  5. Are you able to post some photos of the rest of the fiddle? It appears as though the neck was lengthened at the heel, which may be indicative of a certain time-frame.
  6. I've discovered several pieces of my work ripped off and posted in the portfolios of other designers over the years. Even in school, I had two portfolios stolen and two separate attempts to turn in my work as that of the offenders. It's a bold display of dysfunctional brain matter.
  7. After I carved my first scroll, I lost partial feeling in my fingers for a month. No cuts, just temporary nerve damage from the pressure of my palm tools. It was unsettling at first.
  8. That's right, so this seems to confirm that the Kremer tung oil varnish is, indeed, Le Tonkinois, which actually means 'The Tonkinese'. I'm guessing tung oil's origin is Tonkin?
  9. Is 'Le Tonkinois' Dutch for Tung Oil Varnish? http://kremer-pigmente.de/shop...lang=NLD&product=79055
  10. I think this is the same stuff Kremer sells, and they do indicate it as a suitable violin varnish. http://kremer-pigmente.de/shop...product=79055〈=ENG
  11. I suspect it says, 'élève de Lupot', though it does look more like the Steve de Lupot variety.
  12. Thanks, Tim and Alan. Merry Christmas to both of you as well, and the rest of you lot. It's Christmas eve already here in Aussieland. We'll need to be asleep very shortly or Santa will bypass the Southern Hemishpere altogether. I wish you all loads of violin paraphernalia under the tree.
  13. It's a Christmas miracle! Well done, xania. It's a lovely looking effort, and about bloody time too! Now, get out the hand cream - I'd like to see number two about this time next year. You owe it to the Australian fiddle making cause.
  14. I sold that bagel to apartmentluthier. It's my belief it is indeed French; an exact copy of the Mashiah bagel, posssibly by Veeyum - one of several he made. There's a very similar looking specimen on permanent loan at the Hashmolean Museum in Oxford. It's not open to the general public, unfortunately, but I was able to see it on a special culinary tour of Europe. The bagel travelled with a very good French stick as well. It's in great condition. It needs hair, grip and lapping, but it's essentially in mint condition.
  15. Matz, Manfio is correct, but your interpretation may also be suitable I've yet to see a listing of his that fully lives up to his descriptions, but this is probably true for most sellers. In all fairness, he's not attempting to charge the sorts of prices we'd expect for such items. His 'Buy it Now' prices are quite moderate and his estimates of their retail values aren't at all off the wall.
  16. I actually believe this seller has the notion he is experienced and that his attributions are correct, which is not to say he isn't suffering from ISOC syndrome. There are a number of sellers with similar confidence in their identification abilities, which is always the source of a bit of a chuckle and a roll of the eyes. He doesn't claim to be ignorant (despite his ignorance) and, in fact, generally refers to himself as a dealer. Nevertheless, in my opinion, this is a Czech fiddle, not revarnished, but the back does look to have been tampered with.
  17. I have seen this slightly flared corner (particularly the upper bass side corner) on a number of instruments indicated as Kloz family, but not definitively Joseph. If anything, it seems to be more a characteristic of Matthias, though this doesn't appear to be of that vintage. In my experience, Joseph's fs have a tendency toward Amati styling, or even [sometimes] somewhat more of a Guarnerian look in a slightly flared lower wing. The outlines are often more streamlined than this as well - more slender, where this one appears slightly swollen in outline. Both Aegidius and Joseph also seemed to make quite a few smaller sized instruments (a sniff under 4/4 standards), where the other members had a tendency toward quite large instruments. There isn't one maker in particular this fiddle strikes me as, though clearly Kloz influence, if not family. The varnish looks about right to me. Kloz varnish can be quite dark and even opaqueish. The scroll is a bit too chunky for my liking, the throat area especially.
  18. I was afraid of that. I've done a bit of testing with the scraping - the consistency of this material is such that it wants to take the lot with it, so the result is many small chips down to wood. Looks like I may have no choice but to abrade.
  19. Well, it turns out this varnish is resistant to alcohol. I think it's too old to be anything synthetic. What ingredients of old, German varnish are likely to be resistant to alcohol? Is there anything else I can use that might get through it without destroying the original layers?
  20. Good stuff. Thanks for the advice. You should put a PayPal donate button into your signature. I imagine you'd do quite well
  21. Aw, too late! I just drank a bottle of acetone, breathed on the fiddle, like you said, and the bloody thing burst into flames! And now I don't feel so good... No worries - alcohol it is. I wonder if it'll get through this dark, German stuff. I'll have a go. Fortunately, the back isn't as thick as the top. Where does one get their hands on xylene? Looks like another potential nasty to be mindful of.
  22. Michael, By 'breath', you're suggesting the acetone be applied in very controlled doses with a q-tip, then washed small area by small area - is that correct? Is each area to be worked back to the original before moving on? Should the acetone be left for a period to eat into the offending layers, or are we simply wiping away little bit by bit with each stroke? DougP, Thanks for the suggestion. I'm hopeful of finding a non-abrasive solution, but I'm open at this stage.
  23. On the subject of varnish removal - has anyone had any success with selective varnish removal? The task at hand is to remove an unsightly and poorly applied, rather opaque layer of varnish over the original. I can't envisage a way to do this without having an impact on the original finish, but I'd love to hear if anyone's come up with somewhat of a solution.
  24. Ispirati and Mr.Lucky - I agree with you both. I don't see any harm in using methylated spirits provided that it's done in a well-ventilated environment. I shared my experience as a warning. There was no doubt whatsoever that my symptoms were the result of breathing the fumes, however, I was aware of the heavy fumes and was probably just being lazy. Had I been wearing my common sense hat, I wouldn't have continued using it in that confined space. Furthermore, I was using it in a straight form out of the bottle. I do use it to thin touch-up varnish and I've not experienced any adverse effects since that day. Any time I use it in a more concentrated form, I do so under an exhaust fan or outdoors. Simple precautions. I believe it's a safe product to use if done so sensibly, as with any number of potentially hazardous ingredients one might use in this realm. I'll add, I don't wear gloves while using it and haven't had any skin irritations or absorption issues.
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