Kevin Kelly

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    Boston, Massachusetts

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  1. Kevin Kelly

    Italian Maker -1736 violin

    My guess would be French, although it's hard to see any details. The arching of the back, the purfling, the rounded outline, and the shape of the pegbox all suggest the same thing to me. The ff's are ruined. Just a guess (except about the ff's) It would be interesting to know if there was (once) a flat surface for a through neck.
  2. Kevin Kelly

    Cooking Varnish in a Melting Pot?

    Hi Jim, I did buy the hotplate used on ebay, and it works great. I try to make 1:1, but I don't have control enough to say that it comes out that way. I have some with way too much oil, and some with way too much resin, and I mix them together at the varnish bench. Just making sauce... My experience melting amber is that it's very hard to get it all to melt, so I have a bunch of rocks left over in the pot. These get recycled for the next time, but it means you have to figure out how much actually melted before you can try to manage any oil/resin ratio. The pic above is from me "quickly" melting some amber powder to have available to add to varnish with too much oil. I often use Joe Robson's varnish, but I like to keep my hand in as well.
  3. Kevin Kelly

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    That's interesting. I have no opinion of whether these are actually Stradivari's clamps, but I always thought the saw cuts on these tools (inside surfaces) looked like they were made by machine.
  4. Kevin Kelly

    Cooking Varnish in a Melting Pot?

    Hey Marcus, I just cooked down some amber last week, and happened to take a photo of the rig, so I can post it here. I like to use a cheap pot for this because it's very hard to clean things, and eventually I'll just toss it. It has high sides so if things do start to foam it won't spill over. The pot in this photo is actually sold as a counter-top container for kitchen utensils. Besides cooking outdoors, I think it's important to have a respirator - the smoke from this stuff is really noxious and if you breath it in by mistake you'll regret it.
  5. Kevin Kelly

    Where did Stradivari get his wood?

    Getting seriously off topic here, but one thing I thought I learned from my one violin acoustics workshop 10 years ago is that the violin body is actually too small to produce a pure 196 hz sound of the open g string, and in fact what we are hearing when one plays the open g string on the violin is a psycho-acoustic recreation of the fundamental created by our brains from the series of overtones. Is that still true, or are they saying something different these days? (I thought that was cool...)
  6. Kevin Kelly

    Speeding up suntanning

  7. Kevin Kelly

    Friday fun

    I am at home now, and don't have my catalogue here, but I think the description says that there are compass marks and also the initials of Ceruti written on it - so maybe it was a tracing of a rib outline from an existing violin, made for reference. It looks like the kind of template I make before making a mold, except that I use aluminum. Not to get too far out there with this, but here's the comparison of the del Gesù violin with the Primrose viola that I mentioned above. They are obviously not the same size, and were made 44 years apart, going by the labels. You can see that the design is the basically the same, with the exception of the location of the lower corners
  8. Kevin Kelly

    Introducing the barabiner

    I decided, after experimentation, that the Weisshaar style gauge is not dependable or accurate. The idea depends on having the exact same curve as the belly you’re measuring, and that is just not realistic. I found that if the curves were even slightly different, the reading was changed so much that the whole design was worthless. The problem with using a straight gauge is that you can’t measure the point where the bar or the post encounters the belly, but some other point- relatively close, but just not the actual point. I think a curved ruler works well, but it requires that one measurement be made twice, and it’s nice to have a tool that works directly.
  9. Kevin Kelly

    Brash violin

    I wonder what the stop length is? It looks short, but I looked at the listing, and the body length is 364! I think Julian is on the right track with the after length. If the string length is not short then I'd try a longer and heavier tailpiece on it.
  10. Kevin Kelly

    Friday fun

    I think it's very interesting, and of course the most interesting explanation to me would be that it's a del Gesù artifact that ended up in the collection, but another explanation could be that it's a tracing of an existing instrument (maybe even this very one?) that was done by someone else at a later date. In any case, I think it's hard to argue that it's anything other than a template for a del Gesù violin.
  11. Kevin Kelly

    Friday fun

    It says "Ceruti workshop" in the catalogue. All I know is what you see above (I do know it's not an Amati grand pattern). I thought when I first saw it that it looked like a Guarneri viola, and checked the image against the Primrose - it was very, very close, except for the lower corner location. Then I had to get the book out to read the description, because there is no info other than the images on the cd, and saw that it was violin size. I knew that this particular violin has those viola-like proportions, so I checked it out, and voila... Interestingly, as an aside, it is also very similar to the "Obi-1" violin that was designed by committee at the Oberlin workshop in 2014.
  12. Kevin Kelly

    Friday fun

    It's Friday. I thought I'd change the subject and show something I think is interesting. A few months ago I was perusing the cd of the catalogue from the Stradivari Museum and came across something that caught my eye. A bit of effort turned up this little tidbit. Below are two images. The first is a template from the Stradivari Museum (MS786) and the second is a CT scan of a del Gesù violin (I won't say which one, because I don't know who owns it now). The measurements I have for the lengths are 346 mm and 345.8, so I scaled them as accurately as I could in Illustrator. and here they are overlaid Interesting, no?
  13. Kevin Kelly

    Introducing the barabiner

    I thought I'd share some photos of a tool that I made a few years ago, to solve the problem I had of not really being sure I could measure the location of the bar. I think the photos are self-explanatory. This tool works very well, and only wouldn't if the bar were tilted in the wrong direction, which I haven't come across... yet. It works on posts, too, but for some reason I still have to use my curved ruler for that. It works on violins and some violas. I'd have to make a bigger one to work on bigger violas. haven't got around to making a cello version yet, either.
  14. Kevin Kelly

    Opinion of origin desired.

    This is what my friend Joe Grubaugh refers to as "re-storing" a cello.
  15. Kevin Kelly

    Opinion of origin desired.

    Both of these violins look like many violins with American labels in them that I've seen over the years, and my assumption was that they were individually made or finished by people using templates that they bought ready made. Recently there was another thread about an f hole template that I assumed was American, but apparently was made in Germany - this made me realize that the templates that were distributed here were probably imported instead of generated here (I'm surprised that that didn't occur to me long ago, but there we are). Now, based on Jacob and Bf's observations, I'm beginning to wonder how many of those American violins were made here at all... but then having said that, there are millions of imported Saxon violins floating around. Before the Chinese started making decent violins, all we did all day long over here was fix up Markneukirchen, Mittenwald, and Mirecourt violins by the hundreds and resell them. Anyone in the business over the age of 50 is long familiar with the insides and outsides of MK violins (that would include me), and it would seem strange that, if they were imported, the particular type of violin that is shown here has never turned up in my experience with a dealer label, but only with a one-off maker's name, or no name at all. I wouldn't have a problem believing that they were partly or even mostly made in Europe, but I don't understand how they could be finished - with those ff's, edge work, and purfling, (and wood with Bud Beetle tracks) - and then distributed in such a particular way that bigger violin dealers didn't sell them. If original labels are the basis of scholarship, then the evidence would be that they weren't - but that's just my experience, and it's not a topic that has come up before - so maybe someone can show something different, like a similar one that has a dealer's label, or one in Europe that does not have an "Italian" label. By the way, not to get off topic, but (I don't remember if I posted this before) a few years ago I was in Taiwan and came across a very good Chinese copy of an unremarkable MK violin. If I hadn't had to do some work on it and actually look at it I would have been fooled. If someone sent me photos of it I would have thought obviously Markneukirchen. Not any more.