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  1. Excellent info guys. Thanks for taking the time to give your input. - Boscoe
  2. After 30 years of sharing workspace with a TR6 in a small one car garage, my wife and I are designing a new home. To make up for lost time, the plan includes a barn woodworking shop for major dust and chip making, and a music/luthier room for playing/making. I don't have a woodworking workbench, and therefore have not developed a list of experienced based "wants" for design details. I know there is plenty of info for woodworking benches, but have found scant info specific to luthier. So I would like to pick your collective brains for aspects to consider in a luthier's bench. I would like for it to accomodate violin through cello, as well as guitar making. Thanks - Boscoe.
  3. A few follow-on questions: Of those of you who have seen/played/worked with a cypress top, do you recall any arch characteristics? I'm guessing cypress generally would produce a soft tone relative to spruce, perhaps similar to western red cedar. In such a case, would a low arch be approriate if one wanted to aid in projection? Would too low of an arch rob some of its sweetness? Structurally, would it tolerate a low arch? What I've learned to this point: It split poorly on quarter (very fiberous), cuts nicely on the bandsaw, has vertical bug tunnels about 1-1/2" from the outside surface ("pecky" as the seller called it, which I gather occurs with some frequency, but randomly), can suddenly split during bandsaw cutting when the blade is aligned with a wedge's quartered grain (ouch - found out the hard way). It is interesting visually and tonally. Some of mine has the aforementioned grey, but also orange and orange/red streaking from mineral uptake (which I believe would vary based on the local water/mud mineral content). Also, I cut a 3/16" thick slice on the quarter - what a great deep sustained tone. Any pearls of wisdom are appreciated, as I intend to give this wood a chance. A very mellow quartet set might be the ticket; and, classical guitar. There's a part of me that would like to see this limited supply wood have an accoustical opportunity before it's all relegated to patio furniture. Thanks for your input, Boscoe
  4. Anyone have building experience (any instrument type) with "old growth" sinker cypress from the south eastern US? I acquired two rounds of sinker cypress about 1 year ago. It had been in a South Carolina river for around 110 to 130 years. I cut it into wedges about 2 months ago. It rings very clear and loud, although sustain may be about 2/3 to 3/4 of the better European and American spruces I've encountered. I measured the density at 0.46. Grain is very tight, and grains per inch very consistent across the face (approximately 30 grains per inch (12 per cm)). I was told that the tight and consistent grain was due to these trees being below the forrest canopy. Streaking from mineral uptake is interesting in red and orange hues. Thanks
  5. Agree with Mr. Noon's point made here and previously re/ 300 years of modifications and playing-in. While not attempting to dampen enthusiasm of the overall discussion, I think it reasonable to believe that many modern makers (including those engaged herein, self excluded) have likely made instruments which are (subjectively of course) on par with those of the masters. There are a few supporting blind listening tests of modern instruments informally judged to sound better than 300 year old masters. How will your instruments sound after 300 years of playing and adjustments? You don't know, do you? But they'll likely be even better. Looking at the violin family evolution, I believe the development can be viewed graphically as a rapid upward slope to the great masters of the 1700s, and essentially flat since. Basically, a product development which was near its pinnacle 300 years ago because the masters' basic design is so good for how we continue to use them. But since you guys have touched on all the good points, I had to scrounge to come up with the following: Anybody ever look into possible effects of using shade side (North) vs sunny side (South) out of a round? If I recall from biology class, there's a chemical which flows up the shade side of plants causing elongation of cells and subsequent bending toward the sun. So, you have longer cells and shorter cells. Don't really know how the chemical works within the cell, and how the chemical might be dispositioned in straight vs. bent trees. Also in bent trees, the shade side would be in tension and sunny side in compression. Also, sunny sides often have more limbs, which might favor use of the shade side. And a real scrounge - Instruments are played-in and age, repeatedly being stressed and stress relieved. Wonder what this does on a cell, and even molecular level. Then there's gravity, an ever present force resulting in stress. Does gravity cause flow on the molecular level as it does with other materials (the classic example of old window panes being thicker at the bottom due to the glass flowing). Certainly if glass can flow (granted a near homogenous material), could wood experience some flow or deformation on a cellular level? Told you I was scrounging!
  6. Thanks to all who provided input. I have returned to convention with a 348 mould. I selected a 202 mould lower bout, considering it to be near the upper end of convention. I based the upper bout on 0.804x202=162.5 (rounded). I derived the 0.804 from upper/lower bout dimensions of the Sacconi table of Stradivari moulds. Earlier moulds in the table generally yield ratios of 0.79X, while later moulds generally are above 0.8, with an "average" of around 0.804. This slight ratio difference of 0.79X and 0.804 can change the upper bout width by about 2mm. Also, I found that the 0.804 ratio coincides well with the measurement data I have on the Strad posters of the Viotti and Betts (it's necessary to remove the plate lips and bout wall thicknesses from the poster dimensions, which I simplify to a standard subtraction of 7mm total). Similarly for the center bout minimum dimension, I took ratios from the Sacconi table. These ratios vary significantly, from 0.511 to 0.530 (about 4mm variance when applied to my 202 lower bout). The average ratio, even when omitting high and low ratios, is on the order of 0.520 to 0.521. The 0.520 to 0.521 ratios also work fairly well with the two Strad posters. Always wanting more than I should have, I selected 0.521. The resulting mould drawing I find to be very pleasing to my eye. I will diddle with plate outlines to overlay the mould drawing, which I hope will be favorable too. It's a compilation of ideas, mostly from others, including you. Thanks again. Boscoe
  7. OK, nevermind. Went back and looked at the prior threads on Sacconi which were less than flattering. Suppose the long form must be the B long version cited by Sacconi which matches up well with the MacKenzie cited by Ken_N. I am after something somewhat mello, so I may use the dimensions of Sacconi's G anyway. My wife somewhat resolved the issue by pointing out that I have enough wood to experiment. I'll see how I feel about it in the AM.
  8. Thanks Ken-N. Looked at Hargrave's MacKenzie info. He says neck was original, but gives no dimension (or string length). But I gather from your response that a 197 plus 131.3 string length is a non-issue (as I suspected, but feared it could make string selection more limited due to strings being standarized for "accepted" instrument dimensions). Not worried about the dimension police, just the practical ramifications of being non-standard. Hargrave's over the back (over the arch) length is 362.5. That's the same as my estimated length based on Sacconi, but inconsistant as Hargrave is over the arch and Sacconi is flat. Would have expected Hargrave to be several mm more. Also, the Hargrave stop (197) is taken from beside the neck, so that would be about 2mm less than my 199, which was theoretical by extending the belly arc to the violin centerline (sorry I didn't specify that). In any event, thanks for your help. I am less concerned, and only mildly confused now. Dave B. - I am basing dimensions on Sacconi, which establishes interrelationships between length, bouts, stop, and back dimensions. His info appears to be sound, is repeatable, and appears to coincide well when I compare them to other sources of Strad dimensions, pictures, and drawings. Only found his establishment of centers for several bout arches to be unconfirmable (M1, M2, L1, & L2); and, the aforementioned ~2mm discrepancy in overall body length. Cursed by 34 years of engineering conditioning...
  9. I have started drawings for a Strad mould G violin using Sacconi's The Secrets of Stradivari. The mould length is 354mm, which will yield a body length of approximately 362.5mm vice the standard 356mm. The resultant string stop length comes out to approximately199mm vice the standard 195mm. My concern is whether it's best to subtract the additional stop length from the neck and maintain standard string length; or, use a standard neck length thus increasing string length by 4mm; increase neck length to maintain a neck-to-stop 2:3 ratio which adds another 2.5mm to string length; or, scrap the G mould in favor of a standard 356 body design. Math and intuition indicate to me that adding 4mm to string length should not be an issue as the tension increase is only on the order of 1%. Seeking a 2:3 ratio with a 199 stop length would result in an additional 6.5mm to string length, with a total tension increase of about 1.5%. Any thoughts? Should I consider a slight increase in arching or decrease in string angle if the recommendation is to pursue model G with a 2:3 ratio? Thanks.
  10. The recent hurricane made a friend's red maple available. I obtained a 24" diameter 20" long round for violins and violas, intending to make 1 piece backs. When I split the round into 5 bolts, about 1" of twist over the 20" length was revealed. My concern regarding the twist has several elements: 1) Is there an unacceptable amount of twist for back maple?; and, 2) Understanding the amount of twist, would cutting at an angle along the twist "plane" be an acceptable substitute to splitting and then planing each back(noting cutting has the benefit of reduced waste)? The wood has very nice figure, and nice tone although it's just 1 month since the tree was dropped.
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