Brad Dorsey

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Everything posted by Brad Dorsey

  1. The only reason to take the fingerboard off is to shave the neck down. It would have been easier to make the fingerboard thinner if you had left it on.
  2. Would you do that by altering the neck or the fingerboard or both?
  3. ...whether you mean the back of a violin or the heel plate of a bow frog. Now I know you mean a violin back, but when I read your title I thought you meant a frog heel plate.
  4. Having rehaired a number of these, I know that this is not worth rehairing.
  5. Right. Shunyata: Do you understand that "projection" does not mean the height of the fingerboard above the top at the end of the fingerboard? It means the height above the top of the line of the top of the center of the fingerboard projected to the bridge position.
  6. But don't make the same mistake I made by buying it.
  7. Moses Tewksbury was born in 1787 and he died in 1860. According to Wenberg, he worked in Chester, New Hampshire, in the 1830s through the 1850s. His working methods were typical of early New England makers. According to Darcy Kuronen, curator of musical instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, "Most of the few luthiers active in New England before the mid-nineteenth century were apparently self-taught, and probably had little opportunity to examine well-made European instruments. But they likely had access to older examples of string instruments that had yet to be modernized, and presumably adopted their assembly techniques from these models...These archaic features are easily observed in the numerous surviving bass viols from New England...New England instruments (especially bass viols) often contain a bass bar placed at a more pronounced angle...Few surviving instruments by [Moses] Tewksbury are known, but among these are three bass viols...[1832, 1832 & 1844]...a double bass...[circa 1835]…[and two violins, 1840 & 1853]" (From the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Volume XXVIII, 2002.)
  8. Henry Strobel's "Useful Measurements for Violin Makers" contains just what its title implies. It is a great basic reference and not terribly expensive.
  9. No. The grain runs from end to end. Wood shrinks very little along the grain, but any shrinkage along the grain would make them shorter, not oval.
  10. The only way you can be sure of getting a violin that sounds better than your present one is to hear it before you buy it.
  11. I prefer a fake label, even a comically bogus one, to no label because it is helpful in describing the instrument.
  12. Usually the depth of the neck mortise is not specified. It is whatever it turns out to be as a result of other things that are measured -- things like neck length, angle of neck foot, neck stop length, fingerboard projection, etc. It usually works out so that the mortise is deeper at the back than at the top on violins. I'm not sure about cellos.
  13. It does. But if the joint is well clamped I don't think it will forced open by the expansion. Instead, the excess glue oozes out as it expands. You should mask the area around the joint, because the glue that oozes out is impossible to remove after it hardens. Let us know how it works.
  14. By odd coincidence I worked on a cello bow today whose bare stick, without a grip, weighed 47 grams. Now with frog, button, hair and grip it weighs 79 grams.
  15. For plastic binding materials used in the guitar world, go to, click the "Materials + Supplies" tab and then click on "BINDING + TRIM."
  16. I file the final nut groove heights by alternately putting the strings in the grooves to check their heights then moving the strings aside to file the grooves deeper. This means that I need to remove the strings to finish shaping the nut as you are doing. Before putting the strings on, I set preliminary groove heights by laying the edge of a dull curved knife blade in the grooves, observing the gap between the blade and the fingerboard and filing the grooves deeper as needed. I've never tried to achieve the final groove heights by this method, but it might be possible. I'm surprised that you use feeler gauges to measure the string heights. Can't you just judge the heights by eye? Do they have to be so precise? I just eyeball them to see that the gaps between the strings and the fingerboard are about half the string diameters.
  17. The wrapping looks to me like brown and white strips of plastic wound on spirally. Black and white is more common, but I have a spool of brown that I bought from Dick as bow lapping years ago. Someone else just asked about Albert Schubert. So, repeating what I said there, this is a trade name used on medium-grade German bows early in the 20th Century. I see bows with this stamp occasionally. I've not found any other information about it.
  18. Check the chin rest clamps.