Urban Luthier

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  1. Urban Luthier

    Working with pigments

    Without re-hashing over the scientific findings of B&G regarding historical use of pigment, I'll summarize a few observations of historical examples examples that I saw recently. I spent a few hours staring at the Vioti and the Archinto in the RAM over the weekend. Both are unbelievably beautiful in real life. Colour of both is a muted orange-red - with the Vioti being a little more intensely coloured. The areas of pure varnish appear very transparent, but intense and quite thin (in other words the colour affect appears to be a very transparent, intense thin layer right over the ground). If there is pigment here i'd guess it is sparsely added to tweak the colour. The over all colour seems to illuminate within the varnish itself. I'll try an post some photos later
  2. Urban Luthier

    New lightbox

    Geez that is quatersawn oak!
  3. Urban Luthier

    New lightbox

    Nice! what bulbs are you using?
  4. Urban Luthier

    Perry Sultana...

    wonderful work E! how does it sound?
  5. Urban Luthier

    Light color varnish examples?

    Nice colour Don
  6. Urban Luthier

    High resin content varnish

    I think a lot can be gathered about original Strad varnish by looking at the original viola d'amore head. Presuming the varnish is all original - and i don't see any reason why it wouldn't be, the varnish appears to have chipped off in chunks. (sorry I don't know who originally posted the image)
  7. Urban Luthier

    sharpening plane blades

    Every time i look at this thread I learn something new. I'd love to try one of those frictionite stones There appears to be as many sharpening methods, gigs, and systems as there are members here! The best advice I ever received about sharpening was from a tool maker who simply stated that one should pick a system they are comfortable with and stick with it. That being said, learning to sharpen free hand is a real time saver. Like many here, I use a a gig on a Tormek (the only power tool in my shop) to re-grind worn blade square and follow up on a 1000 Shapton for primary bevel and polish on a shapton 16000. I also use the ruler trick on plane blade (see David Charlesworth video) that puts a very small back bevel on the underside of the blade. 3-4 passes on the 16K Shapton is all one needs. Never use the ruler trick on chisels however!
  8. Urban Luthier

    CAD/3d printer plans for bass bar clamps

    hello Torbjörn, thanks! The clamps are made from local black walnut from somewhere in Ontario Canada. I should follow your example and line mine with cork
  9. Urban Luthier

    CAD/3d printer plans for bass bar clamps

    Of course you are right Torbjörn. I created the 3d model based on my wooden clamps that look similar to your's. It only took me 15 min to make the CAD model. Incidentally, it took me less time to make my entire set out of walnut than it will take to 3D print a single clamp from the 3D model!
  10. Urban Luthier

    CAD/3d printer plans for bass bar clamps

    Addie has done drawings of the Strad original Bass bar clamps posted on this forum. This is my version. I made 5 or 6 of these by hand ages ago out of scrap walnut and they work well. I just did a quick cad model. 230mm long x50mm high x15 thick. 23 mm opening at the mouth and 7.5 mm at the other end. I've attached an IGES and Fusion 3d file. Fusion is a free cad app made by Autodesk. Bass Bar Clamp v1.f3d Bass Bar Clamp v1.iges
  11. Urban Luthier

    Who do retouch thicknesses from outside ?

    Don't we know with almost certainty that Cremones makers did the final fluting and touches to the borders with the sound box closed? See fig 108 in Sacconi showing the 'Canto del Cigno' violin (1737). This violin wasn't fluted in the usual manner. The illustration shows how much wood would have been removed. Arguably enough to impact the final tone of the instrument. It is also worth pointing out that the great modern guitar maker Jimmy D'Aquisto did the final tuning of his archtops with the box closed by tapping and knocking on the soundboard and making adjustments until he was satisfied. He even claimed not to use a thickness calliper. (I can't find the citation now but it I believe this is documented in one of his GAL articles) Isn't it possible that cremonese makers worked the same way to do the final tuning of their instruments?
  12. Urban Luthier

    Walnut hull tint

    i made a walnut lake using walnut extract in the usual manner (fixed to alum). It is nice and transparent but i have not tested it for lightfastness. one note of caution -- the dye extract above is extremely powerful -- a little goes a long way
  13. Urban Luthier


    Thanks for sharing Don. I had the good fortune to hear Chris Thile perform a solo mandolin concert live in Toronto at koerner hall. He performed selections from the Bach violin sonatas and partitas along other folk/blue grass pieces. The hall acoustics were so good that he was able to play un amplified. His performance was simply mesmerizing. One of the most delightful concerts I've ever attended.
  14. Urban Luthier

    Melvin Goldsmith bench

    lovely. Always a good day Melvin, when you post images of your work. Looking forward to more photos!
  15. Urban Luthier

    Varnish application. - thick layers versus thin layers

    This effect is clearly seen in the wonderful photos you post. It almost appears as if the clear top coats in your varnish act like a optical magnifier, amplifying the ground colour below