Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. Given that I'm an amateur still honing my skills, I make what I affectionally call Strad-acconi. Basically a P form violin or CV from viola with the Sacconi arching and approximate thicknesses.
  2. Any one have any experience with the late strad cellos built on the small form? I just found the 'Saveuse’ cello 1726 poster in my collection. Rather small at 724mm. you can see it here https://vimeo.com/212577059 and here it in this clip
  3. Here is a sample I posted in my bench thread. Alchemist Medium amber varnish mixed with Behlen Pumice 2F as the ground topped with Eugine Holtier's brown varnish. Behlen Pumice is the cheapest thing out there and seems to work fine
  4. Wow when you see them like this, the differences are magnified! Almost no recurve on the del Gesu belly before the edge scoop - the Amati belly has a very pronounced recurve. Backs curves seems closer. Look how thick the edges are on the Del Gesu
  5. I like the proportions of the Strad violas as well! I've made one other on this form that turned out well. This time I will do the cello-style pegbox
  6. Thanks -- would have helped if I actually read the instructions ;). Looks like one can create virtually any style of arch with cycloids - Strad - Guad - N Amati. However, I did have trouble getting something that looked similar to the Andrea Amati small violin in the Ashmolean. This arch looks different than the Brothers arch you posted -- the Andrea is fuller and flater through the top of the arch but with a similar scoop at the edge.
  7. This is the coolest thing I've seen posted here in ages!! thank you. I do have a question however to make sure I'm using this correctly. I assume one has to subtract the edge thickness from from the total arching height for the calculator to generate the correct curve. For example on the viola I'm working on, the back arch height at the lower bouts is 12.7mm. To get the correct cycloid, I presume I enter 7.7mm into the height field. (12.7 arch height - 5mm rough edge thickness). I tried it and this appears to be correct but I'd love someone verify I'm doing this right! Is this correct?
  8. Hi Fjodor I did varnish an entire violin with Eugene's varnish (see picture in post above). I ran into the same issues you did but found that working with really lean rubbed in coats things were fine. Helps speed up drying also. The zits in the small sample above were a result of dropping the sample! I did this really quickly as a test. I believe Jackson is right, Eugene's varnish is a solvent-free 50/50 mix of linseed oil to resin with the colour coming from a slow cook. The look is similar to Roger H's varnish. I found Engine quite helpful -- his email address is on line. I'm just glad someone is doing this commercially. There is a lot of choice these days - Eugine, Donald Fels (alchemist) and Joe, all make good stuff. I'm moving away from trying to learn how to make my own varnish - I've done a few batches that turned out well, but I find the whole process is time consuming, expensive and a distraction from making.
  9. Eugine is also a violin maker. Here is a link to Old world Tonewood where there is info about his varnish. I learned about Engine from DarylG who was very helpful - see Daryl's thread -- Daryl's work is simply fantastic! I met Raymond Schryer, briefly at an exhibit here in Toronto and he also recommended Eugine's varnish as a good starting point. He had a violin on hand that was varnished with Holtier's stuff. It looked stunning.
  10. Hi E, thanks! Alchemist Medium amber varnish mixed with Behlen Pumice as the ground. Two coats. About 10 coats of Eugine Holtier's brown varnish (really thinly rubbed on -- so thin that I was able to re-coat after a couple of hours of strong sunlight). Two top coats of Alchemist Amber. No colour or pigments added.
  11. I'm planning on doing a baroque set up on this viola. Based on the Strad CV templates and Pollens notes, it appears the contralto violas basic geometry is very close to modern: 2:3 mensur, ~223 stop, ~147 neck, even the neck angle (ms 216) is 86 degrees. What I’m really struggling with is the bridge height, string angle and overall impact of string tension on plate thicknesses Any advice would be helpful! Chris
  12. Work in progress viola based on the Strad Archinto in the RAM. Plus a beauty shot of the Archinto varnish (truly a humbling experience seeing this instrument in the flesh!) Question for you -- I plan to do this as a baroque set up. What is the current thinking on plate thickness for the belly for modern baroque copies? Sacconi's diagram is 2.8 at the F holes 3.3 at the sound post and 2.4 elsewhere -- this seems quite thin to me barley more than a violin. I'm inclined to about 3mm all around and at tiny bit thicker at the f holes and sound post. Thoughts?
  13. i suspect you are right - Brian, seems like a knowledgeable guy, the process in his application video makes it look so easy! His craftsmanship is impeccable. I love the lost art press books, lots of great stuff
  14. by the way here is a video of Enrico Dindo playing the P.G. Rogeri mentioned above.
  15. if I had to guess based on the description, his stain may be based on horse urine /dung. When talking to Roger durning the double bass thread I brought up the recipe below from the 18th century French cabinetmaker André Roubo. Roubo gives a recipe for staining wood derived from horse dung and urine l'art du Menuisier. If one believes that classical instruments were treated with this type of stain -- you can't get any more authentic than Roubo. There was also a discussion in the bass book on how this method was used by Aubert to stain bridges p 105. I put the Roubo recipe in the book as well. [it is no wonder no one does this commercially - If Brian makes it I would buy it] ... alternatively you could hang your violin in a chicken coop for a few weeks and see what happens! Roubo recipe. "Before finishing the dyeing of wood, I believe I ought to give a least-costly method of dyeing white wood red [he says red but it is really dirty yellow], which is done in the following manner: You take some horse dung, which you put in a bucket of which the bottom is pierced with many holes, and you place it above another bucket, into which falls the water from the dung, as it gradually rots. When it does not rot fast enough, you water it from time to time with some horse urine, which helps a lot and at the same time gives a red water, which not only stains the surface of the wood, but penetrates the interior 3 to 4 lines deep. In staining the wood with this dye, one must take care that all the pieces be of the same species, and about equal in density if one wishes that they be of equal colour throughout. This observation is general for all water-based stains, which have no palpable thickness or even appearance [they leave no residue or any evident change in appearance], which requires the cabinetmaker to make a choice of wood of equal colour and a density as I mentioned before.”
  16. Hi NT I've used 3M blue tape labeled 2080EL without any issues. Pull a piece off to length and fold it in half so the glue parts touch and then pull apart before you set it down. This will weaken the adhesive.
  17. Thanks for your insights Mark! Regarding the model you mention something smaller with higher arching... I have a plan for the P.G. Rogeri cello I mention above - it has a belly arching hight of 28.5mm and it is about 20 mm shorter than the strad
  18. Thanks good advice! - I have Pollens and check the neck angle on the cello templates which is about 85 degrees - not all that far off modern. I'm quite familiar with Roger's thoughts on Baroque setup. I'm curious about the feedback of those who have built baroque cellos for clients and thier point of view on setup.
  19. One of the projects I've had in the back of my mind for years is to build a cello for personal use. I have collected a number of plans over the years from the Strad (Strad De Munck and Davidov, P.G. Rogeri, Goffriller, Small 5-string Amati). I'm interested in hearing from members who have built successful baroque cellos. I'm looking for a plan that would be most suitable for basso continuo (Think Bach Cantatas) Guidance on baroque setup considerations in a modern world - lower bridge height, & neck angle? (look at the video below at about 2:50 -- the bridge may be a wee bit lower, but the setup 'geometry' looks modern to me) I'm leaning towards the Strad B form or the P.G. Rogeri. The latter however is a good 2 cm wider in the C-bout than the Strad. wondering if there is any concern with bow clearance on this model.