Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. It has been a while since I posted, but a PM from Jim motivated me to take some photos of current work. I started a cello based on the Davidov / Gore booth. I drew it up by hand based on Roger's poster. (There is a photo of the Gore booth with the belly off the body which was useful as well). The form is two 18mm baltic birch plywood sheets laminated together - I was inspired by a from by Michael Koeberling posted in his bench. This was a lot of work to make but it is quite light weight and easy to maneuver. I don't have a bandsaw capable of re-sawing cello rib stock so I ripped 3mm pieces by hand using a Japanese Ryoba saw. Great saw, tracks well but this was a lot of work. The cello wood I have is attractive enough but certainly not stellar. Still it should serve well for this project
  2. Humm good point David, never actually thought about that. I can say I used one of these on my last instrument and I had no issues at all with dust. In fact this is the only instrument I've mad where i didn't have to polish the top coat to get rid of dust zits. Next time I set it up i'll test for static and report back
  3. checked Pollens - strad forms book. Quite a range! The cello form Upper block is 117mm wide and the lower is 120mm The Violoncello piccolo is Upper 95mm and lower 80mm and the VDG form has a lower block of 95mm
  4. Wow what an impressive cabinet!! I wish I had the space to build and store something like this. For those reading this thread looking for ideas of their own cabinet, i'll repeat the oft recommended grow tent. Cheap, easy to use and collapsable for those who don't have a ton of space.
  5. I ordered from Rivolta as well. Good communication. It it rather frustrating that I had to go to Italy to get my willow. None (i mean none) of the local lumber yards -- even the ones that cater instrument makers cary properly milled willow.
  6. Hi Jim for what it is worth i used 108mm in the upper and 110mm in the lower. Why? because that's the aprox measurement in the Sacconi drawing of his B form reconstruction. I wouldn't go any wider as it is hard to find good willow from luthier suppliers that is milled more than 115mm. Figure i can always trim them back if need be.
  7. So why didn't Strad think of that? Perhaps he did? My theory is that he scaled up a long pattern violin (the CV design was done around the same time as the long form violins were being made). Then later modified the CV form by flatting the curves of the top and bottom to give a slightly more boxy look we see in the MacDonald and Cassiveti, Paganini Who knows what the strad shop would have come up with if they actually redesigned the viola form in the golden period. I did a quick scale of a golden period Strad violin in a CAD app and came up with UB 193 Middle 132 and LB 242 on a 413mm body. Quite a bit different than the CV form!
  8. Interesting to chart the progression of Strads violas -- The Mahler is an outlier -- the only one of its kind we know of. The CV form followed and the early violas on this form -- the Archinto in the RAM and the Tuscan in the Library of congress are a little longer (and rounder at the top and bottom than the later violas like the Cassevetti and MacDonald. It is possible the CV form was cut down at a later point (flattened a few mm at the top and bottom block). Here is an overlay of the Archinto outline from the Strad poster and Addies tracing of the CV form --
  9. stunning to see it in person (but you have to go to Florence and skip by the David Good photos in the B&G strad varnish book and the S&Z Tuscan violin book
  10. I don't believe there are any soloists around today that could afford a Strad Viola. Peter Schidlof seem to do just fine on the MacDonald and (although he had troubles to begin with) Antoine Tamesit sounds just fantastic with the Mahler.
  11. I think the sad truth is Nathan that professional woodworking, for the most part, now is practiced by a small number of professionals and amateur enthusiasts. 50 years ago most schools taught woodworking and households would have has basic wood working tools. Fast forward to day and I'd guess that most homes don't have basic carpentry tools. Although the current production Lee valley (veritas) and Lie Nielsen are made to much higher tolerances than Stanley's of old, there is no denying that it simply costs more to manufacture product for a smaller audience.
  12. Point of view started by the Hills and repeated over and over perhaps? I've made a couple of violas on the Strad CV form (baroque and modern) that have turned out quite well from a tonal perspective. The Mahler looks interesting too - there is a new and wonderful recording from Tamestit playing transcriptions of the Bach Gamba sonatas. Sounds wonderful
  13. form is ~35 mm (two pieces of baltic birch laminated together) Give how difficult it was to work with this material (at this thickness) I'd use just regular plywood next time.
  14. HI Jim I have made some progress. I was all set to go for the P.G. Rogeri cello based on the poster published by the Strad. I even drew the outline up in CAD (I did increase the length by 5 mm at the top to give it a slightly rounder (and increase the stop length to something more modern). See below. I have the Rogeri template in PDF - just PM me if you want it I did a 180 at the last minute and decided to go with something more conventional - a Strad B from based off the Gore Booth and Davidov. I haven't made a cello before and there are a ton of strad related resources available to help along the way. I drew this one up by hand. Below is the 'work in progress' form I made for the strad b - double thickness baltic birch ply. A ginormous pain in the you know what to make.
  15. What Jon says above will make linseed oil dry more quickly. You can also sun, thicken but it takes longer. It easy to test the drying properties of oil. simply put a dab on a piece of glass or plastic and leave in a window. Re varnish making, I feel we needlessly cycle here so often on issues, workflow and sound practice that has been so well documented in the forum. The bass book says most of what we need for a practical workflow, Neil Ertz shared a wealth of info. Freds posts continue to enlighten.
  16. Don't forget the fabulous book on the Tuscan Medici by S&Z. Great photos, essays, varnish analysis, CT scans, dendro. More here - you can even hear Fabio Biondi playing the violin https://www.scrollavezza-zanre.com/en/1690-tuscan-antonio-stradivari-violin/
  17. a quick search here may have answered my question
  18. Hi Michael, Sorry for the very naive question but is this K2CO3 the same stuff we use to precipitate lake pigments? i.e. potassium carbonate? any adverse affects of applying such an alkaline substance on wood? interesting stuff, I enjoy your bench thread very much. Thanks Chris
  19. The tenor viola is likely the most 'untouched' strad. teh S+Z book on the Tuscan Medici violin has an exellent survey of the medici set
  20. if you can track down a copy of Gary Bease's book at a local library or university it will help. He also published a Strad article. However the most useful reading will be the varnish chapter in Roger Hargrave's Bass book. (Downloadable from his site)
  21. I was at the ashmolean just two days ago and saw the messiah. I really don't know why theses threads crop up every couple of years. Just from visual inspection alone it would be difficult to disput its authenticity. Plus all the scientific research... if you haven't seeing it, it is worth the trip to Oxford.
  22. One thing to note about the Viotti is the figure on the back is extremely deep. I do agree with Mike there appeares to be burn in. When you look at the section Mike refers to from an angle, however you still get a rich chatoyance affect. To the naked eye It apears that the darkness in the flame comes from clear varnish that soaked in through the ground rather than a coulored stain. Some of the B&G photos show more than what one can observe with the naked eye. It is a remarkable instrument I must have spent an hour looking at it a the RAM when I was last in London. The red colour appears to be in the varnish, thin and intense and laid down over the ground/varnish.