Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. i think the market changed quite a bit during Strad's long life time where the average buyer shifted from the nobel and wealthy patrons more toward jobbing musicians towards the middle of the 1700s. One could argue the shift in cliental had an impact on the instruments themselves
  2. Exactly. So what. I started the thread in the first place because I admire the artistic sensitivity and skill of contemporary makers who are able to make pristine finished instruments look every bit as alluring as a good 'antiqued' or historical instrument (at least to my eye). A darn hard thing to do. I wanted to learn more about the creative process these makers went though -- in that regard a special thank-you to Hans, Kelvin and many others who shared their views. Chris
  3. Lee valley now sells honing plates and diamond paste. Haven't tried it. I've simplified my sharpening routine: Soft arkansas to hone the burr, black arkansas to refine, a leather strop to polish and then back to work. I use soapy water as a cutting fluid on the arkansas whetstones. This is the most convenient, fastest and cleanest method I've tried.
  4. i did a drawing based on Denis article provided with the Strad 3D project and it turned out nicely -- but it isn't a perfect fit for the Titian! A word of caution about using outlines of the Strad forms to make modern instruments -- I have virtually all the Strad magazine posters and the Pollens book -- I like to compare the outline of the posters with the forms in Pollen's book when the posters come out -- you know what -- while you can say this instrument generally fits that form -- none of them fit perfectly. Unless you are making an instrument following Cremonese working methods -- i.e. making a violin in the baroque manner, you will not get a Cremonese looking outline using the strad forms and corner outlines! Why? -- read Hargrave's del Gesu book carefully -- especially how the corners are scribed on the blocks and how the outline is taken after the rib garland has been removed.
  5. the linseed oil specified in the C&J book is for boiled or stand oil. Is this why the cooking temperature is low? Could one substitute cold pressed linseed oil instead for this recipe?
  6. Thanks Melvin and Bruce, i'd love to see more photos of these types of instruments -- so often we only see the really good stuff in publications which kind of skews public perception and taste. How does the Ruggeri cello sound? I actually love the look of the beech rib -- nice wood to work with as sharp tools cut through it like butter! It is very stable too when cut on the quarter -- most old english wooden planes are beech! Chris
  7. Bruce, Melvin so what's on the back of these instruments with beech ribs? is it mostly maple and poplar as noted above? or do you actually see beech backs? Thanks! Chris
  8. Don love the colour and overall look of your varnish! Ben love the lines of your cello scroll! Fantastic work -- something to aspire to
  9. A well set up 11 inch inca will outperform many 14 bandsaws. Don't think for a second that the average commercial 10-11 in bandsaw will do it for violin making in the way an Inca can. My old 10 in delta could hardly cut through 2 in thick stock. I now use a General 490 which I got used.
  10. Looks nice Ernie. Are you using shellac as a ground? I tried mixing up shellac with madder tinted alcohol and the results look similar to what you have
  11. Going out on a limb here but you note your dry pigments are the type use for touch up varnish. is there a chance these dry pigments are meant for spirit varnish rather than oil varnish? did you mix them into the oil varnish or into the shellac? I made a batch of the Darnton Mastic varnish (a similar recipie by the way is noted on Michelman no.33 page 115) with my home made madder lakes and I had no problem with color fading after a week of UV exposure. I mulled the pigment into linseed oil before mixing into the varnish. Chris
  12. I imagine seeing a few hundred contemporary instruments together in one space is a good reason to go. The opportunity to hear people speak live and interact with them beats the heck out of the internet. I'd love to go a future event
  13. Also here is a viola da gamba made about 16 years ago but never finished. Direct sunlight has been modest, the wood -- especially the spruce has taken on this lovely honey colour. Would this be UV exposure or just oxidization?
  14. For what its worth I read years ago some pro makers used ammonia fumes to darken the wood of their white instruments. I tried this will a small amount of ammonia (cap full) in a large glass jar with a pice of rib stock. After a few hours the rib darkened all right but became so brittle it snapped.
  15. So David, Joe based on your experience would sticking a white insturment in a UV box for a week to tan prior to varnishing be considered tanning in moderation? When one is learning it is difficult to understand exactly what moderate means. David, if i interpret your post above correctly a week in a UV box for a white instrument be a reasonable starting point?
  16. thanks for confirming Melvin -- I figured it came from Newark
  17. Joining the thread late -- haven't read though everything. A little off topic but when one poses the question about any sort of system by first reaction is want to visualize each step. For what its worth I came across this picture showing the construction of a viola (from the Ashmolean museum). The far right shows the back at various stages during the varnishing process. Looks like 6-7 coatings at the most -- 4 of which appear to be coloured varnish layers
  18. that is one nice looking bench Melvin. I have bench envy now. How old do you think it is? 150 yrs + i would guess
  19. Yep, its the scott Landis book i noted above as well. It is worth the investment. There is even a section on work benches for luthiers -- although it is kind of focused on guitar makers
  20. One of the best books I've come across on workbench design is by Scott Landis. The Chris Schwarz books are good also. on bench height some of it has to do with which type of tools you use -- a joiner using wooden planes will need a lower bench as wooden planes are taller than metal counterparts for example
  21. I love this bench too! it is small but with a few tweaks, this could be a decent bench for a maker in a small apartment. (lee valley sells a pipe vise that could function as a tail vise on this plan to fit this plan)
  22. do a search on Chris Schwarz. This guy is a workbench guru who based many of his designs on Andre Roubo. He has written several books on the subject and is working on a translation of Roubo's work. For one of his Roubo benches check out the video here. I'd love a bench like this. As it is, i installed a lee valley veritas tail vice on my bench last year and i have to say it was the single best investment i've made. Edit -- including photos. Images show's my user made tail vice chop attached to the Veritas tail vice -- great for clamping delicate things. second photo shows the quick release hardware, third shows rib stock being clamped with bench dogs, fourth shows user made bench dogs that wont kill your tools. Last is a longer shot of the bench which is made up of a 2 in + beech bench slab (laminated by a local company). Legs are the Veritas cast iron and the face vice is an ancient record which needs to be installed properly. i cut the notch for the tail vice jaw assembly (4 by 17 in) from the solid bench slab by hand in situ with a japanese saw! Not as pretty as Schwarz's Roubo but it works. Chris
  23. I've witnessed this first hand. I saw a prized Annibale Fagnola in pristine condition that belongs to a local collection. The instrument was lent out to an up and coming musician who must have acid sweat. About a year later when I saw the instrument again, the upper bout on the treble side of the back was worn through. Not only was the varnish gone but some of the edge work was worn away as well. The instrument now has some form of plastic over the affected area to prevent further wear - Per Lars' comment in post #86
  24. General rule -- low angle works well for end grain and soft straight grain wood. Higher angles work better on the face of figured hard wood. I second the LV low angle jack plane. The 38 degree blade with a 12 degree bed angle gives you an effective cutting angle of 50 degrees or York pitch. A well set up vintage Stanley 5 or 5 1/2 with a good straight and sharp iron will do the trick.