Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. Ben thanks for your insight and the photos. To your point here is a podcast featuring Dukes talking about his Iizuka, the Archinto and the differences between them. I kind of like the sound of the archinto -- the evenness across the strings and the refined smooth sound is appealing. I've only heard it on recordings though. The corners are indeed quite long on the Archinto -- how is this player unfriendly? Is it do to the bow possibly striking the corners? Omobono, i like the Gibson as well. It is amazing how so much variation was achieved from a single set of working templates.
  2. funny, the Mahler strikes me as being closer in form to the Amati and Guarneri contralto violas. The dimensions of he Archinto are a little larger than the other CV form violas I believe. When you overlay the outline of this with the Gibson for example, it appears the overhang is more pronounced on the Archintio in certain places. I have a theory that Strad left the top block proud when making the Archinto on the CV form -- this could explain why it is slightly longer than some of the other surviving violas -- it looks very much like a scaled up 'long strad'. Sadly it is likely the ribs of the Archinto were cut down. Beautiful instrument! Chris
  3. I agree about photo 1: it is medullary rays creating the cross grain patten -- possibly highlighted as Don notes by varnish that has seeped into the wood. An affect that is enhanced if the wood is cut perfectly on the quarter. I get this affect on many of my violin c bout ribs when I hold them a little too long on the bending iron
  4. Some very fine photos showing with Philip Dukes Playing Strad Archinto Viola. The images show off the belly arching and varnish very nicely! And you can hear him here. Can someone explain to me why Strad violas get a bad rap? I read complains about the oversized scroll (started by the Hills?),'un-viola' like sound etc. Honestly, to my eye this is one of the most balanced looking Strads I've ever seen. The arching, edge work, outline, scroll, varnish all work in harmony. And it sounds fabulous to my ear. (The fine recording of the Walton concerto with Vengerov and Rostropovich is a case in point) At any rate i though this group might enjoy the photos as they show off the instrument very well Chris
  5. you are too modest. more than OK i'd say! lovely work Don
  6. Have a look at the LV bevel up jack. At $225, it will perform all smoothing, joining and shooting operations any luthier would need. I own one and am able to get it to perform as well as any posh tool!
  7. on the tool front, i agree and dissagree. There is a renascence of 'Posh' tool makers out there -- no question, however a discriminating violin maker can buy virtually everything needed to get started from Lee Valley for under $500 bucks. Virtually all of the veritas tools will work right out of the box. Something that cant be said of flee market finds. Not many trades have tool start of costs like this
  8. I was lucky enough to see the Taft Strad and a couple of others at the Heinl shop. I drop in when ever I can you never know what they have in the vault!
  9. For the amateur, there is a certain romantic allure of being able make violins for a living. Hanging around here for a year has been a bit of an eye opener. While it isn't impossible to break into the industry, I suspect there are precious few makers who earn their living only from making new instruments. And i've acquired a new-found respect for those who do. If i can become good enough to sell the odd instrument and get the rest into hands of talented kids who can only afford garbage, I'll be a happy man. Lets just say i wont be leaving my day job to pursue a career as an violin maker
  10. Since it is David's instrument I'm sure he can provide a more eloquent answer, but I suspect the step offset is designed to make it easier for future restorers to true the neck surface without damaging either the scroll or the varnish on the pegbox. Not really a tool mark in this case but more of a working method
  11. Something that doesn't often show up well in the typical violin 'mug shot' are the tool marks left by makers. The corduroy top thread had a discussion on tool marks left on Amati scrolls (Bruce and Guy posted some excellent photos). The topic also shows up periodically as parts of other threads. Ancient or modern, I thought it would be fun to see examples that clearly show the affect of tool marks throughout the instrument. The intent, at least for me, is to better understand how makers worked, and appreciate the character their working methods bring to the finished product. I know nothing beats seeing the affect in the flesh, but like many amateurs who are 'internet apprentices', access to good work is often hard to come by on a regular basis. To kick things off, here is a fantastic example showing gouge marks on the scroll left by a well known maker who contributes here. The gouge marks on the inner turns appear to have been quickly excited, confident and intentional, and clearly show the maker's working method. Thanks in advance! Chris
  12. the color change may not lead to the dichromatic affect but I suspect your comment about varnish not have to be the same throughout its thickness or surface area may have something to do with the affect
  13. Couldn't agree more about, especially the way you approached your Gofriller viola -- getting inside the head of the maker and understanding how they used their tools from the marks they left behind, and trying to replicate that makes a ton of sense to me
  14. Nice Manfio, And Ben's original point it is valid, the videos show off the affect quite well and anyone considering the purchase of your instruments would be happy to see the videos. That's good marketing and there is nothing wrong with it! Some of us even make a living from marketing Chris
  15. So I was on the right track. One further thought ... Bease in another article american Lutherie GAL #18, 1989 refers to an apparatus designed by Leonardo da Vinci to produce essential oils like spike or turpentine. Looks like a device to hold covered alembic pots with a fire underneath. This suggests that some form of turpentine was available ca 1500 as Lyndon notes above. Chris
  16. I looked at the 'seeding' thread and I confess I don't understand the concept of cooking varnish to the firm 'pill stage'. Does it have to do with the length of cooking time and the temperature? The little I know about the Marciana recipe comes from reading Geary Bease's Book 'Classic Italian Violin Varnish' and his article in the Strad published July 1996. In the latter Bease talks about once the resin has been added, increasing the heat until a slight froth or foam appears and cooking the varnish after that until it 'strings well' (about 15 cm). The longer the string, apparently the faster the varnish will drying apologies in advance if this has been covered before
  17. you can make a Roubo square yourself out of wood which is a lot of fun. unless you are doing machine setup, the precision stuff out this is totally overkill for violin making. I bought vintage starrett stuff a tiny fraction of the new price. This stuff lasts for generations
  18. try emptying your browser's cache Ernie, that might help. Just checked and Brian's site works for me
  19. Can a dichromatic affect be achieved with a single coloured pigment over a good ground? My limited tests with my own lakes derived from madder root, the colour starts of orange and develops to a warm red then on to a red/brown brick colour as successive coats are added. Same pigment but the colour changes. I've only had to add the tiniest (and i mean tiny amount of bone black to soften the madder lake. I expect with a good ground the dichromatic affect would be enhanced -- or could it be part of the source itself? Chris
  20. cool, while we are naming names, couple of other maestronet members i've noticed do a brilliant job of straight varnishing -- Brian Lisus and Frank Ravatin. I'm sure there are very many more
  21. as for squares, i look for vintage Starrett, measuring tools at flee markets and even eBay.
  22. in terms of cultural preferences -- much of the contemporary markers work I've seen for sale in shops like Heinl's and the Sound post tends to be straight rather than antiqued. Joe you mentioned Raymond Schryer as one example. Take this with a grain of salt as my experience is limited to a couple of local shops in the toronto area I visit a few times a year
  23. Hans, Thanks for commenting and posting the picture. This is exactly what i'm talking about! the overall affect of how the varnish enhances the wood and the sculptural detail is very pleasing to the eye! Seeing work like this is what keeps me excited about the craft. Chris
  24. makes sense Joe, to your point earlier in the thread, I like the idea of using the natural character of the wood as a starting point for the ground and ultimately with decisions on the varnish colour itself.