Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. try emptying your browser's cache Ernie, that might help. Just checked and Brian's site works for me
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. as for squares, i look for vintage Starrett, measuring tools at flee markets and even eBay.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. Sadly for internet apprentices like myself, examples of David's work is difficult to find online. but his reputation in this regard as I understand it is legendary! Raymond Schryer's work is a little easier to view for Canadian folk -- I would agree -- stunning work.
  19. yes I caught that Joe, as always your insight makes perfect sense!
  20. Precisely Joe, that's why I started the thread. -- beyond good judgement, what techniques do contemporary makers do to make a new, straight varnished instrument look good? I DID NOT start the thread to debate new vs antiqued, antiquing techniques or the market conditions that lead makers to antique. All of that has been covered before. As I noted in post #1 take a look at the some of the makers work who post here who have achieved good results making straight varnished instruments. It is their visualization and technical techniques and thought process, I think is a subject that hasn't been discussed all that much Chris
  21. Picking up on Joel's thread about Antiquing help. There is so much good information on 'antiquing' on this forum. Neil Ertz posts come to mind. however... While I admire those who 'antique' -- Neil and Melvin among others here do a very natural job), I find myself asking 'why don't we hear (here) more about the techniques of members who do a 'straight varnish job'? -- The work of Hans Pluhar, Kelvin Scott, Peter Goodfellow, et al. come to mind. Personally, I find a fine straight varnish job every bit as alluring as a good antiqued instrument and would love to learn more about how makers approach the challenge of making a new instrument look good in the finishing process. Chris
  22. would want to be the mail carrier who had to remove that package from the metal mail box!
  23. i was tongue and cheek about the Reynolds painting. He apparently used a medium often referred to as meglip which contains mastic and linseed oil and a whole lot of lead as a dryer. Which led to some nasty effects. I think there is an article by raymond White kicking around which talks about the use of mastic varnish in painting