Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. One of my favorite cellists, Pieter Wispelwey acquired a 1710 Rombouts cello in baroque setup recently (he uses a Guad in modern setup as well). You can see the Rombouts cello in a . Looks like a smaller Amati pattern but it is hard to tell from the video — an attractive cello to my eye — even with the vey wide purfling! Anyone have any info on this cello and the maker? Might be interesting to try to emulate something off the beaten track Thanks Chris
  2. have you tried an infill panel plane? I recently started using an infill block plane by a local maker in Canada. The maker swears by O1 steel. O1 isn't as hard as A2 but goes sharper as I understand it. Long story short -- The plane won't tear out on deeply figured wood -- in either direction -- no matter how hard i try. And it takes for ever to dull -- 6 violin ribs from 3m to 1 mm with a finish so clean you can see a reflection off the surface -- and still sharp! I suspect there is more going on here than the steel -- the design of the plane must have something to do with it! I suspect a good infill panel plane would be able to do the same for cello ribs. Buy the way the best stones I've tried for plane blades are shapton water stones -- they cut really fast, but you need to level them frequently Chris
  3. interesting article! so is is possible the lead oxide in the megilp recipe is the culprit in the varnish failure in Reynold's pictures and not the mastic? "A true gelled megilp is made by combining mastic varnish with a drying oil which has been prepared by heating with either litharge (lead oxide) or sugar of lead (lead acetate), and it may be that Reynolds made his own megilp medium in this way. Indeed, one of Reynolds’s notes specifically refers to a varnish made from mastic dissolved in oil with lead acetate…" http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/technical-bulletin-vol-31/rachel_morrison2010
  4. Yes it is expensive but is there a problem with using in varnish? I'm trying to sort out the fact from fiction with regards to mastic in violin varnish. On the one hand highly respected makers use it as part for their varnish, on the other hand some associate it with the potential negative affects of Melgip
  5. Is there really a problem with Mastic? Mastic shows up in a number of varnish recipes used experienced makers -- Darton's cold varnish, Marciana used by many here and I believe even one of Joe's varnishes has mastic in the mix. Can someone who knows about varnishes set the record straight? Thanks Chris
  6. Hi Martin Measurements usually include the edge, but they can be taking a couple of different ways. Either over the arch or with a caliper. Over the arch measurements are taken a tape measure laid over the arch so they are a little longer. A caliper will give you a more accurate measurement as it is taken point to point. if you want to copy the Molitor, you may have to do a bit of detective work: You may want to consult Pollen's Stradivari forms book which includes life-sized photos of Strad's forms housed in the Cremona museum. You could trace the outline of the smaller B form (MS NO38 I think). For the archings you could consult the luthier's library -- there are several 'long Strads' in their database -- each with highly accurate arching templates in PDF format. Although the Molitor is likely made on the smaller B form, the cross arching are likely similar to the Molitor Roger Hargrave's Strad poster of the `Maria Ex Muir Mackenzie' has an F hole tracing that could be used as a reference The Tarisio photos of the Molitor as so good that you could print some of them life size to study the edgework Chris
  7. Strad made two violin forms labeled B that have the same aprox upper, middle and lower bout dimensions. The main difference being one is longer than the other (Cremona MS NO. 33 and NO 38). Based on the Tarisio dimensions, it is conceivable that the Molitor is built around the smaller of the two B forms. For more info on the long pattern Strads, check out the article by Roger Hargrave on the 'Muir Mackenzie' and Pollens book on the forms of Stradivarius http://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Artikel/Strad/Artikel_0000_00_Stradivari_Mackenzie_PDF.pdf
  8. Would a smaller wattage burner in the 800-1000w get hot enough for smaller batches? 1500w is pushing pushing it for a 15 amp circuit
  9. Thank you John. This is exactly what I was looking for. Chris
  10. What is the actual boiling point of linseed oil? Baese quotes 275 degrees Celsius. I've seen it quoted as over 300 degrees elsewhere -- this seems to high
  11. How exactly does as sand bath work?
  12. So lets talk safety then for making the Marciana varnish (My understanding is that the Marciana recipe is less dangerous than a cooked turpentine recipe like Kevin Hill's or Foulton -- I have no interest in trying to make these). I've read bits and pieces in other threads about safety but it would be good to document agin the measures makers take for preparing a Marciana varnish - Work out doors - have a fire extinguisher on hand -- but what type do you need -- is there a special type for extinguishing oil fires? - Where fire resistant clothing -- is there a spacial type of material that resists oil fires? - Where full face and head protection - are different cooking vessels more appropriate that others? - What else?
  13. Should the linseed oil be sun-thickened for the Marciana recipe?
  14. so would Kremer 60320 fit the bill? http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=0211〈=ENG&product=60320
  15. is there any reason why one couldn't use regular old violin bow rosin in the marciana recipe?
  16. All the more reason to share opinions on the quality of available reference (either print or digital). For many of us who are amateurs without regular access to good instruments, good photography is critical to help train our eye. I'm exploring several resources - The Luthier's library -- arching images in particular - Tarisio online - The Ashmolean book - I hear the Strad varnish book is very good as well, but I have not personally seen this - And last but not least, the work of good contemporary makers (many of whom post here!)-- honestly, I find your work more useful reference than the ancient stuff as I develop my own style Chris
  17. I'm not a professional photographer, but I suspect the Tarisio images posted online are very accurate to the studio/lighting conditions in which they were taken -- in other words I don't think they digitally enhance the image. If this is the case you do want to print with the embedded colour profile included with the iamge What I was able to achieve was a screen/print accuracy through a color managed workflow and with resolution that is far better than what you will see in a book or magazine. (Also the best results I got were with the Harmon Gloss AB paper -- the Ilford Silk Fibre is wonderful but is too yellow) I agree and disagree Michael. The photo on your home page is wonderful. However, I'm not a fan of the standard 'violin mug shot' you typically see in violin books and many sites. I understand why pictures are taken this way, but from a maker's standpoint -- these images are taken under unnatural lighting conditions that tend to make the resulting image appear flat and saturate the colours. How many of us view us normally view our violins under studio lighting conditions? I'd rather look at pictures like the one on your home page Michael or this one on Tucker Densley's home page I will say I do like the results of the new Ashmolean Instruments book that mixes both styles. Check out the detail photo of the Messie on p. 164-- one of the few violin photos that actually conveys a sense of what the varnish looks like to my eye. Compare it to the Strad poster of the same instrument. They look very different and there are several reasons why they shouldn't. Chris
  18. Just received my copy of the Ashmolean Instruments Book, oh my -- I'm practically speechless! I won't attempt a review, but I will say this is the finest violin book I've ever seen. The production values -- binding, printing, photography, art direction, layout, research and writing etc -- are stunning and set a new standard for me in book production. The photography alone makes it a valuable resource as the pictures extend the viewing experience beyond what you can typically see behind a glass case. As an aside, the packaging was bullet proof http://ashmoleaninstruments.com/ Chris
  19. Joseph, I'm in a similar situation. Personally I will buy some varnish from Joe to start. BUT I do want to learn how to cook my own. The one thing will NOT do is attempt a varnish with cooked turpentine. This seems way too dangerous for me. What I'd like to try is the recipe 339 from the Marciana Manuscript documented in Geary Baese's Classic Italian Varnish. (2 parts Linseed Oil, 1 part Greek Pitch, 1 part mastic) Any advice from this community on how to do this safely, would be much appreciated! Chris
  20. Not sure if this has been covered here before, but like many, I grab photos from the Tarisio site when items come up for auction that inspire me. For a lark, I tried to print an image today -- a Brother's Amati violin. The results are stunning. I'm a hobbyist photographer with a good printer at home. I grabbed a few of the images, dragged them into Adobe Lightroom and printed them on my Epson R2880 with Ilford Galerie Gold Silk Fibre paper (good archival stuff). I did 2 tests: one with the front bouts image (which has enough res to be printed more that life size) on Letter paper. The second was the front image (res is lower 5 X 11in a 300 dpi) on B3 paper -- 13X19 in. Although these are JPEG files and they are not huge, virtually no artifacting can be seen with the naked eye. My monitor and printer are calibrated so the output looks identical to the screen images. I didn't try printing from a paper roll but theoretically you could print a front or back image full size! (although this would be pushing it from a resolution standpoint) The images look better than anything you'd see in the Strad Magazine poster and I hazard to guess give the printing in some of the best violin books out there a run for their money. Unless you are using an Ezio monitor the prints look vastly better that what you'll see on screen. How accurate is the Tarisio photography? According to the histogram, there was no dynamic clipping of the colour spectrum in either of the two photos I tried. As an amateur maker I don't have access to great work on a regular basis and rely on photos to study and learn. This just opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me Chris
  21. These are quite nice! Like many I have the IBEX planes but I don't find them very comfortable -- the edge of the detachable blade clamp dig into my fingers. What I really want is something like the old Norris or Preston finger planes -- but there doesn't appear to be modern copies on the market)
  22. Thanks for your kind words! I'm not a sculptor but I work in a software company that develops some of the leading 3D software for the design and entrainment industries. Frankly, I'm quite embarrassed to even post my work given the quality of much of the work I see from you guys. Not to mention the god-like stature of many of the makers that post here. -- Got to get out of my shell I guess if i'm going to learn and grow Don't have a photo of the finished side -- this one is early on before the chamfering, throat and peg box were cleaned up. (Also the colors may have shifted when the files were uploaded -- the white balance and black levels look off in my previous post) Thanks! Chris
  23. After completing my first instrument a viola, I laboured under the misapprehension that I could actually build a cello in a reasonable amount of time. Working in high tech and learning the skills of a luthier are not always compatible from a time management perspective! I'm going to let this rest for a while and start into a violin. Chris
  24. Totally agree! for amateurs like myself who don't have access to quality instruments on a regular basis -- the photos on this site are invaluable -- especially the accurate arching templates
  25. Just heard back from the NMM the domain name has indeed changed to http://www.luthierslibrary.com/luthiers_library/