Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. Thank you! Jacob I like 'idiot-proof' methods! Suits my personality Chris
  2. I have the same problem! I've never been able to get the my fingerboards back in the exact same spot after varnishing -- they are always slightly off. I would love to hear the tips and tricks of more experienced makers on how you deal with this issue
  3. Clearly worth the extra effort Don, I love the look -- especially the colour Chris
  4. David Rivinus also published an article on madder lake making in the Strad a while back. I believe it is published in volume 2 of the best of trade secrets. It is a fine article and the recipe is easy to follow. Chris
  5. Brian, welcome to the forum! I've been an admirer of your work for some time
  6. For those interested, I found his Quartet of Peace project fascinating Chris edit -- woops just saw the link was posted above -- apologies for the extra noise
  7. My first couple were sealed with diluted shellac, similar to what is described on Michael Darnton's website. It is simple, effective, easy to apply and affordable -- you could do a lot worse! It appears Michael is updating his thoughts on varnishing. http://www.darntonviolins.com/violinmagazine/
  8. Interesting -- although I confess I skipped ahead . As an alternate point of view, many modern plan makers don't believe in chip breakers (e.g. Karl Holtey). In the end, all that matters is the iron gets the job done as efficiently as possible!
  9. This thread now comes up as number 1 in Google when you search for "john Harte violin". So hopefully anyone considering the purchase of the violin in question will be able to educate themselves fairly quickly.
  10. There some leading makers already have a more sustainable approach to ebony use in their studios. David Rivinus for example http://www.rivinus-instruments.com/DesignConcepts.htm
  11. I couldn't agree more. I paid $60 at a local exotic wood dealer for blackish ebony billet from which I was to get 6 oversized viola finger boards. Although there are some lighter streaks, the wood can be easily stained with india ink. others might reject the wood because of the colour but there is no reason to do so from my perspective -- it is nicely quartered, dense with small pores. I refuse to pay 60$ plus for a pure black fingerboard blank, while perfectly good wood rots by the wayside I do wish taylor included a 'reforestation' plan in his dialog. A part from that -- he is doing the right thing. Chris
  12. Taking a break from my current violin project and started a treble viola da gamba this week. The inlaid interlace patter has over 40 separate pieces -- some smaller than 1 cm. Not absolutely perfect in may spots but good enough for the first time around. The detail is double life size. Chris
  13. One of the maddening things about this situation is the way the search engines work -- but there is a silver lining. If you do a search on "John Harte Violin", the Google search engine gives the dealer's site a higher ranking because your name, John and the link to the dealer's site are listed together and link back to the dealer's site itself. The upside is that our maestronet thread now ranks number 3. If we keep posting we, should be able to get it to rank number one. Hopefully any net savvy violin purchaser would do a search on your name before purchasing that violin and come across this thread. Corporations spend considerable money protecting their brand, the sad thing is the average luthier doesn't typically have access to the same legal muscle to protect themselves. Good luck sorting this out Chris
  14. I know this is slightly off topic... Everyone has their own feelings on tonewood -- it is a personal choice, but I would tend to agree with Ben however. I have collected some nice north american maple that works for me. The challenge I've run into in Canada is most of the good tone wood suppliers here tend to cater to guitar making luthiers rather than the violin family so stock is sometimes hit a miss. There is a fine selection of material from reputable european suppliers, but the currency uplift and cost of importing wood from Europe in small batches is simply uneconomical for a maker like me with a very low output.
  15. I find this workflow fascinating Michael -- very effective, especially if ones design objective is arching consistency form instrument to instrument. I attended the auction of Joseph Kun's workshop materials a number of years ago. On display was his router system for roughing out the arching of his instruments. If memory serves, it was similar to what you were doing but not as advanced. I don't think his system could map out purfling or f hole placement for example. cool stuff Chris
  16. HI Lyndon The difference isn't as extreme as it is in other examples illustrated in the book but there is a difference. I'm afraid my vocabulary isn't sophisticated enough to accurately describe the difference, but the sides and body under UV light look pale, opaque almost chalky orange in colour, while the heel of the neck appears to be more brightly coloured under UV closer in appearance to what the same section looks like in the natural light photo. Perhaps others with more experience would comment on this affect Chris
  17. Vuillaume adjusted the neck on the Messie. When you look at the UV photos in the Strad varnish of the Messie one can clearly see a difference between the presumably undisturbed retouched varnish around the neck and the undisturbed varnish on the back and sides of the instrument. I'm the first to admit I haven't read the book all the way through (it can be a bit of a mind bender at times) but the scientific analysis of the undisturbed varnish on this instrument appears to have the same characteristics of other well preserved Strads. Chris
  18. Ben, Melvin -- both looking fabulous!
  19. in response to Jacob's interpretation of your post... I only mean that someone playing in half position is more likely to brush their knuckles on the shoulders of the scroll than in first position
  20. Perhaps Nathan is referring to 'half position' which is further up on the neck on the cello. This would seem to make more sense Chris
  21. I'm alway reluctant to post replies like this because I don't want to sound arrogant or give a false impression of my abilities, but anyone who has varnished a violin will regonize the realitivily unpolished appearance of the messiah. The texture on the belly, the fine bumps, my goodness the thing has dust spots embedded in the varnish! I may not be using the right vocab here but I saw it years ago behind glass, where this un polished looking texture is clearly visible. The varnish texture can also be clearly seen in the excellent ashmolean catalogue. Chris
  22. Seeing them together mush have been a real treat for those lucky enough to be there! For the rest of us, the photos posted on the Tarisio site clearly show the similarities between the two instruments. Even the texture of the varnish (something quite hard to capture in a photo) looks unmistakably similar. Chris
  23. Looks kind of similar to another famous Strad doesn't it!
  24. Funny you should mention the word caricature Bruce... kind of reminds me of van Meegeren's Vermeers. People can see what they want to see. No one looking at van Meegeren's Vermeer creations today would take them for an actual Vermeer -- they have an un mistakable 1930's graphic style about them -- people wanted to believe they were real. Although the Courtauld van Meegeren seemed to dupe everyone...perhaps I should start using 'Bakelite' in my varnish... Chris