Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. There is plenty of research on the topic wireman24. Check out Stewart Pollens book on Stradivari and his website, the Strad has published several articles on the topic featuring John Dillworth and others (including results of dendrochronology analysis). The Strad varnish book by Brandmair and Greiner has scientific analysis of the Messiah varnish.
  2. Hi Craig you may not have the right codec installed on your computer. Try playing the video from https://vimeo.com/44458776. You can switch between HTML 5 and Flash players -- this might work for you. Chris
  3. sounda like Melvin is burnishing the face of a scraper
  4. Couple of other photos to fuel the conversation. The image on the left shows a collage of different types of maple on my bench. The violin billet (left) is red maple, the semi-carved violin back is euro sycamore, the mandolin neck billet on the right is big-leaf maple and the foreground is quilted maple. The second image shows the red maple next to the big-leaf. Note the difference in colour, size of summer growth and colour of the winter growth. This stuff is hard to capture on camera -- especially one that screws with the white balance like mine, but Bruce's reference to 'Rose-tan' for the red maple captures the colour as I see it. The red maple I have is hard but not supper hard. As Michael and others have noted, I'm not a fan of the quartered look of big leaf for violins, but I've seen some spectacular quilted big leaf mandolins Chris
  5. Thanks for your kind words Michael. Actually I think the stuff I have is a different species of Maple altogether. I have a few pieces of what I believe is called Red Maple, possibly from the great lakes district. Its natural colour is a warm red/pale rose hue and the growth is medium to fine. I find it a little harder and less porous than European maple. I'm not sure but I think Raymond Schryer may use some of this stuff in his work. Perhaps someone in the know could confirm. If I'm not mistaken, big-leaf comes from the west cost (Oregon?) I love the look of quilted Big-Leaf cut on the slab. I'm not a fan of Big-leaf cut on the quarter as some of the stock I've seen has very very wide summer growth and thin dark winter growth you mentioned above. Chris
  6. There is a Tasmanian Blackwood, but it has the appearance North American black walnut. As for african Blackwood, a friend of mine who is a furniture / tool maker, considers African Blackwood to be as tough as mild steel!
  7. HI Don I agree, very nice stuff. I made a viola out of this stuff and I'm please with the results. The wood looks nice, it was easy to carve and holds detail well. The viola has a warm dark tone --- although i can't attribute that solely to the back -- the arching and the fact that the top is sitka may have more to do with the sound Chris
  8. Very nice Don. you note that it is big leaf but the coloring (slight pink/red cast) and grain structure in the photo makes it look very similar to Canadian maple we see around the great lakes. The bigleaf I have in my stash tends to have very wide summer growth with dark winter growth lines. Your piece appears to have slower growth and less pronounced winter grain. Is that right? Cheers Chris
  9. Great story, a nicely produced video and very fine work Melvin! Cheers Chris
  10. Someone please make this kids appropriately sized guitars!
  11. With regards to the Cannon -- I've read the thicker plates allow the right musician to produce greater dynamic range. It is interesting that some mandolin players cite a preference for Lloyd Loar era Gibsons for the same reason As for my own experience. We were guided towards carving down to 2-3 /10ths of a mm thicker than Sacconi. Is this the right approach? I couldn't say but the explanation seemed logical to me (plate shrinkage in old instruments was one reason stated to start with greater thicknesses in new violins) In the end I would defer to the pros who have more informed experience. Chris
  12. I know this doesn't concern the exact thickness of the Titian but Roger has kindly published the thickness of the ex-muir Mackenzie in an article on his site http://www.roger-hargrave.de/. Because this violin (and the Milanolo) show the f-hole scribe marks on the interior, it is presumed they retain their original thickness. For what's its worth, one of the first things we were cautioned about when I did my brief studies with Phil Davis at OCAD was the published Strad and even Sacconi thickening maps were too thin. If memory serves, we were advised to leave the plates a little thicker overall, a little stiffer towards the edge and tap tune the front and back a semitone apart. Chris
  13. To be clear regarding post #27 and #31, I did NOT ask why the Strad would make an announcement on Maestronet about a change of policy. That was another member I believe.
  14. I purchased the poster from the orpheus shop and bought the May issue as a pocket mag via my iPad. I've always's enjoyed the Strad and was a subscriber for years but the annual subscription price became just too expensive for me. More recently I simply bought the poster issues like many here. I can only imagine how tough it has become for magazines like the Strad -- market dynamics have changed considerably. I applaud them for releasing the iPad version and would consider subscribing to it if they are able to release the posters in a printable format! As for the print magazine -- I'd personally prefer the format of 'keep-sake' magazines like the Fretboard. I like the high quality production and the quarterly format. By contrast I have Strad magazines less than a decade old where the paper has yellowed to the point that the photos are no longer usable reference. There is real potential with the iPad version and the Strad did well with their first attempt. In the future -- it would be helpful to A. optimize the resolution for the retina displays B. add more interactive content. These two points will create a superior viewing experience for many. The color accuracy and resolution of the iPad 3 retina display gives publishers the opportunity to provide a product that rivals the most expensive print publications Chris
  15. That has to be one of the nicest varnish colours around. I can only imagine what it looks like in the flesh. The colour seems to float between the fragile world of red, orange and brown. I have to say one of the most frustrating things about being a new maker is being able to visualize what what one wants to achieve, but not having the skills to achieve it!
  16. Bruce, I wish more photos like these would make there way into the exhibition catalogues and monographs! (The Bergonzi catalogue for example does this well, but it would be nice to see even more!) These images tell so much more of a story than the typical violin 'mug shot' thanks for posting! Chris
  17. I know varnish is very difficult to capture in photographs but I'd love to see a photo of one of Frank's instruments!
  18. Wow these are great Bruce. I wish more photos like these would be published in catalogues. These types of images tell more of a story than the traditional violin 'mug shots'
  19. if Jim is listing it, I suspect it is the real thing. Perhaps this is a show piece? With the finial sticking up on the toe, this plane may not be that comfortable to use.
  20. Thanks again for posting these Bruce! Given the clarity of the radial rays, would it be a fair assumption that surfaces shown were left fresh from the gouge and un-scrapped? In my own limited experience I've noticed that the radial rays become cloudy when surfaces (esp end grain) are cleaned up with a scraper (even a very sharp one). the image Guy posted shows this very clearly as well. Thanks! Chris
  21. Melvin, Does the increased body body length of a long pattern Strad result in an atypical set up that players find uncomfortable? I must say I love the look of the long pattern Strad! I think there are three posted in the Luthier's Library (2 from the Met and one from the Shrine museum). Thanks Chris
  22. Thanks Joe. Very informative!
  23. Bruce and Guy, thank you very much!! This is exactly what I was looking for. These subtle tool marks really do give clues of their working method. They also add to the texture and sculptural character of the scroll itself. Chris
  24. Thanks Joe, when you say bark I assume you mean bark from the buckthorn tree itself? and thanks Fiddlecollector for posting the recipes!