Evan Smith

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  1. Evan Smith

    Going Out On A Limb - Bending Iron

    I have developed a full arsenal for rib bending, The c-bouts can cook a minute while I put the small bend on the bouts then slip that around my diesel piston, which is sitting on a hot plate, the rib is held in place by a copper strap, I just slide it in there,It ends up perfect every single time without fail,, no fussing around what so ever, I mean never, ever ever. I don't like futzing around with breaking highly flamed pieces of wood,, ever!,,, then I change out the c-bout, then bend the small bend in the bouts then change out my piston,,,, and on and on. It's all plugged into an old hot plate converted to be a variable power source to keep the temperature steady. The old iron can glow red if you forget it,,,CAREFUL! The c-bout bender is strad on one side and Del Gesu on the other. The wooden horn and iron are what I use to adjust for different things.
  2. Evan Smith

    wood selection

    Personally I like to use the crookedest knot filled twisted piece oh garbage I can find, with in a decent range of weight and stiffness of course,,, Then I wonder what's the big deal, it works fine. But of course I love that perfectly straight flawless wood too,, I love it all!
  3. Evan Smith

    wood selection

    But how can we know for sure?
  4. Evan Smith

    Top/back wood sound question

    Wood doesn't have sound, nor will instruments sound anything alike just because they are made from the same tree. Wood has the possibility of producing certain types of frequencies due to weight, stiffness and speed of sound, it is simply a material that is used to form a shape that makes the sound of the string audible in the atmosphere. Willow will never have the stingily brightness that can be had from rock maple, and ceder will never sound like really stiff .40 euro spruce ,,,the sound rests largely in how it is designed. All you can ever get from willow is the sound of willow, but there is a range within that parameter. Rock maple sounds like rock maple not willow, but the range with in that possibility are many. The slightest change in arching will increase the amplitude of some Hz, and decrease others, and graduation makes a major difference in the openness or the closed perception of the sound,,,,,,the ease or the dificultly of the the bowing has numerous things that majorly affect it, for better or worse. I can use shoes for an example,, give a person some tap shoes, all they can do is tap, you can't sneek around quitely like you can in sneekers, you will be heard,, The question remaining is will you make me respond with , WoW! thats great! "I wanna do that!" or "Would you go and sit down and shut up, you're getting on my nerves!" What someone does with the things at their disposal is what they do. It is all in the hands of the craftsman as to the sound. Millions of violins are made of quite similar wood with totaly different sound. It's really just what you are able to do with it that matters, and I'm not trying to be smart or rude in any manner, what so ever,,just being honest as to how I have expierenced it.
  5. Evan Smith

    Engelmann violin top

    The things we really need to know is if it was cut on the full moon, waning moon or new moon? Was a chainsaw used, with or without ethanol in the fuel,,, or Was it felled with a two man saw? Did both men have two arms,, or finally was it felled with an axe,,, how sharp was it? Was it blocked and quartered on the spot or was it skidded out with an old fordson? Did a group of boy scouts urinate upon it at any time? and Did any one ever drive a nail in to its virgin grain to hang a lantern upon while they were camping, did a bear ever scratch upon it? Ok funs over,,,,,,,,, If it's light, then make no curvy lines going to the neck and end blocks, keep it full to the channels with straight lines and no bulging in the ends. A circle with a radius of 48 to 50 inches is good length wise from corner block to corner block then blend gracefully into a straight line going into the end blocks, with a slightly flatter spot in the bridge area, this general Idea is the least likely to get a neck drop and later distortion,,, which is the bane, or the curse of real light wood. !6mm is a good all around arch height for light Engelmann, or a bit lower,,,,, Make the arch 1.5 to 2 mm higher at the widest part of the lower bout, than the upper bout. And the same at the corner blocks, 1.5 to 2 mm higher at the lower corners, and the arch will be lower at the upper corners. At the upper corners start the transition to the straight line,, which should be from 70 to 90 mm long, starting from the purfling and transitioning as it reaches the upper corner blocks. The straight line at the lower block is much shorter .When it's done right it is all very subtle and not obvious, it all flows together smoothly but it is the underlying principle of strength that matters. The straight lines will not always be straight as the years roll by, they will roll with the years. And the upper arch will rise with time. But if it's done just right it can last a long time, but I guess everything's relative isn't it!
  6. Evan Smith

    The old and the future. Am I on the wrong path?

    You're one tough Hombre!
  7. It could be a loose poorly fitting sound post, your moving the bridge around mimics moving the post around without increasing or decreasing the tension of the post between the plates. Also some unglued plates could cause this. The G string looks quite high, but could just be the camera angle. Also a string that is too loose torsionaly will give this sound, and get worse with too much rosin. You can roll the string between your fingers and see how easily it rolls. Compare it with other strings,, with clean fingers. If if feels loose rolling it between your fingers,, I have fixed this many times by taking the ball end out and twisting it a few times in the direction of the outer wrapping to tighten up the torsional twisting and it will fix it if that is the problem. I have also seen poorly made violins with the neck getting quite thick as it goes toward the peg box, this can cause a reluctance to starting the strings, or just one string, the A or the D. The resulting sound is like a wolfy harmonic squeak, and is next to impossible to get the string to start properly, it is a phasing problem and as soon as you try to start that note the fiddle try's to stop it. Check these things out. Where are you at? 15 minutes could probably correct it.
  8. Evan Smith

    Top/back wood sound question

    I think that the back has a much greater effect on the sound than it is given credit for. If you can't make a functioning back you can never make a great fiddle. I have made multiple backs and tops for the same violins,, on multiple violins. Learning experiments,,learning the ropes and rules. A back can change the sound so much that it is not even the same fiddle at all. You can make it bright or dark, mushy or screechy, nasally and nasty or open and resonant with the back. Of course the top has to allow that to happen but it certainly is not the major factor at all. If the back is nasty you will not overcome it with a better top. If a top has funky problems you will not over come that with a back. The back is directly coupled to the top via the post, plus there are phasing issues that no one seems to comprehend, a bad back can destroy an otherwise great fiddle. A guitar is not that different, but not as sensitive , the back can properly support the low to mid hz on a guitar,, mess it up and the extra zing and support won't be there. I have done the home work,,, I do know this. If you constantly put tops on one worn out nasty back and ribs to do experiments you are shooting yourself in the foot because you always get the input from that one back. Change the back and it would be a differently fiddle entirely. It matters not how many times you wave your arms while reciting the mantra that it doesen't matter, it does matter. I had a nice old german fiddle, nice arches, after four tops and the same unbalenced problem I graduated the back a bit, it was better but not bulls eye, so I made a new back,,,,wow,, completely different fiddle, nothing like I had been messing with. Only one of many times to prove the point. Take a cello with a well made willow back, make as many tops that you want, and it still will sound like it has a willow back, make a good top and it sounds good, a bad top and it sounds bad, but the willow will always be there. It does have a major effect on the final sound. What percentage of the sound of a willow cello sounds of willow? The first really great fiddle that I finished was an old french thing, 30 yrs ago,, They said it was really valuable, and wanted me to fix it. I assembled the thing, it was in pieces, completely. I made a top, there wasn't one with it, the back was a bit strange in arching and graduations according to my then held beliefs,,,, a bit thick and a bit wonky to my understanding but I left it alone, highly unlike me but it must have been fate. When I got done with it all the players went nuts over it, wanted to buy it, it was too much for them. It did have a full rich crystal clear sound unlike anything I'd heard. Super powerful and easy to play. Up to that point my fiddles had settled into a consistent predictable sound, and this was nothing like any before. The big difference was the back, I work off of logs so it wasn't the wood, I made it like I always did. Then I started on the back experiments just trying to learn the possibilities,,, and I found that the back is critically important, it is much more difficult to make a really good back verses a top. If given the opportunity to get a top or back from a great old fiddle I would take the unmolested back every time without a doubt.
  9. Evan Smith

    The old and the future. Am I on the wrong path?

    If you know what your goals are and have the patience almost anything will work,,, pocket knifes butter knifes, spoons sharpened on a rock. one chisel, one gouge, a broken piece of glass,,,,the goal is the deciding factor, not the tools, we are not making micro chips here, as in transistors, we are working in a soft substance, your skill makes the difference not the tools.. However that may be,,,, I do love tools, I am a Smith by lineage, by trade, not in name only. An us type of folks always have to find a better faster more precision, predictable way of doing things. If I need to I can have both plates cut out to shape and the purfling in in under two hours dependably. Not that I always do it that way, but some times I do,, when the mood strikes and it will still look good. I don't like the feeling of being constrained to a covered wagon with two old horses dragging me through the desert day after day,,, sometimes I just like to get'er done. But I like it to be controlled and the outcome predictable. If the tools are functional and do their job well then they stay. But like many others I have tried a few things and later wonder what kind of drugs I was on as I chucked it away in the dust bin. I'll work on 8 at a time so when I reach a point that I say,,,,, this time through I'm not in the mood to line up such and such, or remeasure something a thousand more times, then I decide that it is time to stop and make another tool, a jig, some sort of contraption to do the job for me. Actually,, don't need any of it, beyond just the few basic tools,,,,, personal choice.
  10. Evan Smith

    Tets Kimura's Bench

    That's wonderful,, If I could only make one look that nice.
  11. Evan Smith

    The Bress Bench

    Sounds clear and even,, are you having fun ?
  12. Nice Pictures,,, Way better than typing 8000 words,,, your hands look amazing, love the pins. Thanks, Manfio never lets us down!
  13. Evan Smith

    Why arching shape?

    The first one has a 392 peak at 12db, The second one has the 392 peak at 27 db. It doesn't appear that the volume is the same, so the + 12k doesn't show up, it's hiding somewhere in the ditch!
  14. Evan Smith

    Anyone here in Portland Oregon?

    Every time I've driven through I've thought,,I think I'd love to live in Sequim,,,, My favorite place on the planet is the Olympic peninsula, I've had some vision quests out there,, But you would not believe me if I told you. Amazing place!
  15. Evan Smith


    Let's just say I'm not afraid to try,,,, Glad you enjoy it, it's not to make me look big, but to encourage everyone what is possible if they just try. I'm certainly not the brightest bulb in the lamp,,, so,,,If I can do it then so can you!! Thank You, it means a lot.