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Everything posted by polkat

  1. I've never used anything but the standard S setter...until I lost it one day. So as a temporary measure, I took a piece of welding wire and bent it into the S shape, hammered one end flat and sharpened it. I've been using it ever since. I think a part of the problem for new luthiers or hobbiests is that the frustration of learning to use the S setter causes them to turn to easier methods long before they develop the skills necessary. Further to that, many new makers try a post setting and give up on it way too early, after a day or sometimes even a few hours. I feel that any new post setting needs a few days to work in before a fair assesment of the sound can be made. Also, I've never found two violins in where the best post setting is in exactly the same spot (I'm sure there are some, but I haven't seen this). One of Kenny Bakers fiddles that I looked at had the post just short of 1/2" behind the bridge, while Grappelli's Guadagnini had the post almost under the bridge! The point here is that the standard beginning setting is strictly a starting point, and ideas like "move it here and it sounds like..." must be taken strictly as generalizations. Sometimes, depending on arching, graduations, bridge shape, etc. it doesn't get fatter or whatever if you move it a certain way. Patience is the key...to me anyway.
  2. Yes, I have the Kliphuis Grappelli book and others. I was more interested in how others arrange their practice routines. Learning new songs, practicing what scales or arpeggios, dividing their time between these things, etc?
  3. Any swing/gypsy jazz players here? I've been into this style (mostly Grappelli) for a few years now, and while the learning is slow I'm making progress. I was wondering what practice routine other players of this style have been using? Thanks!
  4. Well, the simplicity of this story probably won't even count here, but I'll tell it anyway. A friend brought me an inexpensive violin maybe six years ago that he had stripped and wanted me to finish in a darkish brown. he had no money (I seem to catch a lot of these!). I had heard of asphalt as a colorant, so I shoved a screwdriver in my pocket and hopped on my bike, and road around looking for pothole repairs. Inveriably, a pothole repair will have an area around the edges where puddles of asphalt have dried without a mess of gravel mixed in. I dug out a large marble size piece with the screwdriver, took it home and put it in a shot glass, and used just enough turps to cover it. Let it set a few days and then filtered it into another shot glass. I put about one ounce of the results directly into enough Tru-Oil to give the instrument 2 or 3 coats. To this day that fiddle has a warm, dark brown/gold finish and has not faded at all. Since then I've done this to a few instrumewnts I've built for myself, and the results have been the same (in fact, I have certain road repairs I go to depending on the color I want which seems to indicate to me anyway that not all asphalt is exactly the same). Anyway, I've never had a fading problem.
  5. I see no visual change in the arching (although that doesn't mean there isn't any), but having made only 10 violins in as many years, I'm no pro. In fact, this is the first I've ever heard of an arching protector! Can you explain what that is?
  6. Well, if you made the violin then later discovered the cracks, we can assume it has never been repaired before, other then to shorten the saddle. If it was mine, I'd pull the top and clean, glue, and cleat the cracks, which I'd consider the proper repair. Otherwise you could try flexing in glue as already suggested.
  7. Well, let me approach it from this angle. I want to raise the end of the fingerboard 3 to 3.5mm. According to what Wolfjk says (and what I think the rest of you are saying)is that if I start with a shim around 1/2mm thick, that will get me in the ballpark. This is a violin I made about 10 years ago. At the time all measurements were correct, but I used this particular fiddle for playing bluegrass, and kept it stringed with heavy strings. Over the decade the fingerboard dropped and I associate that with the heavy strings. Would you folks associate the strings with this problem? Other violins I made at that time don't show this problem, but were strung with medium strings.
  8. No, I was not talking about a fingerboard shim (I always thought they looked obvious and (to me) somewhat ugly). yes, the overhang refuces roughly the same amount of the shim size, but if you have good overhang already, a .5mm shim shouldn't be that obvious. duane88, how much lift at the board end did you get from that 0.5mm shim?
  9. Thanks guys! Nonado, I figured it was somewhere in that neighborhood. I like the idea of the little handle to help slip it in and out! I can take it from here.
  10. Hi guys! It's been a few years since I've done a pullup (shim between the neck end and the top plate). I can't remember if there is a formula to indicate how thick the shim (full size violin) should be for a certain amount of lift at the end of the fingerboard. Anyone know? Or is it just a matter of experimentation? Thanks!
  11. One violin I have has nice strong tone all over the fingerboard...except with the A string, but only in the higher registers (mostly in 3rd position from the E note up). I have tried different A strings (from different brands) and they all do the same thing. In first position all notes are strong, and there is good balance across all the strings. I have inspected the fingerboard scoop in the suspected area and see nothing wrong. There is no problem with the other 3 strings. Tone and balance is so good otherwise that I hate to touch the post. What else should I consider?
  12. Oil colors like Windsor Newton often come in both permanent and transparant versions (will have a marking on the tube). I have had far better results with the transparant tubes. If I'm adding it to oil varnish, I dissolve it in a little turps first, then strain it into the varnish to get any leftover lumps out (there will always be some of you mix it directly into the varnish). Works for me.
  13. I'd have to agree with Mike. When I got more seriously interested in violins, I learned a great deal from this site. The MIMF site was helpfull as well. In this day and age, it's amazing to me how many learned luthiers are willing to come forward and offer advice, and it's an invaluable resource!
  14. [There's no u in mammoth] I guess this may sound stupid but, fiddlecollector, how does one like your friend in Ohio GET mammoth ivory? Considering how limited the supply must be, are there actually suppliers for the stuff? I mean, arn't most mammoth remains in museums? Odd.
  15. Wel...heh...they mostly drank it. I wasn't allowed near it (but what can I say? Kids have a way of getting into things). I do sort of remember them using it on snake bites though. Not trying to present myself as a country boy here, as I spent my later youth in Arlington (near DC), But as a young kid we were hillbillys I suppose. Oh, I also remember that they made their own glue, mostly hide type from cows, but sometimes from deer.
  16. My great grandfather and my grandfather built stringed instruments high in the Blueridge Mts. (VA). Mostly fiddles and banjos, but other stuff as well. They were self trained: think in terms of the fiddle makers in the old Foxfire books. I'll never forget their old shop. Many of the old mountain style players , and later some bluegrass players, hung out there (and the jams-and the flowing corn-was constant). I hung out with them a lot as a kid, and learned a lot from them, mostly stuff that I don't use today, but it was my childhood and hard to forget.
  17. Yes, I know about Schaller and have Schaller's on my guitar. Thanks for the link to the patent. I also looked in up at the US patent Office site. Interesting bow, apparently patented in 1977. It has an aluminum core with plastic laminated over that. The frog is conventional, although the tip uses a screw rather then a wedge. Looking at the bow directly, I see no distortion at the head, or any indication that it has pulled away as mentioned. I think the photos may have made it look thick, but it is no thicker then other octagonal bows that I've had. While I doubt that it's a good playing bow, I think that I'll go ahead and fix it up just to see what it does. ctviolin, thanks for the offer, but I can do fairly good rehairs. One concern is that the plastic is a rather dull brown. What can I use to try and shine it up a bit?
  18. Well, sadly, my old digital camera was probably first owned by Ben Franklin, but here's what I got. The first two pics are the tip and frog area...... Was difficult to get good shots, and one can barely tell that it's octagon from the pic. The stick has an even, rather dull brown color, without visable grain (fake grain). There is evidence of a grip, but the pad and wire wrap is long gone. I took a knife to the frog channel and scraped away a splinter. Was not wood. Burned the splinter and it melted like some kind of plastic(?). The frog is fully silver lined and solid (I'd save it even if I tossed the bow). Here's whats on the bottom of the frog..... The bow seems older then the new composites out now, and as I mentioned, I suspect that it's an early attempt at a composite-type bow. I'm going to fix it up and try it. Shaller still has some kind of composite bows on it's website, but they don't look quite like this.
  19. I think I read somewhere that Charley actually cuts some of the hairs so it will look that way. it's part of the act (but of course, I don't know if that's true). Anyway, I think that sometimes the idea of ethics and tradition can stand in the way of the evolution of our instrument. You might remember that a similar arguement went on for a while over Pegheds and Perfection pegs (which I personally think was a great invention and I have them on all my violins). There seems to be less disagreement over them now as players begin to see that they can work to one's advantage. Don't get me wrong as there's nothing wrong with a smooth working set of standard pegs, but few other stringed instruments are still using them today. I personally dismiss teachers who are locked in to tradition as a governing mode of all violin education. And I dismiss ethics entirely in this case.
  20. Was just given a few old bows by a friend, and one of them is rather strange. I'ts a full size octagonal bow that looks rather nice, but on closer inspection to determine the wood, it appears to be made from....humm, maybe plastic. No markings on the stick, but the frog slide is marked Schaller D8P claiming US, Japanese, and British patents. Nice balance and weight. Does anyone know what this is? Seems to be maybe an early attempt at a composite bow. Might clean it up and use it myself, but is it worth the effort? Thanks!
  21. While I've done some simple repairs on some, and rehaired a bunch, I don't really know bows all that well. Is there an accepted method for increasing bow weight a bit?
  22. Will, now I'm confused. I thought superglue was cyanoacrylate. Guess not. But CA makes sense instead of my CV term. Anyway, I tried tightening the eyelet of the better frog one full turn in, mounted it on the stick, and although the screw is a bit harder to turn, the frog is much more stable. So at this point I'll probably leave it alone. Thanks for the responses.
  23. My mistake I guess. I've heard of superglue being referred to as CV before.
  24. Yes, I had planned to reshape the groove in the good frog to better accept the slide, which isn't well fitted to the old frog, but getting them off is the concern. Does anyone know what glue is commonly used? Is it indeed shellac? Would CV work on ebony?
  25. Among my personal bows (for my own use) is a real nice pernambuco bow (although the is no stamp or it's been rubbed away), that I want to use, but sometime in the past the frog was replaced with a cheapo. I have a nice frog I can replace it with, but the silver liner (the channel that goes on top of the frog and slides against the stick) of this frog is slightly different in size then the hex of the stick, and causes the frog to wobble a bit (wobble too much for me). The liner on the cheap frog fits the stick nicely. You can probably see where my question is headed. On both frogs I see no screws or pins, they look to be just glued in. I want to swap them. How can I remove these liners without destroying them? What kind of glue is normally used here? Thanks!
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