nathan slobodkin

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  1. Cellos made after 1950 - American or European

    Susan, There are tens of thousands of cellos that fit your description including the one I finished last month. They are all going to be different in many ways. You don't mention your experience as a player but I think it would make sense to go to a good violin shop and look for a cello that you like to play and can afford rather than starting with limits on date and place of origin.
  2. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    I also have never seen a Mittenwalder without let in linings. This has characteristically long blocks but the linings seem to have been replaced. What I found slightly more remarkable aside from the wood was that the scroll chamfers were blacked. This also might have been added later but I don't really recall ever seeing that on a M"wald violin' There is a definite look to Mittenwald violins however and I certainly saw it on this one. Shape of the cul de poule, Strongly curved pegbox profile, single lower rib with notch, arching, FF fluting and general small neat appearance all said Mittenwald on first look.
  3. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    The hard grain lines may or may not be found in American wood but there is a cambium mining beetle that is found here which is never (?) found in Europe. It is rare to find any Acer Rubrum South of New England which does not show brown streaks which look like small bark inclusions running through the wood. The incidence of this becomes less endemic further North but there is usually some signs of it even in Maine and Nova Scotia. These streaks are not really bark inclusions but more of a mineral type stain and the wood is sound and acoustically good but none the less very recognizable. J. Bress may be able to provide more info but as far as I know there is no firm answer about why it is more pronounced in some areas than others however a veneer buyer I know told me he thinks there is some connection between trees grown on land once cleared for agriculture and areas which were not. It is hard to see from the above picture but unless I am mistaken there is some of the characteristic streaking about a third of the way across the lower bout on the bass side and also just to the left or treble side of the end button at the bottom of the back.
  4. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    Thanks guys, For sure American maple can work well for all violin family instruments but I had not known that there was so much use of it in Europe that long ago. I have seen Vuillaumes with American maple but was surprised that it had made it to Mittenwald. James, surely you meant NOT the rock maple??
  5. American Maple on Mittenwalder?

    Just had a violin in the shop (sorry no photos) that looked very much like a mid 19th century Mittenwalder but had what seemed to clearly be an American maple back. Instrument was much repaired and had a few other oddities including non-let in linings (repairs?) and blackened scroll chamfers. Absolutely looked like Mittenwald however and had some of the other tell tale details besides. Any chance of American wood being exported to Mittenwald? How about a Mittenwald maker exported to North America? Sorry for no photos but this is an interesting dilemma and I would appreciate some thoughts on this.
  6. Advice on how to cut tree trunk into slabs

    Gryffynda, I have not used cherry but see no reason you couldn't use it for violin backs as long as you can get a minimum of 4 1/4 inches width of clean wood. Violin backs should be cut like pie slices 1 3/4" thick on the outer edge and 1/2" thick on the "point" towards the center of the tree. Minimum length is 16". Figure out how many pieces you can get from the log and cut over size unless you need to cut close to maximize yield. Don't forget to save out some for ribs and scroll blocks for each back. One good usable set is better than several pieces cut too small! You can divide up the log by cutting to whatever length you decide on then splitting into quarters, planing one side of the split then cutting the "pie slices" by trimming off the inner point to get a flat, marking out your slice on all 4 sides and sawing off the slice with the flattened point surface resting on the band saw table. You need to get the pieces cut as soon as possible to avoid staining and then seal the ends immediately with a commercial wax emulsion such as AnchorSeal or whatever log end sealer is available at your local logging supply store. VIolin wood is really very rare and if your log isn't big enough or doesn't split right there is just nothing you can do. Good luck! I think you will soon realize why tone wood is so expensive,
  7. Argle Bargle

    J. Tried to send someone your way and they couldn't find you. Give me a call please. 945-4567 Nate
  8. Antiquing techniques

    As Luiz is no longer able to answer anything I think sharing his thoughts on antiquing would be a tribute to him.
  9. Dealbreaker Violin Damage?

    As David says what the instrument is determines the acceptability of the damage. This appear to be a fairly ordinary violin with a some what troublesome amount of damage. I would be particularly concerned by the broken button and the edge wear that might indicate that the neck angle has gone down along the way. In my shop it is likely that this one would sit on the "project rack" until the end of time even if it could be had for almost nothing.. If you are thinking of buying a violin getting one from a reputable dealer might be the best route.
  10. Nathaniel Rowen

    Anybody know the whereabouts of Nathaniel Rowen who is (was) a violin maker in Brooklyn NY? I just was offered a very nice viola by him but know nothing about him and all info on the web seems to be 5 years out of date.
  11. Cleaning rosin & gunk for violins with acetone

    If neccesary I use acetone for removing varnish. Works great! I can't really imagine a varnish that it wouldn't soften.
  12. Cleats Variety

    I would still recommend staggering these so they don't all end on the same grain line.
  13. Violin ID and Restoration Tips?

    Or you use a sharp gouge across the grain and finish with a with scraper which is much faster.
  14. Extending oil varnish working time.

    Dan, There are an almost infinite variety of acceptable textures in violin finishing. In my opinion there is only one which I categorically don't like and that is a completely smooth high gloss. If the people you are showing your work to are used to furniture or guitars they may not see the beauty in that kind of texture but I think it looks very nice.
  15. Wood ID

    I'd be carful about that. Heads yes necks no. Grafted to a maple neck however very nice indeed.