nathan slobodkin

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  1. My personal favorite was a Polish coworker in an instrument production shop who pronounced "violin dealers " as "violin stealers".
  2. There is a big difference between asking some one to work on an instrument bought from a private individual as opposed to one bought from a competing shop or maker. The first I will be happy to help if time allows the other will go to the end of the line or I might refuse outright. As a maker whose instruments may end up anywhere in the world I try to sell through reputable shops in the customers home area and trust them to keep the instrument in good shape after the sale. I will only work on instruments from competitors whose work I trust and who extend the same courtesy to me if needed. Part of choosing an instrument should be considering whether the instrument is likely to require frequent maintenance and the availability and reputation of the seller who will do that maintenance. In the past I have been asked to repair an instrument from a much touted maker which had major problems two weeks after delivery from Europe (fingerboard fell off and belly caving in!!) and another where a former client of mine bought an instrument from a local competitor who had been unable to make an adequate bridge despite several tries. In both cases I suggested that if they wanted my level of quality and service they should buy an instrument from me.
  3. Jacob, If these come in varying frequencies then they are different than the one's I usually see here. Do you match the frequency to the principal of the wolf or do you need to experiment to find what works best?
  4. As Jeffrey says I have no knowledge of the shop you are talking about but I agree completely that you should buy from a shop you feel comfortable with to be knowledgeable and honest about what they are selling and competent to set the instrument up properly and handle possible repairs down the road. Since almost all violin shops will give you the cost of your violin on a trade up you are to some degree locking your self into a relationship with that shop. It is an unfortunately frequent situation that someone buys an instrument from someone and then offers it in partial trade on something else only to find that their instrument is worth little or nothing to any other shop than the one where they bought it.
  5. Get a quote from a good professional repairman and ask about appropriate economics for this particular fiddle. If you like the instrument however then at the very least the top will still have to come off.
  6. Another explanation which I hope the scientists here can expound upon is that the body resonance and the air resonance are going back and forth from in phase to counter phase and in the process momentarily cancelling each other out creating the warbling sound of the wolf. In my experience sound post adjustment can help by moving the frequency of the wolf to a point between notes where it will not be heard as much. This is especially true when the wolf can be heard on the D string as well as on the normal, lower strings. Various wolf eliminators definitely can help as well although usually at some cost through out the instruments range. I do wonder if the size of the cello in this case may have some relevance but again would wait for the scientists to weigh in on that.
  7. Yes the top has to come off and the cost for a strong and invisible repair would be significant. Functional but ugly would cost less. What is the fiddle and what condition is it in otherwise?
  8. Clavettes can work although elegant they ain't and require a fair amount of time when you add in making sure the block is glued properly to the rest of the fiddle and or resetting the neck. Also agree that the long lower bout top crack needs proper repair and reinforcement. Although this looks like it was once a nice little violin it is still only quarter size and there are few if any kids at that stage of playing who need anything more than a violin which has normally proportioned measurements and a good set up. If I was trying to benefit a school I would offer a scholarship towards a rental rather than a fragile violin which they cannot afford to maintain. That way students can be given larger instruments as they grow and the maintenance will be done by the shop that owns the rentals. On the other hand if the goal is to learn to do these repairs have at it although I think you'll find working on smaller instruments more challenging than larger ones.
  9. Investing in art or antiques hoping to make a profit is pretty iffy. You would be competing with professionals who have spent years learning the fine points of the market as well as questions of authenticity and condition. Not to mention the con persons who have spent years studying people like you who they can fleece. The fact is that the majority of people who buy a musical instrument have no idea what they are buying and even in the case of modern makers where authenticity is not an issue there are people having white instruments made by computers which will never have the personality or rarity which leads to value in the market and others whose prices are determined by sales arrangements with teachers rather than by the quality of their work. Years ago people who bought instruments or bows which they liked sometimes found that they went up in value over time. Sometimes astronomically so. My violin teacher in junior high school played a Ruggierri violin which he bought for $5,400 in the early 60's and was rewarded handsomely when he retired and the thing turned out through random luck to have been real. People who bought Poggi's or Sartory's from the makers also made good investments. Many other people paid similar prices for instruments or bows which were either spurious or did not appreciate much in value because they were not particularly rare. And in nearly every case the same money invested in the stock market and left alone would have gained just as much value.
  10. Jacob, Is this bent in two dimensions like a rib or pressed with a transverse bend as well? Any kerfing involved? I presume not still under tension but bent using heat? What is the purpose of making a plate in this way? thanks
  11. This job sounds easy as pie so don't forget to multiply your estimate by 3.14.
  12. Yes! I did notice that she does use quite a bit of makeup and thought that might be part of the issue. Now how to tell a pretty girl to stop using makeup while playing her violin. What sort of stuff is in makeup which could be causing this caked on mess? I have not tried vinegar but will do so.
  13. I am reviving this thread due to an incredibly dirty contemporary instrument which I think is less than 20 years old which came into my shop yesterday. The client was a conservatory student who stopped playing for personal reasons and the violin sat in it's case for several years. The instrument has areas which are covered with a shiny,whitish gray scum primarily in areas which might get touched by skin or clothing. There is none in the c bout ribs and a thick perhaps 1/4 mm coating on lower and upper edges, upper and lower ribs and bouts, transition areas of the neck and so forth. Distilled water, spit, Vulpex and citrus oil all seem to have zero affect at least when let sit with no scrubbing. Sanding with micromesh immediately clogs the paper and powdered abrasives seem to stick in the film without really removing anything. Xylene does take it off with enough time and scrubbing and Naptha type cleaner designed for tape residue works even better but both seem to soften the varnish slightly ( sticky when touched). The dirt coming off on the toweling is more of a brown than black but the color of the varnish underneath seems right and undisturbed. Standard looking oil varnish. What the heck is this gunk? I left the slightly tacky varnish to harden over night and will see if I can use micromesh or further cleaning methods this morning. Also will be asking the client if she had been using some kind of polish on her instrument before it was stored. One of the more challenging cleaning tasks I have encountered. Comments and suggestions welcomed
  14. I believe there are now electronic thickness gauges that are less expensive than the Hacklingers.