nathan slobodkin

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  1. First and foremost get the bark off before bringing it into your shop!! Commercial log sealers such as "Anchorseal" available from logging supply companies are very effective and can be used by dipping the ends of the billets or applied with a brush or even sprayed if you have lots to do. I have cut mostly maple and after the ends are sealed I stack "log cabin style" and then blow gentle cool air through the stacks for an hour or so to get the surface water off. On maple you see an immediate color change that tells you the surface is dry. I don't know if that step is required for spruce. Then storing in an unheated dry area where it won't freeze for several years and only then into the shop itself.
  2. Absolutely! I think many players have never seen or felt properly fitted friction pegs and think they are hard to use. If the pegs are properly fitted, dressed yearly and used properly then they are as good or better than any mechanical peg I have ever seen. There is a skill to using them which must be learned and if someone has snapped strings due to tight pegs they are turning in the wrong direction! Always loosen the peg by going down in pitch and then press in slightly as you go back up so that the peg stops at the correct note. Another issue is that they work so well that players don't have to use them much and they will sometimes become out of round if they are not moved for long periods of time.
  3. Hi Martin What about with Fleur de Lys ? Does the indiviual maker make a difference in value? Also what is current status of their non -wood frogs?
  4. I really can't see the gap from the photos on my ancient computer. If this was one of my instruments I would probably make another top but if you are a student who is not going to sell the instrument perhaps cleat it, finish it and be more careful with the joint next time. I always check my joints dry with just one clamp at the center using a strong light and magnification to check both sides. Without glue it is easy to see if they are not perfect.
  5. If the bass bar is coming loose I would replace it using modern specs. If it wasn't coming loose however I would want to hear the violin before deciding to change it. I agree with Doug that the varnish looks fire damaged but believe there are some varnishes which did this on their own.
  6. No, and can cause buzzing besides. How long is the gap in the joint? Cleats are cheap insurance on any joint and seem to have no effect on sound. If the gap is really short you can use a some what wider cleat covering the gap and then regularly spaced cleats along the rest of the joint. Be careful to position the cleats so that they don't get in the way of fitting the post. Needless to say it is better to find out if your joint is bad while it is still possible to do it over if necessary. If you examine the joint under magnification you should be able to see any suspicious areas and can take a thin shaving across the joint and see if you can separate the shaving at the joint. If you can then the joint is not tight or the glue is too weak.
  7. Having reached the age where I am starting to slow down physically while demand for my instruments and services continue to grow I am considering how to keep up with the work and also the eventual fate of my shop. Have other people had experience with apprentices in the shop? I have had many dilettantes ask to work with me for short periods of time but I would need some one who already had enough skills to be useful and yet be willing to learn, show up for work on time and stay long enough to make the whole thing worth while . I myself learned through 8 years of subsistence wage apprenticeship but most people today seem to learn at schools and then aspire to careers as restorers in a big city Strad dealership. Due to the need of a large stock of high quality aged wood to make artist quality instruments establishing a violin shop from scratch as I did required decades of work and investment and I would be sad to see it eventually broken up or inherited by people with no interest in the trade. If anyone has experience on either side of the apprentice/teacher relationship or the passing on of a violin business I would value comments.
  8. I think many craftsman were and are aware of classical geometry and had relatively simple ways to produce useful shapes.
  9. I agree. In fact I'll volunteer to try out the plans if they are available.
  10. Isn't there a small cello by Strad as well? I am remembering perhaps an inlaid instrument?
  11. The usual approach to those kind of knocks and scratches is to minimize the contrast in color by touching any really white wood with a little color of the lightest shade to be found on the instrument. Then leave them alone. If there were only one nick on an otherwise pristine and yet unsold new instrument then I might try to hide it.
  12. So any thoughts about the original stringing or denomination of the 710 mm bodied, probably English instrument I was enquiring about? Also, am I right in assuming a "bass violin" would have been strung GDAE?
  13. What is a cello piccolo ? I am trying to find information about a very early cello (?) with a body length of 710 mm. I have never made any "early Music" instruments and am a bit perplexed by references to Bass Violins and other instruments which I assume were transitions between the viol family and the violin family. Any info appreciated.