nathan slobodkin

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  1. I would be extremely careful with this. These kinds of water stains can soak in to the soft grains of the top and reverse the grain which almost never looks good. If you do use it a presealer such as gelatin or egg white could prevent that but oxidizers or very dilute colouring agents which can be repeated until the correct tone is achieved are best.
  2. Some of the black willows are as dark as walnut and some extra time in the light box tends to darken the spruce while bleaching the willow. A little extra oxidizer on the spruce and some darker tints in the top varnish can even everything out pretty effectively'. Don't know if that works with walnut but I'd experiment with it and find out. If the top doesn't get as dark as the back that can look OK too. On willow instruments I was using either maple or beech heads and those had to be adjusted for color as well.
  3. Philip. The laws regarding kickbacks are individual to states and countries. In the USA there are some states such as Colorado where I am told the practice is illegal whereas unfortunately in my home state of Maine there are no laws against it. Regardless of whether the practice is illegal since it is all done secretly there is no practical way to enforce the laws. I find your faith in the teacher's honesty when asked if they accept kickbacks to be rather naive.
  4. It is not a spoken comment but some one who was there told me about a student at the VMSA showing a fiddle to Peter Prier who walked over to the bandsaw and sawed it down the middle lengthwise.
  5. Absolutely! There is at least one long discussion of this previously on Maestronet. I Have made quite a few cellos and use a plane with a slightly convex blade to plane a tiny hollow across the joint and a slight, catenaric hollow length wise. I use a standard I- beam bar clamp with the I-beam on the out side (roof shaped side) to close the joint with fingers only tightening the clamp. Then I take a strong light and a magnifying loupe to look carefully at the joint to make sure it is perfectly closed all along the length on both sides. Gluing is done with ample hide glue applied to both sides and three bar clamps on the outside of the plate tightening the center clamp first so that glue drips in tears from the joint on both sides. You mention that the shape of the wedges is still rough which may be giving you trouble as unless the flat sides are actually flat it is hard not to get a twist in the joint. Look up the previous discussion on this as there are more detailed descriptions of several methods used by experienced makers.
  6. The angle depends more on the steel of the tool than what is to be cut. I have some "Swiss made" gouges which I like a lot but they are very soft and need a fairly obtuse angle while some of my Grandfather's Addis tools can be sharpened much more acutely and seem to hold their edge forever. As long as the bevel is consistent and between 25 and 35 degrees they should work fine.
  7. I also find it a necessity to hollow grind all blades. I use a 6" wheel driven by a 1725 rpm motor with a 2:4 pulley set up to cut the speed in half. I made a tool rest which I can run my finger along to guide the grinding and slide the gouge or chisel in or out to get the wheel in contact with the center of the bevel of the tool. Rounding the wheel slightly helps to keep the angle constant as I turn the gouge. It is important not to let go of the gouge once you start so that you don't change the bevel. I want a single hollow surface right up to the edge all the way across the gouge. After the grinding is done a couple of swipes across a flat stone touches only the edge and the heel and as long as the hollow remains it is easy to lock in on to the correct angle for honing and then a few swipes with a fine slip stone removes the burr.
  8. Your assumption that good older makers preferred tight straight grain was true in Nurnberg but not in Italy. Many very good violins are made with medium grained wood and some with radically wide grained wood.
  9. I have never worked on an exterior mold but can say that for anyone working quickly with any method it is possible that ribs slide or a joint looks good dry but less good after gluing. Cutting a groove and gluing in a strip of purfling takes perhaps 5 minutes and unless it is really badly done looks just fine. Like wise if through some looseness in outline shape the perfect centering of the end pin does not fall perfectly on the rib joint adding a purfling gives you a chance to line things up and do a little decorating at the same time.
  10. Yes. I have had the same problem and have now replaced most of mine after about 25 years of use. Interestingly the cello clamps seem not to have the problem even though I have definitely used them as much.
  11. A damp cloth and time will loosen the linen. I would try applying a damp cloth and brushing a bit of cold water often enough to keep it damp then using a little warm water from the glue pot to get an edge started and applying more warm water as you peel the linen off. The veneer repairs, however, may prove more challenging to remove and may need a counter form and carving tools. I don't see your pictures yet which may be waiting for moderater intervention.
  12. As David says If your glueing regimen is correct this is indeed pretty mysterious and his experiment would be interesting. Are you a professional maker? Gluing large joints like this can be tricky and it is most important that the surfaces match up perfectly requiring almost no pressure.
  13. Not quite sure on what this saw is but if it's a "chop" type motorized miter saw I agree with Michael. Every one is comfortable with the procedure that injures them.