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nathan slobodkin

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Everything posted by nathan slobodkin

  1. Just had an experience yesterday with an extremely accomplished player with a nice Italian violin set up with string heights of 4 and 2 3/4. He had asked to have his board planed and a post adjustment because the fiddle "didn't feel right" When I looked at the board I told him that it really didn't need planing and suggested a higher bridge. Since he had a concert in a few days he asked me to just adjust the post and he would come back later for the new bridge. After tightening the some what loose post he said the fiddle sounded much better and he said the feel under his left hand was back to normal and felt fine. This is a really good player who plays fairly aggressively although he is a fairly small man. Any way just an example of how other issues might affect a players perception of a fingerboard problem and also how even good players might like or be used to unusual set ups. I don't know if he will come back in the future to try a higher bridge but I'd be interested to find out if more standard string heights worked as well for him.
  2. Question for the experts. Is the scoop a section of a single (very large!) circle or slightly more curved in the center than at the ends? I noticed the OP mentioned a high point at the end of the board which sounds bad to me although obviously there will be a point where the straight edge touches the ends of the board and nothing else.
  3. Sharpening finger plane blades requires a minute or less on the grinder and three or four passes on each stone. There is absolutely no need of any kind of jig. There are tools such as very large, wide gouges where the amount of metal which must be removed during grinding requires holding the gouge without letting go for long enough to be uncomfortable for those of us who have arthritis due to millions of repetitive motions. In that case some kind of guide for the grinder may be helpful but honing even the largest tools takes only a few moments.
  4. Once again suggest the trois Brins style purfling which requires no prebending of anything and tends to swell and conform to the vagaries of a variable width channel. Karen Rost in Germany (Austria?) has whatever thickness veneers you might need or for that matter could probably make up preglued purfling in whatever thickness you want.
  5. In the 1970s I made some toothed plane blades in a machine shop in Lincolnville, Maine which had originally been powered by water which ran into a reservoir during high tide and then fed through a gate with a power wheel when the tide went out. The shop had been converted to a single enormous electric motor which powered two jack shafts which ran down the sides of the shop and were connected to the various machines by flat leather belts and levered clutches. I also had the feeling of going back in time and had visions of an Occupational Safety and Health inspector having a heart attack on the spot if he ever saw the place.
  6. One piece backs of poplar or willow are common. I've made well over a hundred of them, mostly cut on the slab and am not aware of any that have cracked. One piece maple exists but as David B says are frightfully expensive. Slab cut tops on the other hand are pretty eccentric. I don't believe I have ever seen one except on amateur made instruments.
  7. Michael is correct that you need to adjust your tool to the width of your purfling before marking the groove. As he says you could now find some wider purfling but I can see that your groove is actually of varying width so you may still have to clean that up to get the wider purfling to fit. I always set the marker to what looks right then mark and cut a groove in some maple and spruce scraps and then fit a scrap of the purfling in and see how tight it is. if it is a tiny bit tight you can scrape the purfling a hair or you can adjust the marker. Also a good idea to scrape a small chamfer on the bottom corner of the purfling to allow it to slide into the groove. At this point you might see if using the trois brins method of using three seperate pieces of veneer held together in the hand and fed into the glue filled groove might bail you out with your uneven groove. This method can do a very neat job if done accurately but can also give a slightly funky but adequate purfling job which looks fine on antiqued instruments. I usually recommend that beginners not get into antiquing until they can make a decent straight fiddle but you have kind of backed yourself into a corner on this one. Incidentally I think Xacto knives have no place in violin making. A sharp violin makers knife will do a better job of following the line of your marker and not jump as much when crossing the grain lines of the spruce. Good luck with this. I agree that you should go ahead and finish this instrument as best you can and then avoid repeating your mistakes on the next one. I also recommend getting Brian Derber's "Manual of violin making" and following his directions carefully. It is the one book I have seen which can help a beginner make a decent violin on the first attempt.
  8. Brad, Looks German Czech to me also. What did you see that makes you think Jackson Gulden?
  9. The standard knot used as a "stop" on logging and rigging ropes is a figure eight knot. I have little experience with gut strings but that is the knot I would try first. Easy to tie and very secure.
  10. Hi Joe. Precooking as in normal running of the resin or something else?
  11. Where is he? To me anything West of the Rockies is the same neighborhood.
  12. Does that mean it's time to rush to your bedside in case you spill the beans?
  13. They've got shots for that.
  14. The best way to join plates is the way which works best for you and takes the least time. For a beginner following the advice of one and only one successful maker and using their method until you have mastered it is probably the way to go. Brian Derber's book is probably the one book I have seen which I think a beginner working alone could follow and make a decent first instrument. My own experience with wooden planes is that I spent about an hour with a straight scraper tuning my Ulmia jointer plane 37 years ago and have not had to touch it since other than sharpening the blade and adjusting the depth of cut depending on the wood and the weather. I prefer to clamp my joints especially cellos and leave a barely visible catenaric lengthwise hollow which I inspect with a strong spot light held behind the joint. I have explained my procedure in detail in previous threads on this forum. The most important thing is to learn what the unglued and finished joints are supposed to look like. How you get there can be achieved in many ways. Pick one and go for it.
  15. Eric Meyer in Seattle area.
  16. Would like to read the article but when I click the link they want me to subscribe to something. Wazzup?
  17. Also important you use the right kind of steel. For thin scrapers I use "blue tempered shim stock" such is used by machinists to shim or space parts. for the thick scrapers the commercial scrapers sold by tool suppliers can be good or repurposed saw blades. You may have to experiment to find the steel which works best for you. If you are going to turn the edges good burnishers can be hard to find. I use a jewelers bezel pusher.
  18. Definitely. Higher arch and higher ribs will not give the same results. Higher arch with higher ribs however might isolate the air volume as a more singular variable.
  19. I have seen a !/2 size Cammili which was sold by Bein and Fushi in the late 80s.
  20. So DO wider or deeper ribbed violas have the same dark qualities of a longer bodied instrument? Again I would intuitively think that larger air volume contributes to a bassier more diffuse sound but as usual have no science to back that up. Also as Tets suggested I was taught that wider Cs in relation to the bouts made for better violas but don't know if this is a way to add air volume without length or if some thing else is involved. The wider upper and lower bouts such as the one Martin posted sure do look cool and must have worked for some makers but there seems to be differing opinions as to what violas should really sound like as well as what design features push the sound in different directions.
  21. So why don't smaller violas then have the darker, Bassier sound?
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