nathan slobodkin

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Everything posted by nathan slobodkin

  1. No Info on the OP's label but a question along the same lines. Any one ever see a "Marconcini 1901" label? Looks like a decent or better MK violin of that time period. I have been told by a reliable source that this was a Roth but wondered if anyone else has seen this label used by them.
  2. Ben, Is this a Barak Norman? Do you think there were sculptors who were not VMs who made these things?
  3. I have just yesterday suddenly found ads popping up on MN. On some threads they are appearing after every comment or reply and seem to be focused on other products or services that I may have looked at on the internet. This is annoying in the extreme as well as a bit spooky. Anyone know how to get rid of these intrusive ads?
  4. All of the above comments are correct as to added price but the tendency to deform and any acoustic differences are from the back being slab cut (as most one piece backs are) rather than quartered. If you do see quartered one piece violin or viola backs they are as Melvin said usually from a cello back that had a defect of some kind.
  5. That looks about right to me also. On instruments with a really abnormal stop a case can be made for using a neck length (edge to nut) to stop ratio of 2/3 which gives a normal feel to the neck when shifting but fingerings a bit closer than "normal" or some people would increase the neck length to keep the spacing between fingers "normal" but that would mean shifting might feel a bit strange. With a stop of 194 I would set it just as Duane said.
  6. Thanks Martin, I absolutely agree that destroying historically valuable artifacts because they are made with now endangered natural materials is remarkably ignorant and short sighted. I have been told that objects over 100 years old are exempt as antiques but have not been able to verify that. If as you say 19th century stuff can be confiscated then that would appear to be incorrect. Unfortunately asking the agencies involved doesn't always have beneficial results.
  7. Martin I know that the regulations on ivory have now gotten less restrictive but do you know if the t-shell ban is also changing? Last I heard the law was "not to be used in commerce".
  8. Bill, Definitely cut (or, only if the wood splits really well, split) the billets to something approaching usable size as soon as possible. Hours or days not weeks. Once the checks start on the ends sealer will not stop them from growing. Much better to saw off the splits and reseal immediately. There is a reason tone wood dealers charge so much. Preparing it is time consuming and prone to misfortunes. As I said before I am most familiar with maple and in the summer wouldn't buy a log without having the proper blade all set on the saw and the sealer and brushes/tubs on hand and ready. I chainsawed the "wheel" of appropriate length off the log then sealed the ends of the wheel and the new cut log end even before starting in on the next one. When everything was in quarters I started to cut each one into billets and resealed all end cuts right away before going on to the next quarter wheel.
  9. Aha. Must admit I never tried it myself after seeing a whole bunch of wood go bad with wax peeling off the ends. They must not have let it stand in the wax long enough or some other issue.
  10. David, I've seen a lot of wood wasted by assuming molten wax will seal because often the wax doesn't really bind to the wood and can be pulled or peeled right off once the wood starts to dry. The commercial wax emulsion log sealers are thinner and actually soak in a few mm. on the end grain. I make sure to cut off the sealed part when prepping the billet for gluing.
  11. it depends how much water is in the wood. if there is free water between the cells that freezes it can cause internal checking which may not be visible but will effect sound . After the free water is gone it may not make any difference but I think it's best to not expose tone wood to extreme temperatures.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. I think many craftsman were and are aware of classical geometry and had relatively simple ways to produce useful shapes.
  20. I agree. In fact I'll volunteer to try out the plans if they are available.
  21. Isn't there a small cello by Strad as well? I am remembering perhaps an inlaid instrument?