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nathan slobodkin

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Everything posted by nathan slobodkin

  1. Peter, Cutting the top of the mortise in the shape of the letter M then removing the center part makes the job faster and much cleaner. You can start this just above your highest drill or gouge hole and just keep moving it up under the chin as far as you want. I also will often use a mortise chisel with a rounded bevel as D. Sora described to under cut the top of the peg box leaving more room for putting on the A string while keeping more wood on the sides of the pegbox to avoid weakening it.
  2. True enough. Also lets not forget that he was a great business man and self promoter and that the 100 or so best ones carry on their shoulders the other 400 which are cranky bitches kept performing well by scores of the most talented luthiers and musicians in the world.
  3. Thanks Michael. I didn't see how old this thread was when I asked Josh. I also use the hurdy gurdy method but feel there should be a more elegant way to do this and it is a very common problem here on the coast of Maine. The end pin rod loose inside the cello sounds moderately amusing but I have been able to fish them out through the FF with little problem. I have been thinking about making some kind of slide hammer which would work with the rod removed or possibly something like a gear puller which could grab under the lip of the socket. Meanwhile I generally wax the sockets when installing end pin units.
  4. Josh, Why do you say it won't damage the end pin? I would think it quite possible to crush the socket entirely. Did you shape the jaws for the purpose? Thanks
  5. Don't buy the child the instrument she wants, buy the instrument she needs. An eleven year old child is very unlikely to have developed the musical taste she will develop later and the instrument that she prefers now may not be the best instrument for her as an adult. The most important factors now are that the instrument have normal measurements and be set up to strict standards. Otherwise she may develop habits which limit her instrument choices later. Obviously the instrument must be capable of achieving an acceptable tone and volume using her current skills but hopefully will have even more to offer as her skills improve. A child and also the child's parents are seldom able to judge condition, origin or future suitability of a violin and trying every violin one can find will often result in passing up some nice instruments until they become so tired of the process that they buy the next instrument they see. Knowledgeable and honest dealers ( yes, I know.....) and a teacher who is working as a buyers' consultant rather than as a sales person for the dealer can be very helpful in presenting a manageable number of suitable instruments creating a situation where there are really no bad choices. The issue of under the table kickbacks from dealers to teachers is very common and very bad for the students. I have advocated for years to try and shift the paradigm from one where the teacher pretends to be working for the student out of love to one where the buyer hires the teacher as a consultant leaving the teacher free to do their best to help the student with no conflicts of interest and being paid a fair wage commensurate with their expertise. That leaves the dealer to charge a fair and competitive price which hopefully will hold up should the instrument need to be sold or traded later.
  6. Yeah, instruments do tend to develop problems when not being played. Instruments which are being tuned daily have a chance to relax and move around a little and can adjust to stresses like changing humidity better than instruments which are not played also players notice any changes pretty quickly and hopefully get any loose seams or changing string heights attended to before they become larger problems. David, Do you have any numbers on relative tensions between normal pitch and dropped a fifth? I think I would advise dropping just a couple of notes down although I think playing on a regular basis would still prevent a lot of problems.
  7. Yeah, he spanned the transition period and started making at least some violin family instruments towards the end of his working life. I had a cello by him in the shop a year or so ago but not in the condition of this instrument.
  8. Jezzupe, Sounds interesting and if I ever get truly desperate I may try it. I would certainly worry about varnish damage under the edges. I guess ultimately we all have to find what works for us. The situation I was dealing with with this cello was extremely unusual given the ridiculously strong glue and the need to separate the neck block area perfectly clean while not opening the lower bouts. Ultimately It came apart with way more force than I was comfortable with applied to the corner of the block to get it started and then a second knife inserted between the first knife and the block and tapped in a 1/4 mm at a time with a small hammer. Then a small amount of alcohol applied with a fine needled syringe followed by waiting several minutes before moving the knives forward another 1/4 mm.. The whole thing was a pain in the butt and while it did eventually separate completely clean I consider myself lucky that it did.
  9. Please elaborate about the hot knife technique. I have seen that done in guitar shops when dealing with white or yellow glues but don’t know how it would be applied to violin family instruments.
  10. Glad to see people are paying attention to not gluing tops on too tight but that doesn't address the issue of what to do when they are.
  11. Nor when only loosening the upper block and bouts. I may flatten the end of a 3/8 drill rod into a thin blade although whether it would be stiff enough to work with I don't know. Also suspect it would be heavy enough to do some serious damage if it was to slip. Fortunately one seldom encounters this sort of problem but for a while I really wondered if this was going to come loose at all.
  12. Steve, Don’t know if you still monitor the board but frankly sounds like you have better tricks and tools than anyone who answered you. I just spent hours loosening the top of a cello (not one of mine!) to prepare for raising the projection using every tool and technique I could think of. This is actually harder than taking the top all the way off because there is no way to replace any splinters before regluing. Top was glued with way too strong glue and had never been removed before. An absolute nightmare which as I said took many hours rather than the 15 minutes I had allowed for. Questions for you or anyone else who cares to chime in. What kind of “long thin chisel for tapping loose blocks from the inside”? I was wishing for something I could fit through the end pin hole which could have at least started the plate loosening from the block. How did you thin down your linoleum knife to a real wedge without cooking the temper? Sounds like a useful tool although probably would not have really solved this nightmare. Anyone who has any new thoughts on this please share them and for Pete’s sake people remember the poor repairman when gluing on tops!
  13. Unless your jeweler is smarter that the ones around my area I would take the ring off first rather than giving him the bow. Also make sure they file and hand polish the repair rather than using an electric buffing wheel which is likely to soften the corners of the facets.
  14. Why 1921? Trade labeling laws were in effect several decades before that. I was just trying to look up the relevant laws, stamps etc. last week and they are a bit confusing.
  15. Yes, unfluted, single fluted or partially fluted scroll backs can be very cool and provide an outlet for creativity often lacking in violin making.
  16. Jacob, I have been hoping one of the more experienced set up guys would respond to this but I guess I will have to stick my neck out. While certainly true that higher arches can often support a higher vertical load I am not so sure that more pressure is always necessary to drive them. Some arches act stronger/stiffer as the tension goes up. I think the shape of the arch, the strength of the wood itself and the graduation of the plates also enters into this making it indeed more complicated than you say. Perhaps Don Noon might comment on this. I also remember a conversation years ago with David Burgess about the stiffening effects of vertical loading and he may have something to add. My recollection of what was done at Francais was that higher arched instruments were at least sometimes set up with lower pitch and or higher apuis to keep string angle from getting too acute.
  17. Your assumption that 18th century violin makers were educated in other fields is false. Many were illiterate or close to it.
  18. Somebody who carved these things for a living would have it down to the same number of cuts with the same tools and the uniformity of even handmade ones would be very close. My grandfather did sculptures in a variety of sizes which look identical except for some being twice or even 10 times the size of others.
  19. Karen Rost in Germany has whatever you need but pretty much any violin supply outfit will have something.
  20. Long discussion about this some years ago. Reamers which cut in the same direction as the spiral are very dangerous. I have some which spiral left and cut to the right. They are fast and reasonably accurate but a straight reamer with more than 180 degrees of the circumfrence left uncut are better for adjusting the alignment of the hole and for finishing.
  21. Blank what time period would have markneukiirchen violins using outside molds
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