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Stephen Churchill

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Everything posted by Stephen Churchill

  1. Theoretically, if you're making a printed label or a printed form, a laser printers "ink" (aka toner). Toner is carbon mixed with a polymer (styrene acrylate copolymer, a polyester resin, a styrene butadiene copolymer, or a few other special polymers - Wikipedia). The last printer melts it to the paper. Should last a long, long, time.
  2. From Johnson & Courtnall, here is the list of basic tools: Some of the common woodworking tools needed are as follows: Workbench Woodworking vice (I used this one clamped to benches, coffee tables, and parts of hotels for my first instrument, I liked the jaws with wood to prevent marring) Tenon or dovetail saw (any fine saw pull saw) Coping saw (less necessary if you choose to use a scroll saw) Fretsaw Smoothing plane (less necessary) Jointer plane (less necessary) Block plane (crucial) Chisels (just a few are all that's needed) Files (regular sized and fine files are needed) Rasps (less necessary) Oil or water stones (a single 1200 grit Diamond (used with water) will be sufficient) Slip stones (can improvise with leather and honing component over wood) Honing guide (crucial) Hand drill and bits (make sure your bits are brad point regardless of whether you use hand or electric drills / a pin vise wilt bits is useful for putting the holes for strings in pegs) Steel rule Straightedge Square (woodworker's) - maybe a T-Square for layout, french curves are also useful in places Square (engineer's) Adjustable bevel Marking gauge 'C' clamps (assorted sizes) Rules Scriber Dividers The specialized tools are: Electric bending iron and strap (some people try to fab these out of steel pipe and a propane torch) Thicknessing caliper (you can make one of these with a gage and your own wooden form) Vernier caliper Purfling marker (bought or fabricated) Purfling pick (bought or fabricated) Long-reach clamps (bought or fabricated) Gouges (Pfeil or two cherries/Hirsch) Spool clamps (bought or fabricated) Thumb planes 'F' hole cutters Scrapers (assorted shapes) and burnisher Peg-hole reamer Peg shaper (bought or fabricated) Knives Soundpost setter Machine tools (you don't need any but the most handy will be a scroll saw and a drill press) You'll end up making jigs and tools of other sorts as you go.
  3. Hi BigFryGuy, On the lower mainland (that's the populated part of SW BC) we have the Violin Makers Association of BC. The club has a long history (back to 1957). Currently membership is down from what it was in the 80's but we have some active members. Most of our members are self-taught. The club has resources such as books, basic patterns, and endless amounts of advice. Please contact me for further details. The club meets monthly in Vancouver (about 1.5 hours from Whistler) and the website is here, only recently put up. My advice is to learn from someone who knows what they are doing. I worked with an established luthier over the period of year to make my first instrument, it saved me years of trial and error and imparted an eye for precision and quality. Decide if you want to be a hand-crafter, or 'power-carver'. Follow a good book like Johnson & Courtnall's "The Art of Violin Making" (hand-crafter style), but its almost impossible to substitute books and videos for someone who can show you and give you feedback in the moment. Thanks Stephen
  4. What material did you use for the dots and lozenges? I am planning to try this (in the probably distant future) and was wondering if mother of pearl or Tagua Nuts (aka vegetable ivory) would work. Mother of pearl might be too hard.
  5. Also interesting is the source of the patterns. The pattern for Strad's "Greffulhle" 1709 is clearly printed the 1567 "La vera Perfettione del disegno di varie sorti di ricami" as pointed out by Mr. Pollen's on page 274 in his latest book. The title translates to (according to Google) "The true perfection of the design of various sorts of embroidery". Can the mastic stand bending, or was it carved, then bent and filled? Cheers Stephen
  6. Great pictures, If its ok James, I'll include these pictures in my entry for NMM here. For anyone interested the museum list is discussed in this thread. Thanks Stephen
  7. Hi Omobono, Thanks for the link, yes I'd like to get more museums from all over the world. There's no doubt you're in luck if you live in Europe but what about the rest of us I'll add this entry shortly. Thanks Stephen
  8. Thanks Dwight, I'll add that. Henry Ford's estate has quite a selection of impressive instruments, unfortunately it appears most are not on display. One is actually on-loan to Cremona!
  9. thanks for the latest additions. Omobono: I've added Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella, Naples Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional, Lisbon The The Palace of The Legion of Honor, still lists the Heifetz del Gesu as 'not displayed', but I included the instrument link you provided in the description. The MET entry is now updated with BassClef's pictures here: http://stephenchurchill.ca/resources/1142-2/the-metropolitan-museum-of-art/
  10. Thanks Omobono, I'll add that one shortly. BassClef, If you don't mind I'll put your pictures on my Met page, with attribution of course. Thanks! Stephen
  11. Hi Roger, The 4 1/2 stars is a general google rating of the Ashmolean. Its seems on the map it get put underneath the Bates collection, though its higher in my listing. I'll try to fix that. I haven't approached the Strad, I hadn't considered that. I'll see if I can find contact information on their webpage. Thanks!
  12. Hi Omobono, I've included these if you click on the museum links on the page. Where I could find information on the displays. Helping to verify this, especially in smaller museums. thanks!
  13. Hi Michael, can you elaborate on TOBI? I haven't heard of that before. Thanks Stephen
  14. Hi BassClef, You raise a good point. There are many collections that could be tracked as well. CIMCIM includes (CIMCIM International Directory of Musical Instrument Collections) includes collections, but given that access to the public is limited I haven't planned to include collections in the list, for now. If the collection remains on display, at least most of the time, I will include it. thanks!
  15. Thanks for the comments and inputs! I agree much more research can be invested here. There are three criteria that come to mind: A ) 'Fame' - Famous instruments/Instruments from famous makers. B ) 'Historical Significant' - Instruments which are famous for other reasons. C ) Size of the collection - Large collections of instruments. Also I have focused on violins, with some coverage of violas and cellos. Based on this I made a single 5-star ranking: Ratings: ***** – Must see! Multiple famous violins, usually with a large collection. **** – Very interesting, some famous violins, typically with a moderately sized collection. *** – Interesting, some historically significant instruments or a large collection ** – Less interesting, often region specific * – Limited interest, small collection of stringed instruments (dozens), no specifically ‘famous’ instruments. The links on the page open up detailed descriptions of the museums, and I've included a description of how many relevant instruments are there and what famous ones are there if I could find it. I think we should include caveats if there are dubious assignments -- this is where input from more experienced members would be invaluable. The goals of this list is to inform people of where they can see: a ) where they can see exemplar instruments b ) expand understanding of violin making history, including expanding people's understanding beyond the cult of Stradivari c ) help people find museums they can visit both in their region (including small displays), and if they travel abroad. I will add: - Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery - Czech Museum in Prague - Academia Santa Cecilia: - Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali - The Markneukirchen museum Roger: Thanks for your input! The Ashmolean is included in the map, perhaps i have the location incorrect, I'll reconfirm. Please send more suggestions and inputs!
  16. Hi All, I've been working on compiling a list of museums with significant collections. I've created a google map for easy geographical reference. I'm looking for input on the displays, if I've missed any significant ones, and for pictures if anyone can contribute (referenced of course). The list is here. Cheers Stephen (I hope the link works)
  17. Hi, I'm touching up a friends 1/8 Suzuki (1974) for his daughter. I'm just putting in a new soundpost. I've never put in a 1/8 before. Any suggestions? going from the bass f-hole instead of treble? should I get a smaller post setter? Thanks Stephen
  18. Sure, I built the first as my first instrument - its rough. I actually took the parts out of another electric. It has a built in pre-amp and the volume controls are on the side. The pickup is a pizo-electric pad under the bridge. I have seen some with a volume adjustment on the jack like this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/shadow-sh-940-violin-bridge-with-built-in-pickup/300147000000000 or on the tailpiece: http://www.barberatransducers.com/violinpickups.html (bottom of page). Stephen
  19. Hi Dick, I'm making my second. Not out of passion, but practicality (portable & near silent). I'm not aware of any books. You can get the concept idea from looking at available ones. My lessons from the first one are: 1. make it light (solid bodies are nice on electric guitars, but those guys have a strap). 2. if you play with a should rest, make sure there is somewhere to put one on. You often see a u-shape at the bottom where the lower bouts would be. In both of mine I used a standard neck and finger board. The principal of an electric instrument is a solid mass which the stings vibrate against. The more solid the longer they will vibrate. I left a spot for a the clamp-on jack so that I can put on a standard violin pick-up bridge. I guess one deep question would be can you accurately reproduce the tonal qualities of a acoustical violin in an electric. That's certainly not what I'm attempting here. My first electric was my first instrument a solid hunk of birch. It actually plays well and has a decent round tone. I expect this one to be better, as there is more opportunity for the maple to resonate due to the structure. Its also way lighter. I'm not that familiar with amplifying, I'd love to hear people's experience with the pick-up bridges, etc out there. Not done yet, but here are a couple pictures. In this case I'm -attempting- to make it a break-down electric, the neck,partial upper bout, and lower-bout/shoulder rest support come off. I'll name it the EMP: extreme modern pochette
  20. Its a complex topic. As discussed in other threads here, the violin making industry operates much like an art market. Hence, very competitive and certainly not logically My brother tried entering the art photography market many years ago. In that area the world was divided into commercial photographers and 'art' photographers. Your success depended allot on who you knew and their opinion of your work. If you had the acceptance of the elites, you were an instant success, if not, you toiled in obscurity. Maybe there are some parallels with making violins. In the end, you have to do this because you love it. On the topic of secrets, Sacconi was referring to the ancient 'lost secrets' of the 'great' makers and specifically Strad. This is a little different then modern trade secrets. This is based on the belief that if you can recreate Strad's workshop and his processes you too will make Strad quality violins... Its probably more likely that Strad make the best violins he could with what was available to him at the time, and that any ancient secrets were ones created in myth by historians. If you read Sacconi you'll find that he believes there are no secrets, just a man who had a great eye, a great skill and a passion. This is why Sacconi put 'secrets' in parentheses. Modern makers no doubt have their own 'secrets' but I think this partly experience and mostly finding the ways of doing thinks that work for you. Forums like Maestronet are great for breaking down some of the barriers in sharing knowledge. Personally I believe that there are few true 'secrets' out there. As a violin maker you have to find the ways of making that work for you, perfect them and make the best violins you can. Then everyone will wonder what your secret is Stephen
  21. I like the idea of consistant heat. I'm perplexed why we don't seem anyone coming out with PID temperature controlled units. I ended up having to rebuild my own.
  22. One version has a bluetooth connection, it'd make graduation measurements a whole lot easier!
  23. Wenge is a nice african hardwood. It's not as dense as ebony, but has a nice grain structure. Its very consistant in grain lines and color tone (almost too much!). It splinters easily but is not toooo difficult to work. However, the grain texture is much wider then ebony and some nicks and gouges naturally appear in the wood. I don't plan to fill the grain, I do not expect this to affect the playability of the finished instrument. For this electric I may make a matching tailpiece and/or chinrest. info and picture of the grain: http://www.sykestimber.co.uk/timber/wenge.html
  24. Thanks guys, I've used CA glue finished before (on some wood turning projects), including on Ebony. It takes a great shine if you like, with a buffing wheel. But its effectively a plastic finish and prone to scratching over time. I'm pretty senstiive to the fumes and try to avoid it these days. I thought of mineral oil, but given Jeffrey Holmes post I think I'll avoid that. If only for glueability contamination. I'm not looking for a shiny surface, just grain wetting. I think I'l try a couple coats of thinned drying oil. I have tung oil and like the product, but I think I'll just try some stand oil mixed with naptha. Thanks Stephen
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