Joel Pautz

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  1. On page 119 of Stradivari, Stewart Pollens writes: We tend to think of the work of Stradivari as the pinnacle of violin making, yet Count Cozio di Salabue sent new instruments that he had bought from Paolo, the merchant son of Antonio Stradivari, directly to the Mantegazza brothers in Milan to have them "thinned to perfection" and re-necked to suit the prevailing tonal aesthetic. His source is listed as Cozio di Salabue's Carteggio, pg. 420. So I guess it might be asked if it was really Stradivari's graduations which were imposed upon Del Gesu's work, or was it rather Count Cozio's?
  2. I'm only just now returning to this thread and noticed that a particular point in this quoted post was not challenged by anyone, and I'm pretty sure that is against the maestronet bylaws somewhere . . . anyway, again, sorry I'm late and the topic is already dead, but here I go - I'd recommend against scraping the hair, even lightly, even with a wood or plastic edge, because I imagine it will wear down the microscopic plates that the rosin adheres to on the strands of hair. If Shellac is peeled / flaked / whatever, I also suppose that it might pull some of these plates off in the process, again, leaving section of cuticle worn smooth. As long as the scraper isn't making contact with the stick I don't think it likely that a competent person would damage their bow this way though, so feel free to try it if you like. It seems like a part of the maestronet community is pretty familiar with washing bow hair, and I hope some of you can take a stab at answering some questions I have because apparently I've been missing out: - Do you regard washing bow hair as regular maintenance, or is it simply a tool reserved for unscheduled accidents? - I recommend to my customers that they consider getting a bow rehair every 6 months to a year, depending on their playing habits. If I were able to wash hair competently, to what extent should I be able to increase the longevity of their bow hair? Do you find that more washing = greater longevity? - What limits would you recommend regarding the frequency of washing bow hair? Only once per rehair? No limits, and as often as the client is willing? - How dramatic of an improvement do you find is gained by washing hair? (like new, very good, good, poor, very bad). Good to like new? Good to very good? Poor to poor (because at that point the hair is not likely to be able to be redeemed)? - Do you alter your materials or process based upon the type of rosin used? - Is washing bow hair a skill that must be practiced to become adept, or did you find it to be fairly simple to learn? Does your current process differ much from the way you were first taught? - What would you estimate to be the going rate / price for this service? Thanks, Joel
  3. As you can probably tell, cleaning bow hair and getting good results isn't so simple and probably is even more difficult if it isn't a skill you've practiced before. When I asked my bowmaking mentor about 'cleaning' / 'washing' bow hair, he said don't bother - after all, bow hair only has a limited lifespan before it is worn down by the instrument's strings. Instead of trying to prolong the life of the rehair with mixed results, just get a fresh rehair. However, this is just what I was told - my only attempt to 'wash' hair with alcohol didn't damage the finish thank goodness, but it did cause the rosin to fuse the hairs together. I'll never do it again, but perhaps others can guarantee better results.
  4. I've joined only a few cello tops and backs, first just by doing a simple rub joint (no clamps used), and then trying out a clamping method that I believe was shared by David Burgess (if my memory serves me well?): Basically, by staying outside of your marked out outline you can cut oversized 'button' extensions on both sides of the center joint, which can be clamped with smaller sized clamps. To clamp the center of the plates, glue short but wide tower cleats on either side of the seam - tall enough that the clamp can grab on to it, but short enough to discourage the joint from pivoting and opening up the non clamped side. I made mine pretty wide to maximize the glue surface area holding the cleat because I was paranoid the clamp might rip it off and cause a large chip out. Its been awhile, but I think I only glued these tower cleats to the inside of the plate because I was concerned about 'glue ghosts' showing up when I varnished - but I'm certain I did multiple checks to ensure the plates didn't pivot towards the clamp when pressure was applied. For joining cello plates I feel it's necessary that I size the joint / pre coat with hide glue for some reason (never do this on my violins and violas). I make my last couple passes with my plane after the surface has dried, just in case the moisture has distorted the surface and compromised the joint. Anyone else do this? Finally, if you are going to follow Mr. Darton's method for any center joint, I'm sure he'll tell you to do your best to ensure that the plate half you have clamped in the vise is true, and not distorted in some way - or, if it is irreparably warped, clamp it once and fit and glue the joint without moving it ever again. One of my first center joints in school would flex every time I clamped the plate in the vise, causing the joint to distort every time the plate half was released and returned to its relaxed position - it really messed with my head as a novice . Oh, and I second reading Mr. Slobodkin's posts (on all matters really, but especially concerning cellos) - I don't think he is kidding when he says hundreds made.
  5. Had a cello in at work today that has obviously had an extensive repair history (the cello is new to me). While fitting a new soundpost for it I noticed these butterfly joints along the back center seam. They fit so well that at first I wasn't sure if they were some type of 'faux' joint, and possibly only colored in. After a closer look I do think that they are ebony inserts, spaced about 10 to 13 cm apart (going from memory after a long day . . .), with linen supporting the seam in between the inserts, as illustrated in the attached photos. The cello is already out of the shop and safely back home, and there aren't any further pics to aid in identifying the source of this building method. I'll just say that the instrument looks to have been built without an internal mold, and that the rib mitres are flush with the termination of the corners. Honestly, I didn't have a lot of time to look it over. The scroll is definitely peculiar, more suited to a gamba than a cello in style to my eye: very long pegbox profile which could easily accommodate a couple of more pegs, width narrowing greatly towards the 'D' peg in both dimensions (side profile and pegbox width), and has a bar inserted above the 'A' peg to bridge the 'G' and 'D' strings over the lower pegs. I believe it is grafted onto the current neck, but that neck has also been extended at the heel , similar to the way a baroque neck would be. Thanks, Joel
  6. At my last job I had responsibilities beyond my workbench and I took advantage of the opportunity to make the shop as environmentally friendly as I could. I never placed orders, but accepted many shipments - most of the plastic film can be disposed of at a local grocery (seriously, it's a lot more than most people are aware of!) https://www.greensourcedfw.org/articles/variety-plastic-bags-accepted-grocery-store-recycling-bins Styrofoam peanuts and other packing material I dropped off at a local UPS to be reused, and they were always grateful and never acted like I was a nuisance. Cardboard was broken down, but an acquaintance of mine (reached through social media) ended up grabbing a bunch of the plastic pallets for a gardening project. It took a little extra effort, but the only time I really questioned why I was doing it was when I dropped a box of the packing peanuts in the parking lot outside of UPS and had to chase them down as they were taken away by a breeze!
  7. A lot of examples and expertise concerning historical saddles in this thread:
  8. Joel Pautz

    Ribs height

    To respond to the OP, tapering rib height at the upper block is a common historical practice that is considered the norm today. I'd consider the lack of tapering rib height a more consequential trait than its presence. Just to add to the general confusion considering their motives for adopting the practice, I think it's worth not forgetting that they were also making viols, which have an even more pronounced upper bout taper / break. https://shop.ashmolean.org/2-bass-viol-by-gasparo-da-salo.html https://shop.ashmolean.org/7-bass-viol-by-a-h-amati.html http://collections.nmmusd.org/Cellos/Stradivari/10845StradCelloViol.html https://collectionsdumusee.philharmoniedeparis.fr/doc/MUSEE/0162221 (Storioni Viola D'amore is supposedly a fairly accurate copy of an original Strad - although the original may have had only 6 strings). P.S. can't wait until the Ashmolean uploads images of its collections online . . .
  9. This covers most of what I know about Bergonzi's models. It seems like he adopted Strad's 353ish mm body length, but used a longer neck so as to keep the Strad long form stop length? The turns drop down dramatically causing the scroll eyes to seemingly extend further out. Viewed from the back the 2nd turn off the scroll should be only slightly visible / peeking out just beyond the width of the back of the pegbox. His pegbox outlines very between being a bit bulkier below the A peg, or at other time slimmer / sleeker. His upper and bottom block pins don't get bisected by the purfling like Strad's - they are further inside and off the center line. I highly recommend adding this book to your library - it's an excellent resource and well worth the extremely reasonable price: https://tarisio.com/bookshop/cremona-1730-1750-nellolimpo-della-liuteria/ If I was single out unrefined aspects of Carlo Bergonzi's work, I'd go with his purfling, not his scrolls.
  10. This is the first I hear of a Stradivarius dated 1664 (https://www.nipponviolin.com/en/instrument/violin/). Dilworth writes in Tarisio's Carteggio The Young Stradivari Part 2 "Charles Beare says in the Ashmolean catalog that a twin to the ‘Serdet’ exists, lacking the label and its original top. It may be that this was the other ‘Alumnus’ labeled violin of 1665 mentioned by Count Cozio". Although other instruments dated circa 1666 are mentioned in the article, this is the only reference to an instrument predating 1666. I'm away from all of my books at the moment, but I don't recall any of them attributing a pre 1666 date to a Stradivarius. If unable to comment upon pre 1666 stradivari instruments, feel free to just turn this into a general thread about early stradivarius instruments. Thanks, Joel
  11. One of my flaws in character is I find it hard to ignore a train wreck . . . Measurements are useless when you have no idea what you are measuring. Your scale is measuring the strength of earth's gravitational pull upon your violin. Tensioning the strings in and of itself does not increase the instruments mass, or change earth's gravitational pull, therefore the instruments weight remains the same. In order to test your hypothesis that a scale is an appropriate tool to detect any downward movement of the soundpost or back resulting from string tension, I suggest you simply flip your violin face down and place it on your scale while it is under no string tension, and again while under string tension. If your understanding of physics holds up, the scale should be able to detect your suggestion that there is upward (but flipped over to downward) movement of the upper and lower blocks. When your scale inevitably continues to simply measure the weight of your instrument, despite any tension it is subjected to, you may take a stab at another hypothesis, or you might try to learn some physics. http://minim.ac.uk/index.php/explore/?instrument=31669 This viol has a flat back with the exception of the large distorted area directly under the soundpost. If string tension does not apply pressure to the back of the instrument, I'm curious as to why this distorted area is under the soundpost and not somewhere else?
  12. Lol, good for you for listening to your dentist. Should you ever need to do a rehair when your wife isn't around, when I travel I simply clamp the thread spool to the table top - the spool no longer turns, and I have plenty of tension to pull my knots tight (more than enough to snap the thread as well). At my rehair bench I have a fixture anchored to my bench leg, a threaded bolt passes through the spool, and the spool is clamped with a washer followed by a wingnut. Again, the spool is fixed, and the fixture allows me to unwind uninhibited on one side.
  13. Pick a method and break it down into steps. Study each step and figure out how it prepares for the next step / contributes to the end result. If you try to make a bow rehair orderly at the end of the process, it's way too late - it needs to start neat, and each step should either prevent it from getting disorganized again, and/ or make it even neater than the previous step. When you know what each step has to accomplish it's a lot easier to prevent accumulating errors from step to step. Familiarity with the entire process allows you to 'flow' through the steps - a lot of errors can happen when transitioning from step to step. Finally, don't be afraid to adapt the method to your own needs, and add steps here or there to keep things orderly during the process. While the idea is basically the same, I seriously doubt any two bow rehairers perform the same nuanced actions at the same exact step with the same flow. My instructor adapted his method from the way he was taught, and I've done the same. This will happen naturally if you are determined to learn from your mistakes by identifying the error and trying out solutions.
  14. "L'Archet Revolutionnaire" has been an invaluable resource for me regarding this period of bow making. There are two volumes, and both were very affordably priced when I bought them from the Tarisio bookshop some time ago. I remembered doubting the scale of the photographs, but before I posted here I double checked photos in the books vs measurements I have of the very same bows. First 3 matched up fine, the 4th was scaled smaller than life size according to the measurements I have, and I stopped there. Putting out these catalogs after an exhibition is a huge effort, and my point is that it doesn't hurt to double check before you just presume they were able to catch all of the errors. As for the opening posts bow, better photos would be helpful if possible. To me it seems to be on the heavier end and for that reason (of the two choices) I'm leaning towards it being a viola bow. That being said, weights really were all over the place (I've seen an early F.X. Tourte cello bow weigh in at 50 grams with hair. On the other hand, later on Dodd was making cello bows that roughly match this length vs weight.) Can't say much about the frog without a better picture. I wouldn't be surprised if it was replaced at the same time that the button was though. Frog heights for the different types of bows varied widely, and cutaway heels usually correspond with the taller frogs used for each type of bow.
  15. Borisravel, bienvenue a Maestronet :)! I want to caution you not to spend all of your money when you buy your violin - some should be saved for the adjustments it will almost certainly need! Sometimes the adjustments are minor - changing the string heights and string spacing at the nut and bridge for example. Sometimes more work is needed - its not uncommon for the bridge provided to be weak garbage, requiring a new one carved from scratch. Many of the members here have lots of experience working on these instruments, and I'm certain they all have a check list of tasks they know are needed before the instrument ever is seen by a customer. Buying over the internet eliminates the middle man, but since the middle man is responsible for the set-up, you will probably have to see him (or her) sooner or later anyway. It's impossible to tell how much work will be needed just from photos. Dealers who are familiar with the supplier would have an idea of what would be necessary though. In my experience, in the U.S. you should expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $600 (Depending on how much work is needed) to perform these tasks that are standard practice in specialized violin shops. Joel