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About Ken_N

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  • Birthday 06/20/1955

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  • Location
    Goodrich, Michigan
  • Interests
    Violin making. Art (just got some oil paints, been doing water color). Driving the back roads. Music, especially orchestral and Christian rock.

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  1. I made a form the other day for the arch top guitar. I used a 2 X 10 X 4' piece of Fir(?) from Menards. Curly grain and insect holes. Looked very cool. It is collapsable. I don't think I'll glue the back on though, probably just the linings. I'd glue the back for sure if it wasn't a cutaway. My Chinese bending iron, that isn't even very good for violins after extensive filing, is even worse for bending guitar ribs. But it was tall enough for an archtop, so it worked. The blocks on the bottom raise it high enough to glue the blocks on at the right height, so there is room to put the linings on both sides.
  2. Ken_N


    I use quartersawn American sycamore. It looks cool, and the interlocking grain makes it nearly impossible to split! Get it wet, a hot iron, like John and Julian said, and usually they bend like butter. Sometimes it is more effort. But they don't snap. I broke a LOT of spruce ones and gave up on it, and some light weight, really cool looking rainbow yellow poplar too. I just go back to the sycamore. Who needs grief?
  3. That's funny. A finger patch is about the only repair I've done. (just splits and gum pockets) They're easy. The rest of it seems like a lot of work. I wouldn't worry about it, but what do I know? Always liked your name.
  4. Yes. It isn't just an offset arch. The center is offset, but the curve is wider on the bass side than the treble side. I never thought about how I was holding the chain, just about how it was getting to the points I wanted it to get to. I just tried it with the arches I drew. It works just as Marty said. He knows more about what I'm doing than I know. I am clueless. Ken
  5. Don, I'm not so sure that all of that is creep. I think that much of it was already there from the beginning. We know that Del Gesu was experimenting, just like Evan. What's wrong with having a tight stiff curve on the treble side, and a looser, more flexible curve on the bass side that could more easily drive the body? I start mine on the inside, and purposely set the inside off to the treble side. I tried to make it thicker there, and thinner on the bass side. Not much, but some. I don't think I went as thin as the poster, but I don't know about the edges because I do them after it is glued together. I didn't check the countour on the outside, but I just did, just above the outside f notch. It isn't as drastic as the poster, and no one noticed at the MVA meeting. At least they were kind enough not to call me a crazy lunatic to my face. I've been called worse.
  6. Holy moly! You have beautiful weather there. Nice tools. A man full of passion. Good to see.
  7. Ken_N


    There is this guy who does amazing pen and ink drawings on violins, cellos, and even the bridges. All freehand. I think that they look cool. I'm sure that they elevate the value of the purchased in the white instrument. Whether people play them or not, I don't know. But why not? I don't think that those drawings hurt the sound at all. Maybe he puts a clear coat on top. Even thin paint and gold leaf like done on baroque instruments shouldn't interfere with the sound. But the tradition of violins is to see the wood, through a decorative, colored, varnish. Even a so so violin done this way will have a great appeal to most than a highly whimsical work of art. Guitars have two styles; a very natural clear finish truly putting the wood on display, or painted with sunbursts, and that sort of thing. No one looks down on either method because they were both done pretty much from the start. Different strokes.
  8. Julian, I use my 1/2 round Iwasaki's a lot. Never thought of them for the channel. Wow. Do you have this guy?
  9. I rough with planes, and even they can do what you experienced. The old curly redwood arch top guitar belly seems like it is going to be particularly fun as far as tear out, and grain direction goes. My solution is that I finish everything with scrapers. I have them really sharp, with no burr. That diamond film works pretty good on the bench with the glass top. And once you start getting close, each stroke has to be deliberate, and planned. If you watch Davids videos you will see that is how he works. Everyone is different. At least I am! I use a wide, arched scraper there, and in the c bouts; a plane blade everywhere else. I like very thick scrapers that don't bend. I watch what direction I go in, and the angle needed to get the smaller curve of the dip. My cuts are almost all slanted, but going cross grain. Sometimes it even wants to cut uphill. You have to do what it tells you to do. It takes practice, and actually doing it, and thinking about what you're doing. Spell check is doing funny things today. Ken
  10. I saw one at the last MVA meeting. Held up really well with a Hargrave, and another that I can't think of the name of. I think I saw one in a shop in Bloomfield, or Birmingham back when I first started. The guy let me look around. They are quite distinctive; even to me; and I don't notice anything. Yesterday at work they told me to check a bore gauge because the operator over there had a tantrum and knocked it on the floor. They didn't want to go over to look. GROWN MEN! Anyway, I checked it, and the tip was loose. Turned it 90 degrees, checked it with the mic. Right on. Cool. Ran 4 parts, and didn't notice until I was resetting the gauge for the next job that one of the little wheel like things on the end was broken off! They hold the gauge square. The 4 were .025 or so big. Hey, the wheel that was broken was on the other side of the gauge from where I was setting it. Who woulda thunk.
  11. Evan, The Testore does it for me. What do you have on them?
  12. I have the Archtop back somewhat roughed out. It is the way I usually work. Get the inside concave arches, and the outside convex arches close to size; and the edges still thick; and the profile not defined exactly yet. Then I might do the neck, and get everything 3/4 done before doing the ribs. Then it goes fast. You can see the diagonal arches, and the centerline arch marked on the outside. The outside centerline arch is a 1100 mm radius. I think it looks cool, but it will look much better finished. The bigger arches are a lot of fun. Ken
  13. I love that it is YOURS. No doubt about it. Very cool. Everything about it shows that you are really thinking. Even the fittings. Very well done. MikeC is looking for cheap tone wood, and the belly looks like fairly well quartered pine found at a lumber yard. It has a nice rustic look to it. The grain really pops out. As Evan asked, I wonder what the woods are exactly. Is that Mahogany or Luan for the back and sides? Where did you get the wood? I'm guessing that you are hooked now? I ALWAYS have things I want to improve on. Congrats. Ken
  14. I'm no expert. But I have used Englemann, and I did make one out of .29 or so Englemann that is very easy to play. It has a humongous arch of about 20 mm. Yes, it rises very much on the ends, but that was carved in, because that is the way the poster had it. The back is very stiff, .68 or so flamed birch. I do the arches somewhat different now, but I would make that model out of Englemann. I wouldn't make it out of something stiffer.
  15. That's the weirdest looking back wood I've ever seen. Are those "flames" painted on with a 1/4" wide brush?