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About Ken_N

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  • Birthday 06/20/1955

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  • Gender
  • 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 glued the back on this morning. I cut it out on the line of using the little plastic bushing I made that fits on my mechanical pencil. It worked great on the belly. I know there were a couple spots that were close, because I roughed it too close, but there are several spots that are even closer than those were. Oh well. That's the way they will stay. Tapping the body it sounds like my bigger 425 viola than the 406 viola. The sound blowing on the f holes is the same as the 425 one too. It's at 207 Hz. and it really vibrates. I guess they call that the A0? I'm not that hip. Looking at that plate tuning site, I guess it is about a fourth or so lower than a violin. That should work. Cool. How did it get so low? Maybe the small skinny f holes? The ribs aren't deep: 35-33 mm. It's only 385 long. Hopefully it will sound like a viola with a E string that works.
  2. Ken_N

    Edi Malinaric

    Yes, prayers for Edi. A man of many experiences, and stories. I picture him in a 40 foot sailboat, in 30 foot swells. That will bring prayer. Get well Edi.
  3. I have the back ready to glue on now. It took about 18 hours total for it. A lot of time smoothing out scratches, and grain. That will leave less to do later. The edge is not done, but it shouldn't have a lot of stock on it; that tends to make purfling disappear. I've done that before. It is a little under 140 grams, and has a whole bunch of tones depending on where you hold, and tap it. 85, 130, 170, 200,218
  4. I've been working on a 5 string viola. Planned it around Helicore violin strings. I was wondering about what people like about 5 strings, found a good old link on maestronet, and someone said, be sure that the 5 string fits in a violin case. Well, I know it wouldn't fit in that, but I wondered about a viola case. My 16" one fits, the 16.5" one doesn't. This one is only 15" but it just barely fits in. It's chunky. It is very flat on the ends. I probably wouldn't use the design for a viola, but it is a 5 string. We'll have to wait to see how it sounds. I don't think that longer strings have much more string tension. Look at this link: The differences are far greater by switching A strings, than any differences in length, or type. 240 newtons is about 54 lbs. The Helicore 5 string set in medium is 61.3 lbs. Without the C it would be about 55 lbs. That's what I wrote down the other day, but I couldn't get to it today, D'addario's site isn't that user friendly. So a 5 sting is a different animal. Using Marty's nut to saddle measure, the big viola is 22 1/2" the other viola is 21 3/4" and the 5 string is only 20 1/4". Sorry, I have mixed units too, my largest metric scale only goes to 18 inches. (570, 550, 514 mm ) so the two are near to Marty's, but his have more of that off the wall feel! Just a little. They are very cool.
  5. Thomas, I've never heard of that before. I'll give it a try. I have 4 thumbnail chisels that I use for scroll carving and scrapers. I thought about making a longer handle as well. It has a copper? band at the top to work with a hammer, but if it cut freely, and had more leverage, it should give more control. I just looked on your thread, and saw your viol. It seems like the jigsaw sudokus that come up in my daily puzzle set. A 12 string guitar is one thing, but at least those strings don't go both over and under. Well done.
  6. I had a piece for the back rough sawn out. I started on the inside, and found that going crossgrain, and using the flea market gouge I bought couple years ago, and could never get comfortable with, it roughed the inside quickly. It needed a hammer, but the worked. I smoothed the other end with the Lie Nielson and flipped it around to get at the bottom end. I.5 hours. The outside needed a lot of planing. It was 27 mm thick, I'm going for 21-22 for roughing to finish at 20. I planed it down fairly flat, and then roughed a 900 mm radius on the long arch. Blended it down to about 7 mm at the edge, and it is ready to put the pin holes in, and cut the outline just about to size. I mark the line about 3.5 mm out, and saw on it, or at its edge, and file them even when the plates are both glued on. 2.5 hours with my big wooden convex hogging plane. It makes a ton of chips, and tires you out. At least it tires me out.
  7. I just made a belly last week; a wide 385 mm long 5 string viola that started as a 1/2 scale drawing of a Maggini Cello. I had no poster or arching templates. I documented it in the Makers forum: It ends up being a curate cycloid, or close to it. The purfling doesn't get put in until the plates are on the body, and the recurve is finished there by tapping.
  8. So I have the belly glued on now. The bass bar was fast and easy. 1 1/2 hours to cut and fit it. 1 1/2 hours to trim it down. Add in glue time, and a little extra, and it is 20 hours to make a belly and glue it on. And it still needs purfling and tuning. The tap tone before the bar was 90, 180, 280. After the bar it is 197/294. Very labor intensive. How long will it take to do a back?
  9. Hey Michael, I made up some wood ash water a week ago. I just used the ashes from my grill, Cowboy Charcoal. I filled a quart jar a little more than 1/2 full of ashes, and added water from the tap on the side of the house; not through the softener. Shook it up, and after it settled I boiled it in a pan for a few minutes. Then I poured it into a smaller jar. I have a white settlement on the bottom just like your chemical one. The water is clear like your chemical one. The bottom of the pan turned black. Weird. I guess it was an aluminum pan. I don't even think about chemistry, let alone KNOW any chemistry. I tried it on some scrap, and it darkened it somewhat in the sun. So I put it on my guitar, and it didn't seem to do anything. The European Sycamore was already in the Lightbox for a week with NO RESULTS at all. Yes, it was not quite white, but you could tell that only if you held a white piece next to it. I figured that it was just a lost cause, it was never going to color up. I wiped some on, and left it on the deck, or in the Lightbox. After a week, and several applications, it is now very different. I like the result. I don't think it does much of anything without the light. Maybe it is a weaker solution? Maybe chemically different?
  10. Self taught, even with books and internet is a very different thing from schooling. It isn't easy. But if you've made 4, then you have the passion for it. It is a lot of fun to make instruments, and I think that passion has to be there, or they will be sterile. They may be perfect and still be sterile. Those who like perfection may not think so. Welcome Kae.
  11. Monday I only worked on it a couple of hours, and then I started doing some math to see where the inflection points would be. I place points 35 mm apart, found the arch height, measured the width of the arch, and figured out where a curate cycloid would change from concave to convex. It turned out, with this VERY FLAT arch to be 75 to 88 degrees. This is it Tuesday morning. Well, I guess it's at the top! Yesterday, I worked on it for about 3 hours, just scraping it inside, and outside, bringing the whole thing, except the edges to about 3mm. I'll leave it at that, fit a bass bar to it, and glue it on the sides. It's 100 grams now, and pretty flexible. I thought the Sitka was heavy, but I measured a piece of the scrap yesterday, and it is only about .4 sg. Not bad for Sitka bear claw. It's based on a Maggini cello. I drew one up from a photo, 1/2 size, and it had a 325 scale length. I thought 5 string. So that's what it is. The arch is only a little over 15. I thought it was more, but I'm getting curling. That would be a violin barely 14, or a cello at 30. I plan on making the back with a higher arch. Many cellos are like that; maybe about 20 mm. That would be about 18 on a violin, and 40 on a cello. Cello arches are quite flat aren't they? So about 2 full days, 15 1/2 hours, to get a belly ready for a bass bar. Violins are very labor intensive.
  12. We were out a while today. but I got 3 hours on the belly. First I spent an hour, and got the pin holes and the cutout for the neck in. Then I could get the outline cut right. Then I marked out the f holes, cut them out, and started turning the rough shape into a shape that fits. The plan is to blend everything in so that it looks right. It should end up light, strong, and flexible. 9 1/2 hours so far. This part should be the most fun, but it might take more time than I think. We'll see.
  13. The guitar is getting sealer on it now, and trying to darken it in the lights, and outside. The back isn't doing anything. Maybe it is changing, and I don't notice. So I decided to finish up one that I am fixing. I'm sure you guys don't wreck stuff when it's almost done. I did a whammy on this one. Wrecked the purfling grooves on the belly, and then figured that the back would be easier. One of my low points of not knowing when to stop. So I pulled off the belly and made a new one. It was still sitting there and I wondered why I didn't put a bass bar in it, and glue it on. I figured I'd do that, and then remake the back, since I saw the stock sitting on the shelf. I checked the overhang thinking that maybe I messed that up. Overhang and purfling grooves get me even before varnish has a chance to get me. That's when I made up a little invention: a specialty washer. It fits my antique (well I've had it since I was at Lawrence Tech back in '74) pencil lead holder and works perfectly. 8 mm diameter plastic, and a 2 mm hole. It was smooth before the saw started walking down it. Maybe the surface roughness helps? The outline was fine. I checked the inside arch, and it seemed good, but it needed the recurve put in. Then I checked the thickness. It's too thin. NICE! Hadn't done that one before. So I decided to make a new belly. I sawed the billet in halve with my big Ryobi saw. The BIG one. Planed the saw cut flat. Joined the edge, and glued it. 3 hours. Not bad. So this morning I decide to rough it out. First, I marked out the inside. An hour later it was roughed out good enough. It's real close. Then I flipped it over and started roughing the outside. I like to get a lot of it roughed before I saw it out, and it is harder to hold. I mark the edge and the middle. I was going for 6 mm with the marking pin machine. The outside is always WAY thicker because it has SO MUCH stock. The machine only really works when it is closer. Two and a half hours later, and I had it sawn out, and about 6 mm plus thick. It does create a LOT of chips: Forgot the pictures of the roughed out belly. About a days worth of work. I'm retired now, and 6 1/2 hours is a very full day. I do lots of other things too. The other two were 105 and 110 grams. This is at 200 grams now. It is a 5 string viola with a violin string length. It should look VERY COOL when it is done. I'm not botching this one up.
  14. I'm guessing that Michael uses.... gasp... chemicals. The horror of it all! I've done great looking grounds and still managed to mess the varnish job up! Don't know if chemicals would help. Maybe being retired now I can be less spur of the moment, and more disciplined in my varnishing. I did find that my tap water makes left over hide glue turn to water in a few days. Yes, the creek behind my house flows into the Flint river. So I'm learning something. Yes I did buy a bottle of distilled water for glue, but I still drink it from the tap for tea. It doesn't work well in the Keurig; we use bottled spring water for that. Michael, the finish on the scroll is quite nice.