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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. Well I cut the angle ground on my scrapers in half. They were are 25 degrees, now they are at 12-13 degrees. They are very nice to use now. I have the 5 string ready to go into the Lightbox now. Hah, when I put some ash water on it to get the color going, I see that there are lots of gouge marks on the treble side edge above the f holes. I didn't see, or feel that before. I guess I'll get that fixed first. I can't say I'm copying a model. It's my own model.
  2. Tom, My scrapers are at about 25 degrees. I took the smallest straight one yesterday and ground it back to 12-13 degrees. It gets very sharp like that. It worked great. You can even lay it flat like a plane and shave off the hair that the scraper left before. So I did the rounded one that is an old Craftsman blade. It is very hard steel that was a pain to get sharp. Not any more. Totally transformed them. The 5X lens is a big help too. You would think that 3X progressives would help some.
  3. The big E is in the building. Cool. All the links in one spot. A great idea to archive it here. Always stunning work. Ken
  4. It seems that I experienced something weird. One night a couple pieces of wood that I had to make bridges fell off the shelving unit and black goop was oozing out of them; a bag of potatoes went bad; a fingerboard fell off a violin ( I had to scrape the neck to get the bow out of it); and the guitar I'm making acquired a dimple on the treble side of the back where the grain is really close to center (its a slab). I didn't notice the violas then. I had been getting the guitar wet with ash water, and cherry wood water too, because the Euro Sycamore, (maple) wasn't getting any color. Then it would spend all day in the Lightbox. No top on it, because the garbage can is too small. I did it about 6 times, and then kept it in for a few more days. There were no changes in the arching during this time. Yes, it is weird. I do like the idea of the spline though. It would help with humidity problems. I thought of using carbon fiber for the guitar, but they are big on truss rods. With a Birdseye maple, and Padauk neck, it should be pretty strong. A three piece maple neck with an ebony center might not sit too well with violin buyers. But it would easily accomplish almost the same thing. It would be weightier though. But you don't have to make that pesky groove. I don't have a table saw, or a router. I do put an angle on my scrapers. I use big plane blades. The last couple of days I used a single edge, and a double edge razor blade on the viola I'm finishing up. Scraping gets things smooth, but the razors seem to really get it crisp looking. I guess that's what I'm looking for. The cherry has more pores than I see in maple; I haven't tried the razor blades on the spruce yet. Maybe I need to cut my angle back on the planes to something really radical like 10-15 degrees to get them sharper? And buy some more razor blades, so I don't have to keep honing these old beaters. Rubbing them on a stone, and then once lightly on a carbide bar makes them really cut nice. The single edge one is nice. The thick top edge can be bent to create a curve. I just found that out last night. I don't know where to find a single edge razor blade that is a Gillette, or some other shaving blade, like the one I have, and not some Chinese junk for a paint scraper in a package of 50 for $1.97. Sorry, kind of long. I don't work in text speak.
  5. You have such clean work. I can scrape things for days, and not get that clean. Even your saw cut is clean! Amazing. The neck idea is cool. I had one that popped the fingerboard off from bending. I was just thinking about that idea.
  6. Don, I use the Szynalski online tone generator. I just checked it again. 250 is WAY too high. It really bounces around at 204 or so. I don't know why. The 16.5" viola I lowered the bridge on the other day is 204 as well. A del Gesu model I strung up yesterday, after re doing the varnish is about 264. Hah! The high arched 16" viola is 204 as well. I guess I'm an anomaly.
  7. There has to be far more involved in the A0 note. That is the sound you get humming into the F hole, isn't it? I haven't kept track of that. The 385 mm long, fat (we'll call it big boned) 5 string viola that I'm making just happened to be upstairs, so I checked it, and it is 207 Hz. The volume isn't huge. The plates aren't flabby. The f holes fairly long, and quite straight, like slashes. Should I try to get it up to A? Why? Would it for sure be better? I don't know why it is low. But maybe it will work. If it was high, it would be high. Maybe that would work. It's just like tapping on the box. I just tried that too. 314 or so tapping by the bridge, half that at the lower block. There's an overtone of about 350 coming though in the upper block. That's just the way that it is. Put them all together and it will be unique. It will still sound like a viola/violin, but it will be unique. What's wrong with that? Ken
  8. I have the purling in on the 5 string viola. Now I need to smooth everything up, work on the edge work, and put it in the Lightbox to put some color on it. I did one line at a time on the other two designs, to keep it more solid. Both were done in 6 steps. Six days for each. One line of this is all I want to do in a day. I'll do other stuff, but not more small work. The center one had 31 different sections, and they are a lot tighter than regular purfling. Purfling has always been a great bother for me. It isn't perfect, but it doesn't look terrible, and I got through it!
  9. If you wanted shellac for a top coat, would the wax be advantageous? Would it help resist, or hide scratching? Would it give a warm sheen, and not a bright shine? I just wonder. How about if you mix in oil, like on a French polish; but more of it? It does seem like a varnish high in oil is more scratch resistant; but they all seem to scratch, don't they? I have gotten other texture additions with oil too. It's fine with me, if it stays stable. Of course to get rid of scratches is why they French polish them from time to time, or at least used to, anyway, isn't it?
  10. Well, I spent the afternoon fixing the 16.5" viola with the low arch. My idea of a Gagliano. While it was off, I took 25% of the weight off the tailpiece, because it looked like a brick. Then took a whole bunch off the bridge. The projection was 31.5 or so. I need to get a 6" scale with metric on it, but it is 1/4" to just under 3/16" so that should be a lot better than it was. The bridge is 1.5" tall. It vibrates nicely. The curvy Gofriller might be more trouble.
  11. Jim, The clearance seemed to be fine at first. The larger one has always been more like 4.5 - 7.0 mm, but now was 8 - 10 mm. Thinking about it, seems like I trimmed it down a couple of times to 4 - 6.5 mm, so maybe something was moving all along. Maybe Melvin's idea of stringing up, and playing around with the violins for a year or more is a viable idea. It's worth a shot. Maybe not so much if you're into production! I put the neck on first, because that's the way they did it. Of course I start from the inside, and I won't comment about that! The projection has always, except for the one; which I think was the Volumptuous Gofriller viola; been right where it was supposed to be. On the last couple violins I've been putting the fingerboard early, and then planing the fingerboard when the belly is glued on, and sound post is set. I've never noticed anything moving with the sound post. Maybe it does, but I do have the sound post in when I set the bridge. My computer won't let me type soundpost.
  12. Thomas, I think on the larger one, the bridge is too high. Apparently I wasn't thinking when I cut it. Do you ever do that? I shake my head at myself all the time. I took the strings off, and the projection is about 32. That should be plenty. Using my large angle checker, the string angle would be a violin-like 158 degrees. The 424 length with a 225 stop and a low arch does that. Hopefully when I string it back up, it doesn't go goofy again. We'll see what happens with the other one. I still need to make a sound post for it, so I started with the easy one.
  13. I use those as visual setup things. The eye is even with the bottom of the ribs, and the nut is even with the top of the ribs. When I draw them out, that's where they are. I use trig to figure the neck angle while keeping the nut near that point, and the overstand? at about 5 or so. I use 8-9 mm above the block because it makes more sense when you are figuring out angles. The eye always comes out almost exactly even with the lower rib line. When I set the neck I use those figures; before the belly is on; and it works; except for one that I messed up somehow.
  14. It is perfectly clear, and I like the way it works. Am I the only one who likes to rub it in with my fingers until it doesn't feel sticky anymore? You can feel the substance in it even though it looks like colored water. Very cool. I was looking at the jar, and it just seemed browner than the shellac in the can used to be. It seems like the small amount I mixed up with Borax water was more brown when I tried it. But I used a piece of rough wood. I could have at least took a plane to it. It doesn't dry nearly as fast either.
  15. Ok, I guess I've experienced this now. I still don't understand how it works. I pulled out the sound post, and it is cracked on the bottom. The ends are pushed down from the way it was sitting. I'm making a new, harder one. That one is very soft. To put it succinctly, My setups are VERY ametur. By that time I'm more excited about moving on to something else. I don't play them, so THAT doesn't help. The cure? Loosen the belly on the top block, pull neck back, shim, glue?