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About Ken_N

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  • Birthday 06/20/55

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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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4408 profile views
  1. Tax proposals

    Am I the only one who has never in their life ever even thought about taxes. Never. Maybe I'm weird. But then again, I've always just been an employee, and they just take them out, and in the spring I do the tax return, and I get some back. I never even look at my pay stubs. Haven't in years. My wife does! I never itemize deductions, because the standard deduction is far higher. That being said, I don't have any faith in governments or bankers either. Politics bore me to death, and I never watch the news. Corporations aren't any better.
  2. One Very Loud Note (A5)

    After moving the post yesterday, and before leaving for work, I played every instrument that was strung up. They all have some notes that are ringy like that. The violins ALL do that at the A on the E. The viola was higher up; maybe around F on the A, and not so bright. Maybe my ears are just sensitive today. The Ole Bull with a wedge fingerboard of Yucatan Rosewood, and gut strings is the brightest, with a lot of notes that are like that. Different models, different woods, different strings, all with the same characteristic. Is it just that the strings just really resonate well that much shorter? Maybe the Strad one is just not that good, and only has a few good notes, and the Ole Bull is that much better? Very low damping on everything I make? It isn't afterlength; some are set at a fifth, others at a minor 6th, the viola at a flat fifth; depending on the stop, and the length of the instrument. The sounds aren't offensive; they just seem to jump out at you. It isn't humidity; the basement is always around 55% with the dehumidifier on in the warm months. It's colder down there now, but I doubt that would do it. It doesn't seem to be a random thing. They all have it.
  3. One Very Loud Note (A5)

    We went shopping this morning, and I just played this violin now after lunch. It is just plain resonant all over. The A on the E might be the most resonant one. A5 on the A string is strong too. I tried recording it, but it doesn't seem to come through much. Mostly at the ear? Lots of crunchy bow noise though. Hah! C on the A does it to a lesser extent. I moved the soundpost up. It is .05" or more lower than the bridge now. It was more than .1" Don't know if there is much difference in sound. It is mostly ringing of the strings. even damping the A it will do it.
  4. One Very Loud Note (A5)

    I just looked at this because I have a small, narrow, Strad model that I made a long time ago, and strung up a couple weeks ago, and I noticed the same thing. The A on the E was a good strong note. It doesn't sound terrible at all; just noticeably stronger. Enough that I noticed it, and I don't play! I assumed it was just reinforcement from the A string, but then the others don't do that. I'll try Don's advice and move the soundpost closer to the bridge and see what happens. I'll post what happens.
  5. Favorite small viola model?

    We went out today to meet our oldest and her four boys for lunch; three doors down from the Woodcraft store in Canton. I didn't find traditional wood, but I'm an oddball. I found a box of Koa leftovers for $6/lb and for $24 I will get a violin back and ribs. The wood seems like very crispy mahogany. .56 sg. A 8/4 chunk of curly cherry. 2 backs and ribs. A discounted, from 8 to 3 brd/ft or birdeye, 2 backs. And a long board of curly Padauk for 2 more. It is lighter than the cherry at .65 to /68 sg. Didn't measure the maple. It has some funk in it, so it wouldn't be accurate. The Padauk reminded me of the viola. It should at least LOOK cool. If it sounds cool that would be great. $140 for 7 instrument backs. Cheap thrills. For the viola, I might bend the belly. I've done half way before. Carve 1/2 of the arch in, about 4-5 mm thick, not jointed or glued; and bend it up a little high; joint and glue. Bending the whole thing seems like it would be difficult, but Helen Michetschläger does it. Kind of like the bent staves of the bass viol Ben Hebbert just talked about. I might still built it to the 378 one I have drawn up somewhere.
  6. Evan

    I don't notice a huge amount of difference in any of the last ones. They all sound great. The thick grad one seems to have a pure sound, that is a little different from the rest. My stiff birch one, (I have no idea what it sounds like played, or any of them for that matter. ) is like that, but the thick Ole Bull isn't. Go figure. Very nice sound on all of yours. Didn't see these until today.
  7. Favorite small viola model?

    Thank you Luis! So this one would fit between the two models I've made, not between the small one and a violin. He had a shorter model too. There are enough photos to make one from this. The arching does just seem to rise easily, but may rise quite a bit, especially on the back. I really like the outline, and it is distinctive. Now to find some very cool wood. Cut on the slab?
  8. Inside First

    I finally cleaned up my work benches. In the process I found more stuff to do. My tools weren't really dull, but they weren't really sharp either. A few were, but I have new stones that I hadn't tried, so I sharpened everything, and then even polished them. They are sharp now. I have 31 edge tools. 3 are just plane blades that I use as scrapers. One is a plane blade for a plane I made that disintegrated. I have a better plan now thanks to the program given on making planes by David Brownell at the Michigan Violin Makers meeting last Sunday. I even put Camellia oil on everything. Why not? I had no idea I had that many tools. The stones are Ear Moo (that's what is says on them). A 400/1000 and a 3000/8000. I like them, and they were very reasonable. I'm getting rid of everything else I had. I have two sets of violin strings, and on viola string set left, so two violins will still be without strings. Speaking of strings, the tiny 1666 StradI is strung with Tonica's with a Gold Label E , and they sound very nice. Rather plain like the Dominant lights on a Montagnana, but they aren't bad. The Warchal and the gut ones still have way more to them.
  9. Carving Violin Bridge for Violin with High belly arch

    It is easier to cut a baroque blank. I never cut a modern one with the thing hanging down in the heart shaped hole. That thing just gets in the way! I've broken a couple of them off just planing. I must be a hack. Here is a thought. A baroque blank may even be cut with a higher rounder arch in mind. Oh yeah; look at the feet on this one: I like the shape of the BB blank better, and the TP is a cinch to cut out yourself. Nice wood, tight straight medularies, sharp saw blade, and a free afternoon. Even without a blank.
  10. Bright Sound Tone

    Joe, I don't understand. You WANT bright and screechy? Why? To make you want to cut your ears off? Maybe what you are saying is that yours are richer in the low end, and the top end is lacking something? I don't think a violin is like a guitar where the trebles need a lot of wood response to keep the note going; that's what the bow does. Do they have a complex sound, or a plain string sound? Most of mine are more complex, but one is really pure. It has a stiff back and a light top. Very easy to play, even for someone like me who doesn't play. It does sound somewhat brighter, but with my bowing ALL of them sound bright and screechy on the E! I've noticed that lighter strings made a huge difference on the one with the light top and 18 mm arching. Have you tried that? Not mediums; softs. It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes just trying things works. Are your bridges filtering out all of the high partials? I don't know anything about that, I just cave until they look right. Most of mine have high arches; I think they look cool. They are plenty loud enough. In my work. flatter Del Gesu arches do not seem much different to me. They work too. Maybe the could use more string tension. As far as your work, it is far cleaner than mine!
  11. Favorite small viola model?

    I'm not a fan of the Guadagnini. It just does nothing for me. I don't like many Strads either, so maybe it's just me? Don't care much for the Bros. Amati either. I've made a 400 mm Gofriller from photos, and a 425 Gagliano styled as a cross between a Gagliano cello and violin I saw in a photo on a calendar. For a smaller viola; I think it's 378 or so, I'd make this one. I'd love to find back wood like that! I'd pay real money for it. (small caps real, not REAL!) It's a Storioni. Anyone know anything about his arching? It looks pretty full.
  12. Carving Violin Bridge for Violin with High belly arch

    My bridges are never that different from the E to the G. I see photos like that, but mine aren't. The bridge looks REALLY REALLY TALL. How much projection does that thing have? That bridge is backwards. As far as carving the feet. You cant touch to outsides of the bottom. Many bridges have just barely enough stock on them to fit to a high arch. When fitted trim the height of the feet down on the outsides from the top to match the inside foot. The ends of the feet will be pretty thin. Or you can narrow them as Torbjorn suggests.
  13. mini lathe recommendation for making buttons

    Jerry, That looks like a nice little lathe. I didn't see anything even remotely similar to that on EBay. Not even close. There you go Jeff. Emco looks nice. Handles still look a little small. That's the only thing I wish they'd change.
  14. mini lathe recommendation for making buttons

    I have run lathes for 38 years. From little Hardinge collet chuckers , through turret lathes, VTL's with 5 foot diameter beds, to the more recent CNC machines. I have a little mini lathe at home that I make pegs, and the occasional Christmas gift. I'm not a fan. It was cheap, and it works. That's about it. If I had $1,000, maybe the Sherline would be about the best you could come up with for small things like pegs or buttons. Table top lathes would be ideal, but they don't come cheap. Bigger lathes are much easier to run. They have regular size handles and knobs. The bed is long enough to get the tailstock out of the way. The Sherline looks a little sturdier. Some of the cheap mini lathes are REALLY cheap now. I'm talking price?
  15. Inside First

    I have 4 set up now. 2 were, but I changed the bridge on the dark Montagnana. When I made the original I somehow flipped it around, and made both sides angled. I tried a nice Stamm blank that I had started, and then noticed that the top edge was chipped by the E. Not enough wood. Too bad. Found another unusual one I had laying around in Cherry. It didn't need much work: The Strad was a mistake. The belly came apart at the joint. A wide gap across the middle, tight at the ends. Had that happen twice. Now I sometime rough in bellies with high arches first, then joint and glue them. So I ended up with a very narrow instrument. I measured it and found that it would be very close to a Strad from 1666 I found in Masterpieces of Italian Violin Makers, by David Rattray. I used Delrin for the nut and saddle; the fake ivory cant take the string pressure. The earlier Montagnana has stayed the same since it was done. I had to put an old Dominant E on the Ole Bull because the gut E kept breaking, even at A 415. Here is the bunch: I made a clip of the four of them, bowing a few notes. Aside from the terrible intonation, and string crossings, they don't sound THAT different. The Montagnana's are together, and the Strad and Ole Bull are together. What order do you think that they are in? 4 violins.mp3