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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. Ken_N

    Elusive lining clamp source

    I have over 100 of these little metal spring clamps. You can use maybe 50 per side on an instrument. I know I needed more to do both sides at the same time. I bought most of them at an Amish Flea Market. I went back the next year and bought more. I see that you can buy 100 of them from Amazon. They are incredibly strong. Clothespins? Weak, weak, weak. I like them. Use them a lot. The rubber tips don't hold up. I don't usually care. Place the better side out. I guess you could get some kind of dip to rubber coat them. Or use electrical tape? At least they clamp with some force.
  2. Ken_N

    Poster sale at The Strad

    There are no real thin spots. It is very even. The edges even all over, front and back at just under 4 mm. The back gets quite low, 2.4 or so, quickly all the way across the bouts, and inside the purfling at the c's. The center is all 4-4.7. The belly stays thicker further in, and is then uniformly about 3 mm. It just looks very even, and the thinness of the back bouts surprised me. The belly has thicker edges, and is thicker than most posters I've seen. Interesting.
  3. Ken_N

    Poster sale at The Strad

    I ordered the Vieuxtemps and got it in about a week. I was pleasantly surprised. Shipping was reasonable. I had it laminated, and picked it up yesterday. It worked great, and looks great. Why didn't I do that before? I have almost all of those posters. By the way, I haven't studied it yet, but the thicknessing on it looks amazing.
  4. Ken_N

    Corner geometry question re Guadagnini, observations.

    Isn't the wonkiness the best part? I noticed that I had three photos of the older ones with the cool oblong holes, and they all had the corners and bouts shifted the same way. They had different arch heights, different sound hole locations; but the outside was still the same. Something in his form, or patterns was off? I've done that. It seems to work just fine. I haven't worked with that poster at all. I have it, but I have too many things started, and that need to be fixed, or finished. All I remember about it was that the back and the belly both seemed really, really thin; except for the c bouts near the ribs. Kind of opposite what most do. What difference does that make? I have no idea. And the f holes still had a little oblong in them, but not much. The corners look short and sweet. Just make them like that! Oh yeah, that's what you're trying to do. You'll get it. Ken
  5. Ken_N

    Viola strings

    The same on mine! Not instantly, but just hanging there. Was it on the winding in the pegbox? I bought two sets for the two violas I made, and both G's broke. I replaced one with a Dominant string. The other viola is just a 3 string right now. Violas certainly are louder than violins. I like the sound too. Not as many string choices, and they are much pricier. It would be nice if price always equated with sound and longevity! I'll probably try something else. Are Helicores considered a steel string sound, or a synthetic/gut sound. I've never tried them. I have a set for a 5 string, but never took them out of the package. I'm not sure that I am much for a plain steel sound. I'm more complex than that. Ken
  6. Very cool. I sent the link to my son in law who worked for a while at a propeller making shop in Florida. "Now THAT'S a propeller!" Ken
  7. Ken_N

    Very Little Overhang

    Thanks! That method sounds like a great idea. I'll get to that after the sap pocket patch. Those are easy.
  8. Ken_N

    Nick Allen's Bench.

    It's a replacement, and I had to put it in to mark the outline. I'm working on fixing stuff. It is FAR easier to just do it right from the start. But I've learned a lot from fixing. Probably more than just making. Mostly: you have to think about what you're doing. Ken
  9. Ken_N

    Inside First

    Ok, back to the revised battle plan. The outline works, but barely. Somehow I lost almost all of the overhang on the c bouts. I asked on the Pegbox for suggestions on what to do. Leave it and live with it, or try to fix it. I will just fix it. It can't be that hard. The rest of it looks ok, and I have to patch a pitch pocket anyway. I finally have the ground on the Plowden done. It is still just barely past wood, you can still almost feel it. I haven't prepped it for some color coats, it's still not REALLY dry, but this is what it looks like. Much darker than I've ever done before. I love the light coming in the doorwall off the deck on sunny mornings.
  10. Ken_N

    Very Little Overhang

    I am making a replacement top for a violin I made. It was never even strung up because the belly kept cracking. I've been writing about it in the Contemporary Makers forum, but I noticed something yesterday that I'd like some help on. First the form is off. Nothing I can do about it now. I went through my molds over the winter, and noticed this one wasn't even close. Apparently I made it, and didn't even check it. The c bout is about 3 mm too narrow. I turned it into a Montagnana mold, I was using the del Gesu, and made a new P mold. That was before I decided to fix this one up. I can live with this one, but the replacement has a problem now. After finally getting the outline 2.5 to 3 mm from the ribs, I smoothed the edge out with a knife and chisel. The winter end grain is very hard. Anyway, when I was checking the arching; it's still too bulgy; the c bout is now REALLY narrow. Somehow smoothing up the filed edge on the sides there took away almost all of the overhang. Should I just leave it, finish it, and move on? The only way I can think of making an overhang there is to cut the edge at a 45 or so, and glue on a piece; like a doubling, sort of; that would create an overhang, and be part of the glue surface, so it wouldn't be easily knocked off. I'll have to fill a sap pocket on the inside anyway; that would just be another task. It would be narrow, but at least it would have an overhang. Any thoughts? Ken
  11. Ken_N

    Poplar viola grads?

    I would imagine that you will end up thinner than that. It's fine for a start. I do both sides at the same time after starting on the inside, so I get down to thickly graduated fast. Then I just work until it's done. Usually mostly on the outside. I have been finishing up after glueing on the ribs, so I don't really know where anything ends up. But it's mostly edge work. I've never done a poplar back, only a belly, and it is just the same as anything else. You just go with what feels good. Ken
  12. Ken_N

    Nick Allen's Bench.

    Walnut? No way. Tulip poplar. No way. It is some kind of real Populus. I have a piece like that that I used for a belly. I really messed up on the purfling, so I'm making a replacement. It's for a 5 string viola, with a violin string length. The body is just too big, 380 mm/15 1/4" to call a violin. Isn't it? The grey lines are in mine too. The replacement has some insect holes I'll have to fill. It carves really nice. It doesn't have ANY kind of waxy feel to it at all. Do you know what I mean? Some maples have that. The birch I used had it. Cherry doesn't seem to have it. Tulip poplar can have it. Walnut doesn't seem to have it. It's a waxy feeling creaminess. I made my first belly, making it like a violin. It was thicker, and the tap tones were like the Gofriller I have almost ready to glue up, right trough F, about 350. This one I went somewhat thicker than the Maggini violin grads (it's based on a Maggini cello); 2.5 - 3 mm. Pretty normal. It has a 3rd lower mode 5, and a 5th lower mode 2. But it doesn't have a bass bar in it yet, and the recurve isn't done at all. Anyway, here is a shot of it:
  13. Ken_N

    Inside First

    Well I did have a half an hour yesterday to find out what's going on. A multiplicity of things. The first was one that I never even thought of. The neck is off center. I made the neck and fit it. Then I cut out the belly notch. I never thought that the angles on the root could be off. They are, so the. neck is on center at the button, but to the treble side at the top. The second problem I thought of. I use the half pattern that I used for drawing out the mold to mark out the corners. Two things could be wrong. The holes in the pattern could be off center. The holes in the form have to be on center because of the way that it was made; the form might not be symmetrical, but that's another story. The other thing that could be the problem is that one, or both of the holes in the form might me on an angle. I drilled them on the drill press, but I don't trust it for square. I checked the corners, and they do slope from the centerline, on both sides. Wow, that's odd. They both slope down to the treble side. There goes that idea. They are just wonky. Anyway, after cutting the notch for the neck 3 mm wider, and keeping the bottom right on center, the whole thing should clean up. Days like this are very good. You learn a whole lot! It reminds me of Kepler. I read that he was really depressed when he found that the solar system was not running in perfect order as he suspected. Everything was all worked out of place with funky elliptical orbits, and stuff. I tried to find the quote, but I can't find it anywhere. It was something like " I was astonished to find that God built the universe on a cesspool." It wasn't as he expected. Everything works off everything else. The entire human race is built on a cesspool, and we work out the same way: everyone can affect everyone else. Be good. Saturday I can cut the outline and see if one corner might need a little something. Ken
  14. I've bent bellies before. I roughed the inside and outside part way, and bent them the rest. The bending of that wasn't too bad; easier than the entire bend; but either way they are tricky to join! I had one seam go on one of my first violins, and after rejoining, it came out somewhat narrow. So I knew that I had to make them quite wide. Those clamps are pretty cool. I've never seen anything like them. What are they?
  15. Ken_N

    Inside First

    Well yesterday I put a couple hours into the belly. Four hours so far. First I got it down to around 5 mm. I penciled out the convex part. I went back over the inside, and made it fit the chain everywhere. After I got it all down to five, I marked the middle to 4 mm. I finished smoothing up the middle at 4 mm, and decided that I had to cut the notch for the neck, drill the pin holes, and mark the outside and trim it down. That's where I left it yesterday before I went to work. But there is trouble in paradise. In the first post on making this replacement, someone should have butted in like Fred Sanford, and said, "Hey you big dummy! You'd better trace the outline of that belly on a piece of paper. Mark the centerline and then TURN IT OVER, and copy the reversed profile on the bottom face of your belly." Well I guess that's how it goes. I thought I marked it out WAY bigger than it was. Lesson learned. I'm busy the next couple of days, but the next order of business is to make a paper pattern. Then do whatever I have to do to fix it. Maybe a wing on a corner?