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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 put have the strings on the guitar, and up to pitch; they are still stretching. When I did it on Thursday, the bridge broke off. Nice clean break, no wood. It is a tiny bridge. I used thin 195 high clarity. Re-glued with 315. Worked. I need to figure out fret diameters that will work, and order some string. I switched the tuners up on the first and last pairs so the strings aren't rubbing so much. Seems better to me.
  2. I've made a couple sycamore violins. The piece I had was very resonant wood. But then I've seen guitar makers using OAK. What's up with that? The two sound pretty good. Like violins. I had no problem with dust, but the walnut one I'm finishing didn't bother me either, and some people have trouble with that. The ribs bend easy, (hot) and I even use it for my linings, because with the interlocked grain they don't snap! I couldn't get spruce to bend at all. The grain shifts. The specks will go one direction, and the rays in the other. So you have to watch sometimes when you are planing, or doing finish work. The flecks are very hard, and it takes a very sharp tool to get things really smooth. That's probably the only thing against it that I found. I wouldn't worry about thin wood warping. That's what thin wood does best. My backs and bellies never stay flat either. After it is tamed with the iron, and has linings on it, it will be fine.
  3. Thanks about the binding. I used my homemade purfling cutters that actually cut, not just mark. The long one is set up there for the binding width, and the purfling depth. I like the screwed on cutter better, but the sliding adjustment is more flexible than shims. The blade just falls out sometimes! It has a 540 scale, so it SHOULD work in G. Using the calculator on Gamut strings, a medium set should give 4.5/3.4/3.4/3.0/3.0 kgs per string. So about 75 pounds total. I have a plan for a Voboam guitar in E with a 635 scale, and it comes out to 4.5/3.4/3.3/2.9/2.9 with mediums. So it seems that it will work fine in G at A 440. It has 10 frets. That seemed to be standard for a while, then 11, then 12. I have a plan for one that is only 9.
  4. Thanks Jim, I still need to order strings and fret gut too. That is by FAR the most expensive part of the project. I've never even spent $200 on a piece of wood! But I do want to find a new back and sides for a cello, so we'll see about that.
  5. I've been working on getting the violin and guitar ready for varnish. The guitar is easier. I want to get a seal coat on it before I glue on the mustache. It is not the usual frilly thing. By now you know I'm not one for doing things the usual way. Yesterday the Bible verses started disappearing from my posts. First the newest ones, then the older ones. All 3100+ They were still there online. Today they are gone online as well. Don't you LOVE it when you are censored, and they don't even tell you? How nice. My writing is still there, but the verses are all gone. The title is there, and the verse numbers, but nothing else. Some have a line or two spared. Yes, I am NOT politically correct. But don't we have the freedom of speech? EDIT : AHHH. All but two of the posts have been fixed. Someone must have been playing around.
  6. For a second instrument with no mentor/teacher for guidance; I'd say that you hit it out of the park. Your scroll and pegbox look nice; the nut and saddle look smooth and even; the arching is hard to see, but I like the way that the f holes look on it. Your overhangs are better than most of what I've done. I might have one out of 10 that isn't terrible. Even leaving them big, to smooth up after gluing the ribs, it ends up not fitting right somewhere. Maybe the corners could be better, but couldn't most of them be better. It seems like corners really take a lot of thinking about to get right. You had the corner templates, so you know what I mean. The varnish? I've had the last few come out fine. The rest? Too opaque, too pale, too blotchy, too much texture showing through. They haven't peeled off, or chipped, so they work. But. It seems to be very hard to get a nice violin varnish. Cellos would be even harder. Especially if you want to have some color, like a reddish color over a golden ground, like on a Montagnana. They look COOL on photos, but how do you do it? Usually it is a few spots that look FANTASTIC, but the rest could just be ordinary. I find that instruments can look COMPLETELY different in every light, and they NEVER look like what I see when I see photos of them. Yours isn't bad at all. It isn't anything close to being scary. I've done that. There's always next time. That's why once you start, you can't stop.
  7. Well D. A. T. I'd like to be the first to welcome you to maestronet. For a "non professional" you show a lot of skill around the workbench. How much experience do you have? Have you had the chance to work with input from others, or with a mentor of some kind? Do you have access to nice instruments? All of those things seem like they would contribute to developing a sense of what you really want to accomplish. I watched your video this morning, and it is very well done. I really enjoyed it. The music is great, and doing it in black and white ties it together more. I'm sure that most (all?) of us here know that music stirs the spirit and soul more than just about anything on our senses. Even without words, it was easy to see what you were trying to convey. The finished cello looks very nice. Nice job.
  8. For violins, the Lie Nielsen 100.5 convex sole plane works nice.
  9. Well the barn wood top is scrapped. I filled the dark lines with wood patches, and then it started splitting where there were no dark lines. A thin wedge off a wedge of Bear Claw Sitka cut into three pieces; the outside has worm holes; is going to work just fine. I have the rosette in it now, and I'm just going to use two harmonic bars like the original. I have no bracing at all on the back, and very small linings. It shouldn't be long before it is all glued up, and ready for binding. I noticed that the Aquilla set of strings has a wound low A. That sounds like a bad idea. Why would they do such a thing? Other really cheap sets do too. They are hard enough to find. I guess that Gamut will be the choice. At least they are a small, somewhat local company. He does offer a set of mixed fret gut too. I need to make more to spread the cost! I see that he says the thickest fret is at the top, and they get smaller. I was figuring it out, and it seemed just the opposite. I saw a video talking about flamenco guitars, and they said the strings are higher at the body, and lower at the nut, and low at the bridge. I thought, "Cool, I did something right." I'll know more when the belly is glued on.
  10. Your work, is always so clean. I guess everyones is compared to mine! I haven't made a shouldered pegbox yet. I always read people complaining about them. Who needs that? I haven't seen a cello without one, so what's the problem? I like your pegs. I'm going to start on ten today for the little baroque that I'm making. Your guitar came out great. I noticed that you made ebony frets. I was just looking up fret gut. YIKES. They can set you back $75-$100! I don't mind paying that for strings, but frets? The wooden frets are starting to sound interesting. I sure can't use metal; the fingerboard is less than 4mm thick! I have two different pieces of rosewood for the head, and the fingerboard, so I can't get the cool monochrome look that you came up with. Well done. Did you string it with nylon? DGBE? 4 strings seems like it would be easier to play. I have a lot of interference with my short FAT fingers. I have 7.5 mm spacing on my guitar, and it isn't nearly enough. Supposedly, that is wide. The baroque is planned on 7.8-8.3mm at the nut. Maybe it will work. Between the pairs it isn't that wide though. We'll see. I can't do full bar chords, the e and b string mute. 4 strings are fine, maybe 5, but not six. Even then adding other fingers below that may work, and may not. A 5 string might be the answer, but maybe 4 is even better. I've only been playing since Christmas, so I probably just need more practice. Sorry, I was born before the short phrases of Social Media!
  11. Now that is really nice Thomas! I'm not an antique look guy either, but that one looks good. The color and texture are just right. I always wondered about the double wear from the chin on both sides. If someone held it under the chin at the treble bout, wouldn't they do that all the time? Every instrument had people playing them both ways? Was some of the antiquing done from the get go? They did both sides for some sense of symmetry? I think that maybe antiquing in the beginning might not be a new thing. But like a sunburst on a guitar, it is often hard to pull off. The f holes seem to command attention.
  12. His work is already FAR CLEANER than anything that I've ever done. I think I've done something halfway decent, and a photo proves that it is garbage. Even with the 5X magnifier! I don't think that I've seen any of my 4 grandsons ever have enough patience for something like making an instrument. Goofing off with Legos, and video games; yes. Serious art and craft? No.
  13. I see that spell check changed dummy to yummy on the last post. Thanks guys. I did use a wedge shaped to the fingerboard angle and thickness to set the neck. I also had a strip of wood, pointed on the end, and marked at the stop length to set the projection. It worked great. It's all glued together; and I realized that I don't have and purfling. I don't have strings for it, or the baroque guitar, so I have to buy some things. I looked up nylon strings for the guitar, but they seem to have 1 or two wound strings. I don't want wound strings on it; they shouldn't be needed. The guitar is ready to glue together. I haven't picked out fingerboard stock yet. I thought of putting a single dark binding around it. 1 mm X 3 mm, just to cover the end grain and the seam. I should have something that I can make that, and the fingerboard out of. The back is just flat. It is thinned towards the edges, but it has no bracing at all. The original belly had two transverse braces, but the Eastern, or Atlantic Red Cedar from a 100 year old barn a friend tore down has a very weak E modulus, ERC is listed at .88! So I decided to bolster the longitudinal strength with double X braces, and forgo the transverse bars. My wife claims that I don't do anything the normal way. So here it is ready to start gluing the neck and back: My blog post this morning had an old Motown song. I found a cover that is VERY GOOD. People Get Ready (Live) - Curtis Mayfield (Sara Niemietz, W.G. Snuffy Walden, Jonathan Richards)
  14. Nathan, I hope everything works out for you, and you recover quickly. The world is getting crazier every day. It is all the fear mongering. That's what they want. Why would anyone live in fear? This fear is pure evil. If you don't like what someone, or some people are doing, then don't go near them. Don't rat on them to the "authorities" to teach them a lesson. Just because you live in Paranoiaville, doesn't mean that everyone else does. The same goes the other way. You KNOW that some people are paranoid, if you come across them, just keep your distance. Why do you insist on being a moron? Violence is NEVER acceptable. You may believe that you have rights; fine. But if YOU have rights, others have the right not to be criminally attacked by you because you didn't like what they said. Rights go both ways. No one EVER has a right to assault someone. If they fight in self defense that is one thing, but to attack someone? Really? You don't know how to say, "Oh, we'll go down the street if we are bothering you." Is EVERYTHING about YOU? Words. Simple little things. They get you all worked up? You have a serious problem. We all live here. There is no place else we can go. You don't have to agree with everyone, don't have to like ANY political party (I don't like any politics), or this crisis that they rolled out to cause chaos; but anger and fear should never be a part of you. I'm from Detroit, but I've always liked foreign cars better. Not into muscle cars. Did see an early, lime green Datsun Z car set up like a race car go down the road I live on yesterday at well over 55mph. It sounded pretty good. 60's-80's Alfa and Lancia sedans are cool too. And the weird Citroen DS and SM.
  15. Well Joe, the best I can remember is that I varnished a viola with the Maroon first. It came out red. But for that other one, I wanted more of a Venetian red. So I think I put some blue-green watercolor in the ground to shade it down. I don't remember putting anything else in the color coats. It is possible that I thinned it some with a less viscous varnish, and something in that changed the color. Those darn kids; you never know what they're going to do. This is the Viola 6 years later, It isn't hideous: