Ken_N

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About Ken_N

  • Rank
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  • Birthday 06/20/1955

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  • Gender
    Male
  • 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

    Flatening a plane

    At work the other day I was using a dial depth gauge. It had a tenth indicator mounted on a 6 inch base. Setting it up using blocks, it varied .001 depending on where I placed the blocks. The base wasn't flat. I loosened the dial gauge and checked the base on the CMM, it was dead flat. Just tightening up the dial gauge put the base out of wack. You would think that tool makers would know that, and make their tools accordingly. Wisdom cannot be assumed. The blade has to be in, and tight. Scratches and spots that look like acid dripped on them don't matter either. What causes those weird blotches? Rust? My long Stanley has a corrugated bottom. THAT can be more of a problem. But it was cheap! And I follow with a rosewood one that can be set very finely.
  2. Ken_N

    UV Cabinet

    Reef tank bulbs? How do they compare with the blacklights? I know that they 'seem' brighter visually.
  3. Ken_N

    UV Cabinet

    Yeah, I know cabinets have been discussed before, but I want to make one now. The wind blew my garden hook holding the violin over yesterday. I came home from work last night at 11:30 and couldn't see it by the side of the garage! I thought it would dry fast in the bright sun, it's been very gloomy, but not face down on the wet grass. My varnish dries in a couple hours max in full sun. It doesn't dry at all without it. Hazy days don't do much either. But looking around the internet I wonder, are the 20 watt black light bulbs going the way of the Dodo bird? The last 40 watt bulbs I got for the basement were led's. That's what they say they are, they look just like the fluorescents, but brighter. They weren't like led strips. I'll probably just use 4 cheap 2 foot fluorescents for now. Maybe buy some replacement bulbs when I'm done. But in the future, are they going to be obsolete? Would it be better to set it up with something else? When we do end up changing over, what will we change to? I saw Andrew Carruthers used led tape. Weird. I know nothing about led's. Buying a familiar tube is easy.
  4. Ken_N

    re sawing ribs

    I found that a half round Iwasaki file can do wonders attacking the high points on ribs. I like those things. Flat files are far less useful. I don't have a toothed plane. When I got a bandsaw, I did find that when you change blades on a bandsaw you have to adjust tracking. Who knew? I didn't. Hah. Ken
  5. Ken_N

    Sycamore cello neck

    I've made some violins with American Sycamore. I found a nice, wide, quartered, 4/4 board of it at Woodcraft years ago; it's almost gone now. It does need filling. For a guitar neck you could fill and nitro it to get it really smooth, and no one would say boo. I don't think you'd get away with that on a cello. For the reasons cited I like it better for backs, and especially ribs, and I ALWAYS use it for linings because of the interlocked grain. Dip in water, bend on the iron. Simple, no problems. I have problems with everything else I've tried. It is probably pretty close to Big Leaf Maple in the way that it cuts, and feels. The flecks can be quite hard, but so can the curl on Big Leaf. It's very resonate stuff. I've always found that where the pattern on the wood shifts, the grain shifts direction too. Surprise! I think it looks best with a lighter, blonde finish. Like most woods, it's easy to mess up the natural luster with varnish. Ken
  6. Ken_N

    F hole eye piercing tools

    I make my own out of brass on a lathe. Even brass tubing will work if it is the right diameter on the outside. All you are making is a tube, and then you file teeth on it. I use a 1/8" drill to locate the center on the plates, so I start by drilling a 1/8" hole in the brass stock, and then turning the o.d. to size about 10mm back. Then I whittle out the center, about 5mm deep. In the case of a tube, I would turn a piece of steel to a slip fit on the brass tube i.d. and then turn the end to 1/8". Then you file some teeth on it. They can just be Vees, and then it can cut when twisting both ways. Or you can try to put relief on them, or any other trick you have up your sleeve. Drill the 1/8" hole in the plate, and you can use the drill, or a 1/8" rod as your guide. Slip it in the hole, slide the brass hole cutter on the rod, and start twisting it. When you get about 1/2 way through, go in from the other side, to prevent chip out. They may not work as quickly as the nice store bought ones, but as you get better about how to sharpen them, they work pretty good. Brass works just fine, and it's easy to work. They'll stay sharp enough at least for making one. You aren't a factory. Sharpening each time, and getting a nice round hole from something you made yourself is kinda fun. Ken
  7. Ken_N

    re-joining center joint

    Dave, Nice job. Well done. As for how my joint failed, I'm not sure, but it seems I mixed my glue too thick, like Titebond, and put it on too thin. It is supposed to be slightly thinner than Titebond, isn't it? I'm always surprised how much glue can soak in. Oh, I probably forgot to size it too. Sometimes I get in a hurry. For sizing you need really thinned glue, don't you? I never had "Hide Glue 101". My work area is never really warm either. I usually just warm up the joints first. Believe it or not, sometimes I think THAT causes the joint to not fit properly. Ken
  8. Ken_N

    re-joining center joint

    I had a belly come apart once; it was already carved. Maybe my second or third. Laying it flat on the table, it had a 3mm gap in the center. The edges were flat but the center was spread out. I planed it while the edges were clamped to a board. I glued them while they were still clamped on the boards. No clamps, cleats, or anything, just a rub joint. It worked great. But after that joining, the center bout was only just over 100mm, so I did have to make turn it into a narrow, "Early Strad" model! But even that wasn't a disaster. Looking at it today, I see it says #5. I see ALL KINDS of things I'd do different on it today. Especially edgework; I've just started dealing with that. I don't see small details good; I need magnifiers. That's the thing with violin making, at least to me. I know if I do more I'll get better, and it is so much fun. But it sounds decent, and the strings are still in tune after many months! It's so gloomy today, that even with the light on, the phone camera is too slow.
  9. Ken_N

    .

    I don't pay attention to weights. I tap things. But mostly for relationships, and just for a feel of where it is going. I'm varnishing a Plowden model that has the lowest body tap, (I don't know what you would call the mode when you tap the back of the neck, or the lower block. The Gofriller that is getting purfling grooves has the highest body tap. I just noticed them the other day, and checked the others on the wall. About a fourth apart. I don't know what note. The Plowden is overall thicker, but the lower bout on the belly is fairly thin; I think. The weights go from 390 to 460. I don't know what the Plowden is. It's wet! (not too wet, 297g, no fingerboard or fittings) The Gofriller seems very light. 290 without a fingerboard or fittings. So the lighter one taps way higher. I think the materials, the models, and what you do with them makes the entire difference. Numbers don't matter much. I find it hard to get the numbers people say for free plate frequencies. They seem incredibly stiff at that point usually. But I don't finish them before gluing on the ribs. Maybe many violin makers want that really bright sound? I have old ears, and even with them, that bright sound doesn't do anything for me! I always turned the treble down on stereos. Now I just turn the volume up. Ken
  10. Ken_N

    cutting ribs from back

    3 of one, and 3 of another. Not much to agonize over. I don't worry about anything. But then, I'm weird. Ken
  11. Ken_N

    Odd Maple Back

    I have one of curly birch. It is prettier. Very holographic. That looks more like stain that sunk in. At least in the photo.
  12. Ken_N

    Indianapolis Violin Making Competition

    Very nice. Is the belly tonewood Paulownia?
  13. Ken_N

    William Fry Internal Scraping Method

    I've read that before. It seems possible that bending and flexing over the years in certain areas would do that. I've done tuning for overall evenness. Don't know if that does anything. But I did do some massive cutting away over the end blocks of a belly to get a violin to play easier. It needed to be cut up quite a bit more on the inside. It helped it tremendously, and I learned a lesson. Too stiff is too stiff. The violin is very clear and easy to play. Ken PS I have problems with writing programs at times too. The thing bothering me lately is my little finger has some nerve damage for a cut, and it wants to push the caPS LOCK and not the A.
  14. Ken_N

    "Good" vs. "Bad"

    Now THAT one does something for me. It is beautiful. It has a movement and grace to it. The wood and varnish is exceptional. 4 notches, and park the bridge in the middle? Impossibly thin blacks on the purfling. I don't usually notice purfling because it is so thin, but on this blow up it is cool. 2.75 X progressives only do so much. The spacings are perfect. The f holes make del Gesu look like a wimp. Ken
  15. Ken_N

    "Good" vs. "Bad"

    Those f holes are different, but they are the same on both sides, and everything is so meticulously done. It is orange isn't it? I think it looks just fine. Out of the ordinary. Can't say that I like that HUGE hideous tailpiece though. edit, by just fine I meant, just ok. It really doesn't do anything for me, but it isn't hideous.