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Ken_N

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About Ken_N

  • 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. I haven't finished it yet, but I am working on a 39 cm viola, but I'm using 142/213 mm, so a 355 string length. 213 was where the notches were! The stark string idea always comes up, but I think it is a balancing act between tension, length, and thickness. It is easier to see if you look at string tension charts for gut strings. Put in the 375 scale on a viola chart,use the default tensions. Write down the tensions, and string sizes, and then change the scale length to 352. At the same tension the string size will go up; but the tension remains the same. Playing with that, you should get some sort of idea how much thicker/stiffer strings need to be for the same tension. This is an easy one: http://www.gamutstrings.com/calculators/calculator.htm The question I guess becomes, does the player like stiff, or looser strings. Even at 375 scale, they sell light medium and stark for a reason. Although some might be what the instrument likes. The answer will give some idea of strings, and how still your body should be. Modern strings makes it harder to fit; so many choices and the are all over; and not cheap. I just got Helicore mediums for mine, because they sound decent on a 325 scale on my 15 inch 5 string. They seem to have a fairly complex sound. This is just an experimental viola. I have a back of 1 piece Birds Eye that is 42 cm with a 375 scale, that is ready to start. I have no clue what I would put on that. So many choices.
  2. I need a 46mm wide bridge for a viola. I have a chunk of maple. It is squared up to the medularies. So I cut the bottom to line up with the grain, and square with the face. Then cut it into a slab on an angle, Then fit the square edge to the viola. Then cut the side and roughed the top out. Drill a few holes. Put an awl point in the wrong spot; now I need to patch it with a toothpick so it doesn't stand out. I still need the cutting around the outside ankles, but it doesn't look much different than the 50mm Stamm bridge. I don't know about medularies and grain. The wood seems stiff. Mine is a little heavier at 6.5g compared to 5.9g. But it is thicker at the feet, the top is the same. The Stamm "clinks" on the table at D, mine at D#
  3. I couldn't find a like button.
  4. Ok Don, I didn't know about that. Tapping on the bridge over the bass bar, and muting the strings, they both are about A-A#. 225 on the viola, and 233 on the 5 string? What are the other peaks? (5 string on top).
  5. Yes Marty, I'll finish getting the outline even with the ribs, then make a tailpiece and string it up. I always wanted to do that, but then just want to get varnish on and be done with it! I never check the modes and all that. I just got Audacity to work a while back. I was looking for the controls on the page it brings up, and NOT on the very top line, that I consider to be the computer, not the ap. So I gave up on it. Yes, I am not tech savvy at all. It doesn't make sense to me. I think the 16.5" viola has the same A0 as the 15" 5 string. 175, F or so. They seem pretty similar. I have no clue what is what, I do think the A0 is the 175 peak though. That's where the body starts bouncing.
  6. Marty, A0 is what you hear when you blow in the f holes, isn't it? The 390mm viola I just glued together last weekend has a lower A0; the open G of a guitar; than the bigger ones I made. It is made of HD cedar decking, and mahogany. Someone on maestronet a few years ago said that he did that and it worked. I had some of each, and cut some to try it. A couple months ago, I wanted to do an experiment carving completely by scratching and tapping, like Peter Westerlund, so I decided to make a smaller viola with just an outline. It is the outline of a Storioni. It ended up being almost the same inside as my inside out method, on the belly with cross arches, and the back with long arches that come from the blocks, but only to the corners or bouts, leaving the center thick. That is what the tapping gave. The outside of the back is an arc, just like I do. The long arch of the belly looks like a Montagnanga, but not so tall. So the A0 is just under 200 for a smaller viola. Will it sound bigger? I have no clue. I have to finish it up. Noting outrageously light, 80 g for the belly, it is only cedar, and 120g for the back; I think it is like 3mm to 7mm, but it might have gone down to 6.5 or so, I don't remember. I haven't put the purfling in yet. I think I'll puts strings on it, and see what happens if I decide to tune the recurve now that it is glued up. The pitch goes up. toward the solid edge.
  7. Last night I got ready to glue the viola together. I had to change from cello carriage bolts to the violin/viola ones. I have another set for guitar. I'll only use 24 of the 36 clamps. I set my neck when it is still on the form. I've never even considered doing it any other way. It just seems like a bad idea. I'm doing this viola to test out the method of Peter Westerlund. So far the arching ideas work, and the ended up almost exactly as I do them from the inside out. There are a lot more high peaks in the resonances of the free plates though. I know that Peter doesn't check for that, but I wanted to see what they actually were. I will keep everything warm today, and glue in the afternoon when I start working. Knock it off the form, glue the back, glue the neck, and maybe later, or tomorrow glue the belly. I might do it on the dining room table. It's only 50 in the basement this morning.
  8. I really like the look of the bear claw spruce. I like grain that isn't even too. Very good wood choice. I need to pick better wood! What do you have gluing up? A solid walnut violin?
  9. Last week I took a 390 long viola back from 184g to 125g, and the ring mode went from F on my guitar, to 316 on audacity. The lower 2 tones dropped to 107, and 160. The middle tone always was about an octave lower. I have no idea why it didn't drop more. I didn't check it on audacity until I was done. The upper end opened up with lots of peaks to 1,000 showing on the graph. I didn't check the belly either until it was done. It seemed to be around E for almost all the time too. But the graph shows that it is about 280, and on the guitar, I do place it something between C# and D on the guitar. I was hoping that they would be the same. I wouldn't have a clue about how to drop it down. I'm not going to try. The back feels a little stiff, but the belly doesn't, so it might need the stiffness. The belly has a low ring that I hear at an octave lower than C#, about 70hz. A blip showed up at 80 before I put the bass bar in, but I hear it at C#. Ears do funny things.
  10. Carry on Andrew! I like your posts. Reworking my Chinese finger planes was far less work than your little wooden ones, and my wife thinks that they are charming. But she hasn't seen yours! I have thought of making another bench thread too. They get too long, and my work is different today.
  11. I went to Woodcraft yesterday, and picked up a little Japanese keyhole saw. For $9 it was a no-brainer. Besides, I needed a board of mahogany. I found that too. I put the bass bar in the day before, so I trimmed it down. Bassbars used to be more troublesome. This one was easy. So I tapped it on Audacity, and the high A peak is gone, but the lower peaks are about the same. The highs evened out more. I haven't ever used tap tones for anything. They are just interesting, and seem to show something about the character of the sound that you might expect. Also when I do the larger Guadagnini viola, I can see what difference a larger size, and Sitka instead of Cedar does. It was at 76 grams, now it is 80.
  12. Reading through the last page of your build here, and I saw bleaching. I didn't read about bleaching, did I? The page before has it, and the result is amazing! I never would have thought to do that. It is like night and day. I like build "blogs," especially when well done. Happy New Year. Ken
  13. I watched a video series by the Swedish maker Peter Westerlund about the way he makes instruments: by tapping and scratching. I had to try in; and it works! Well I don't have a finished instrument yet, and I messed the back up by not watching what I was doing when cutting the inside by the corners too thin; but it works. Peter even mentions that if you get a thickness around 1mm you've done something wrong. Probably sometime early on, he fount that out! The belly has a LOT of profiling on the outside, so you have to leave the entire area thick when starting on the inside. Now that it is about ready for the bass bar, I see that the inside arching is almost exactly as I do for bellies starting from the inside! I just kept the area around the soundest thicker; over 3.5mm on this, it is only cedar. My plan for bellies is to draw lines marking the inside of the arch at the inside edge of the upper and lower blocks. I draw lines from the center of the blocks through the upper f hole (on the plan) from both blocks. This gives the terminal point of the cross arches. So the placing of the f holes determines the arching to some extent. This viola started as an experiment. Someone on maestronet said that he makes small violas of cedar and mahogany. So I had a small piece of each, and make billets a few years ago? So I decided to try Peter's method. The belly IS very flat, The back IS a complete curve. That part works. You CAN get the thickness by matching the sound of the inside to the sound of the outside. I HAVe been using something similar in area tuning, but didn't tune the entire plate, and didn't try to match the inside. It isn't free plate tapping and scratching. The plate has to be dampened. Tuning gets very precise when you get closer. I found that I needed 400 sandpaper to tune high spots when I couldn't see, or feel a high spot. Working on it yesterday it went from 79 grams to 78 grams, doing a lot of work, especially on the ends of the diagonal arches that I noticed were too high. I checked, and the sounded high too. At 78 grams I got another set of tap tones holding it in a spot less than an inch apart. I wasn't looking for tap tones, but it was interesting that the tones were B (second string on a guitar) or so, and the octave below. There was also note in between at E. Then it opened up, and the other pair of notes came out almost an octave higher at A, with a low note when tapping near the edge around G#. I did an analysis on Audacity, and that is what I get holding in the 2 places and tapping near the middle and edge of the lower bout. The sound opened up just feeing the ends of the diagonal arches some. The viola is a 390mm viola drawn from the Storioni in the Makers of Cremona book I borrowed from the MVA library a few years ago. Now I need to buy a mahogany board to replace the ruined one. I just thought of something. If the diagonal arches seem so important. If they are about 25 mm apart at the bridge, would it be just as important that the inside edge of the bridge foot overlap it by a mm as the outside edge overlaps the bass bar by a mm? 23-46mm, or 11.5mm long feet.
  14. I use a very underpowered 3" bench grinder for everything. It isn't doing much.
  15. I just do mine by hand. A small grinder with a small diameter wheel give you more of a hollow grind. Then just swipe it on a few stones. In use, sharpen on the flat side, until you feel like they need more. I've been sharpening mine at 20-22 degrees or so. I do scrapers at about 15 degrees, no burnished edge. You are just pushing them by hand. Why work hard? They are so small, I measure the angle with trig. It doesn't lie.
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