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Everything posted by Ken_N

  1. I have color on the Montagnana violin. I was trying for red over gold. It doesn't look terrible. Shellac and resin, with clear varnish over that, for the golden base. Then red. Real red, Kremer Ruby DPP TR. with some green oil paint in it. Then after working some red off; it wasn't applied everywhere, a coat of varnish with green oil paint in it. The second varnish was red, the third more like green brown. It started shrinking down after a week of being in the sun, and in the trash can. It seems hard now, but I'll let it set a while before finishing it up. A baroque set up. I works with the very high arch.
  2. I used a very low tech, "Making String Instruments" by George Buchanan, and later the Johnson Courtnall book. But I do them my own way regardless.
  3. Well, the other day I found a piece to replace the experimental belly; a 1/2" thick piece of Sitka. I sliced it into 3 pieces, and planed them to 2mm or so. I bent the two halves to the 7-8 mm arch, and then bent them 8 mm more as best I could. Then I joined them fitting them on the carved form. It isn't perfect. I decided to glue them with bands like they put on backs of guitars. I could glue those on the same time I glued the bracing. I added the little brace under the sound post last night, it seemed a bit to floppy there. The 3rd piece was used for doubling the edge. It is stiffer than the Montagnana flexing by twisting, but when pushing down on the bridge area when it is clamped to the ribs it is more flexible. I check the tap tones, and it sounds like a violin. 166 low, and a bunch from 324 345 375 398 418 427 554 643. The ring mode is somewhere in there. It should at least make noise. It is 67 grams. The long arching on the top looks like a 16mm arch or so. The cross arching is like an 8mm arch with no recurve. The cherry back looks like a 23mm arch or so. It needs a lot of work still, but the outside was roughed to see if it looked ok. These are the ribs: The Montagnana needs the neck finished and set, so I can start on the finish. I have another experimental instrument. An all acoustic Les Paul. Basically a 13" arch top. The upper pickup is the sound hole. I won't add the lower one, or the switch and dials. It will be thicker, 2 1/2" ribs, but it does needs some internal volume. It may need more tone hole volume, but I don't know yet. The belly is further along than the back. Yes, it is Home Depot cedar decking. But the center is perfectly quartered.
  4. Ken_N

    R.I.P. VMAAI

    The Michigan Violin Makers Association MVA is still around. It DOES have a large concentration of violin makers in the Ann Arbor area. David Burgess. is there, and has presented. Joe Curtin, Micheal Darnton isn't too far and both have presented, and a whole host of others that I can't remember the names of. I saw Jeffery Holmes on one of the Zoom meetings, and a couple other guys from here on maestronet. I can't remember the name of the guy from Georgia, and Jackson Mayberry on a zoom meeting on varnish, I think. Zoom can bring in people. As much as the Zoom meetings are easier on presenters, I really miss the in person meetings. Let's get on with life! But I guess they don't want us to. Hey. The last in person meeting was at the Ferrari dealership in West Bloomfield, where one of the members is a mechanic! Not a bad atmosphere. And a presentation from a VSA judge on what he looks for in an instrument. I can't remember his name either. I showed him my 5 string Maggini viola, and he didn't hate it. It doesn't have a convention, or a competition. Just a group of people who like to get together with others who like to talk about violin stuff. Solitary makers, people from big shops like Shar's, or the one in Grand Rapids who have put on a few presentations, (yeah, I can't remember any of their names either) and makers like Joe, who has a bunch of assistants, and looks for ways of innovation. I have one of their library books out now, I need to return it!
  5. I watched a video just the other day about another student through your hands. It wasn't the build video that I was expecting, but it was well done. My first foray into guitar making came after seeing photos of his Amati archtop. I made mine a Guadagnini. I was surprised, but not too much, that you were his first teacher; since his archtops show a great influence of violin or cello making. In fact, I guessed your name immediately. https://youtu.be/Q_R_pcNVugQ
  6. Ken_N

    Cello End Pin

    Thanks Michael. It will be fun to finish this one up.
  7. Ken_N

    Cello End Pin

    I'm about ready to set the neck, and glue my first cello up. Just sitting there it looks cool, and needs to be finished. The question is, I don't have a cello end pin, and don't want to make one. Pegs, tailpiece and fingerboard can all be made, if you are crazy like me. I see on International violin they go from $16 pear wood, $28 ebony, and then $60-100 for CF and composition. ebony/steel, composite/CF? Do you really need more than ebony/steel?
  8. I found a series of someone who plays and gives a little history on old Masters instruments that are in collections. They are not long, but are pretty well done. I like this Guadagnini the best so far. A very rich sound, especially the low end. Not a fan of violins without a low end. I like cellos with a rich sound too. The metallic string sound? Not so much. Maybe for an electric cello. https://youtu.be/_5pZ8eXfIYs
  9. I just used a fret saw. For the cross slot, I used a knife with a thin metal rule. I stole the ebony part off a cheap tailpiece once, they a more trouble than the slot. Now I just drill holes, and call it good! I do like matching fittings too.
  10. I just thought of a line from Nothing's Free by Alice Cooper. "We're going downtown. Way downtown." That's the other team. I did a bass bar on a violin a few weeks ago, and It was the easiest one ever. I found a big washer with a small hole and marked each side from end to end. Trimmed to the line, and fitting was easy. Glue and 3 wood spring clamps. Hand marking the purfling slots was easy, but digging the wood out is always an ordeal for me. even on the spruce on this one didn't want to come out! The bass bar was easier.
  11. The bridge on my archtop was doing the bridge dance Jacob mentions. Being practical, I just put deep grooves in the saddle 4+5 mm or so to the treble side, and the problem is gone. Easy. Apparently the pin hole is off.
  12. I haven't read even half of this. I read some, and my eyes glaze over, so I go somewhere else. A long arch is a long arch. I get mine just from the model, and arching height. I just brought the Montagnana model upstairs to look at while I was eating lunch. It's ready to glue onto the ribs, and then finish up the edge work and purfling. I noticed the long arch, and thought about this post. Is it still going? Yes? Wow. I just looked, and I can find STLs on the arching of this almost 20" arch. 3 out of 4 quadrants have them on the diagonals. One has a dip near the sound hole. Oh well. They are just a result of the arching. I'd rather have better arching, than have perfect STLs. I've never looked for STLs. You could make an instrument with a cubist approach, and make a Picasso violin with flat sections all over; but it wouldn't really look like a violin. Anyway. Here is a long arch. That's what it looks like. I've made 2 others of this model. It works fine. It rises fast, is basically flattish between the corners. I don't use any arch templates. It is what it is.
  13. Add one more thing to the.list. Do it right! Glue the veneer in one piece! Then cut slots for the blacks with a ruler and a knife. DAH! I can still do the back right.
  14. I know it's not a thumbtack, but what is it? It is on a Celoniato cello 1740, in the Rattray book, Masterpieces of Italian Violin Making. I have the book on pdf, but the text is corrupted, so I borrowed the book from the MVA library, and yesterday I copied the first page of all 41 instruments, so I know what they are. I found that the cellos are what I really like. I like the one I'm working on, but I need a new top; micro cracks all over. I kept looking at the cellos, especially the Guarneri, and the Celoniato. The Rugeri is cool too, and I have that poster. But, back to the question; what in the world is under that A string? Is that weight screwed on the G string a wolf suppressor?
  15. I have the veneer almost all on now. HHG. I have planed, and scraped them to size or started bending; but I have learned a lot: Have spare X-acto blades. Number each piece; there are 50 on each side. they are easily mixed up, or flipped, Everything falls apart then. Glue at least 3 at a time, so you can push them all together tightly. You don't want voids. They can be filled later, but it's easier to have them tight. Work upstairs where it is 65 or so, and not downstairs where it is 53. You will be more comfortable, and the glue will work better. I am comfortable outside in the sun at 53; not in a basement sitting. Use the magnifying glass with the light. The greatest thing is just the practice gluing. I don't glue everyday. Maybe not for months. To get the glue right is a good first step. I found that the new hot wax melting thing I have works great. It dropped the other on the floor! I bought a square ceramic container for the glue, and place it in water up to almost the edge of the top of the warmer, and the top of the container. It holds 2 teaspoons of glue, and 2 tablespoons of water. The container inside is about 4cm cubed. Don't try to mix less glue, this amount seems to work fine. I used to have a smaller container, and it was always trouble. You have to warm the water up first. The heater will gets too hot at first; to melt the wax; and then holds at about 150 or so. If you put the glue in from the beginning it gets too hot. It has a blinking light. When the light is solid it is hot. I don't put the container in until after that. I found the right viscosity. Not like water, Not like thick syrup. The glue will go right through the figured mahogany! Every set is another trip to the sink to wash your hands. Now, I have to finish the second side; that is going much better now that I figuring out the right way to do it. Then I can trim them down to about 1.5mm, or maybe less. The spruce and the mahogany are both about 1mm now. I don't want to even try to bend at 2mm. I think I'll glue linen on the top of the veneer. Maybe a piece of paper over that. I'll bend the first side I did first. If it comes out terrible, I'll make another. I might need to fill some gaps, but I don't think it will be that bad. I really don't want to make another. Maybe we'll see sometime next week if Dave Burgess is right. I think that he is.
  16. Very nice. Thanks for that Brad.
  17. Believe it or not Jezzupe, I've never heard Steve Vai before. I've heard people talk about him, but never heard anything by him that I know of. Looking him up, and I know some of the the people he played with, starting with Frank Zappa, but I don't recognize any song titles. I'm from an earlier age, 60's-70's. Yes, ELP, The WHO, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, that sort of thing, I like all kinds of music though. Prokofiev #5, Shostakovich #5, and all kind of symphonies. Steve can play. I saw this the other day. 7 string arch tops in the 90's. A far more intimate sound. Looks easy, doesn't it? The one guy is 80 or so. I think that the HHG will work. bend with just heat; maybe a wet paper on the spruce side. I'm still wondering about the casein. They did it hundreds of years ago! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAAbQWAYW3s
  18. I was just wondering about casein. It was around back then. I glued some linings once with some casein paste. No mess. I have no idea what recipe I used. It had good tack. Glue paper over the veneer, and then bend? CA doesn't melt till 360 degree or so!
  19. I'm making a tiny baroque guitar that never was. It was the guitar in A part of a double guitar by Voboam. The problem is that I'm putting one of the fancy veneer sides on it, that matches the back. They did this back in the 1600's. I asked on a guitar forum, and no one seems to know, or even think that it is possible. I know Strad had decorated ribs, done in mastic; but were they decorated first, and then bent? I would think so. Has anyone tried such a thing? This is what I have. The mahogany will be about .5 mm thick, and the spruce is 1mm. .5mm blacks between the pieces. Voboam would have used hide glue, wouldn't he. Would he add something to make it non reversible? This is an example of the BLING that they went for: This is the double guitar from 1690: Jimi Page, eat your heart out. Thanks for any suggestions. So far I have PU glue, and the triangles and diamonds will all fall off when you bend them!
  20. Jim, A couple years ago, I saw a photo of a Maggini Cello, and drew it up half size. The stop was just about 195mm so I turned it into a 380mm or so long 5 string. The Strad had a calendar insert from Weisshaar violin shop, and a couple years in a row they had the same Maggini violin. It comes out about 370 long, and the f holes are more slender like the cello, than the one that you are looking at. It seems that the instrument decided what it wanted! I'm not done with that one yet. I like starting, but finishing is my problem.
  21. Ken_N

    Shop Attire

    I never thought about what I wear to work. At the shop we had uniforms. At the forge shop they got filthy with all the graphite lube that they used for the dies. I wore a fresh one in, and change into a new one going home. Ear plugs were mandatory all the time, except in the lunch room. In the basement I wear a sweatshirt and maybe a hat in the winter. The coldest it got this year was 47 degrees. This morning it was 52. In the summer, it might be a balmy 75. I discovered that shoes are important. I dropped a violin neck blank on my big toe from the vise, and smashed it. The nail never has recovered. The first job I got as a lathe hand, the boss gave me a manual to look at over the weekend that came with the lathe when he bought it; way back when. The first thing that they told you to do was to tuck your tie into your shirt so you wouldn't get strangled. Seems logical. Yeah, the lathe WAS old. I did SEE TWO guys have their shirts ripped off by a grinding wheel! Rather exciting. But it happens so fast. Short sleeves if you are using grinders.
  22. The last couple of afternoons I've sharpened all my edge tools, and then polished them. I bought two double sided water stones to place some old stones I had about a year ago. I went through all 4 grits, and then remembered that I had some lapping paper from Woodcraft. I think it is 5,1, and .3 mil film. I hadn't used it. I went through the 'grits' with that, and the edges gleam! They should work better. Some even needed the pedestal grinder first. I didn't know that they were that bad. Sharpened the tools cut nice. I still have to watch the belly because the grain shifts direction every 3-4 inches. I worked on the belly some more, and it STILL does not move at all if clamped down, and pressed in the middle. I had a dial indicator on it. It doesn't move at all. 63 grams. I'm guessing the long arch is still too stiff? I know it will loosen up when I cut the f holes, but will it be enough? The edges all the way around are NOT stiff by any stretch of the imagination. Far from it. I could cut the f holes in, and see what happens. It would be nice to get it to move SOME first. The center of the lower bout is the biggest target.
  23. Starting to bring the Montagnana belly down close to finish. Roughing it didn't seem unusual; just spruce. It is Engelmann, but I think it was .46 or higher sg. I don't remember, I roughed some of it out a couple years ago. I have it getting close to thickness; from the outside, the inside is pretty much done. The measurements on the poster are very thin. 1.5-2.5 for most of it. 3mm in a band in the middle. The middle is 3-3.5 now, and most of the bouts are around 2.6 mm. The spruce is stiff. It has grain that seems to go all over. Not matter what way you approach it, it might not like it. I think it was from Idaho. That said. I think it is pretty good wood. It will just be a bear to finish it up nice. I'll have to use the magnifier for sure. It looks FAR worse in photos than it does to my eyes! If it is all smooth, it should look very cool. It is still a little thick in some spots, and the edges I think I'll do after gluing everything up. It started yesterday at 85 grams, and now it is 70, so almost 20 percent drop; mostly on the edge and recurve. It went from A 440 and G 98 to G 392 and F 87 That's just using my guitar. Apparently, the outside doesn't affect the mode 5 and mode1 or is it mode 2? I'll work on it some more now; probably more in the middle areas to bring them in. It is easier to see what they need when the edges and recurve are in. Then I can tackle cutting the f holes out, and trying to make it pretty. That might take a while. Ahh. I checked it on Audacity, and my guitar must be flat, and I hear a low note that isn't there. I have peaks at 155, 264 and 379
  24. Yeah, I was trying to bend it both ways! Lengthwise is simple. Crosswise must have been too much. It seemed like it was almost there. Maybe a flat plate first, and then glue on the doubling. I hadn't thought of that. This was 2 mm thick. With the doubling it weighed about 60g. It seems to me that the POcedar was on the high side of dense. .48 or so. It was pretty flexible, but the 3-3.5 mm edge kept it from being floppy. It pushed in fairly easily almost to the bottom of the form; so about 6-6.5 mm curve both ways. The long arch ends up looking like 15.5 mm or so. Just a flat piece, and then doubling might work. This is the form, and the diagonal bass bar: The diagonals hold the long arch in place. But I can't have the one going into sound post. so to add some cross grain, I thought the horizontal brace would work. It is much smaller than even most baroque guitars, and it doesn't have a sound hole being squished by 60 pounds of string pressure. And the bending should add a lot of strength.
  25. The bent one got easier for now. It split in half flexing it into the form. Spruce might work better. Maybe half carved, and half bent? The cross arch is the problem. So now I just have the Montagnana and the baroque guitar in A started. My life got easier. Cool! I like easier.
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