GlennYorkPA

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About GlennYorkPA

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  1. Is your reservation based on evidence or instinct?
  2. Thanks for the advice about the ebony. That's why I thought stained fruitwood might be acoustically better and more authentic. Making one isn't a problem but it would be more satisfying to have one which is truly contemporary with the instrument. Glenn
  3. So True. I've been scouring the internet for weeks for an 18thC violin tailpiece and the closest was an ivory one on ebay which was take down for CITES reasons, I guess. I'm looking for an ebony or black stained one.. Glenn
  4. Trick question. The correct answer is that both are genuine TS. I could restore the grey one on the right to look like the one on the left but I choose not to. Whereas synthetic plastics can produce a very convincing simulation of the genuine article, I have never seen anything come close to the effect on the right which resembles Damascus steel. It's all in the eye of the beholder but I think both are beautiful in their own ways. Glenn
  5. Now I'm confused. In your previous post you advocated the use of exotic wood for pegs such as ebony and rosewood. Glenn
  6. No, the question wasn't about preservation. It was about the possibility of restoration i.e. reversing the the effects of time. Very different from conservation which is always the ideal to strive for but if fate has dealt us possession of an old item which has already suffered the effects of chemicals, oxidation, uv or other radiation, insects, humidity and physical abuse, alternative strategies need to be considered. Glenn
  7. And yet, as Eric Meyer pointed out, box and fruitwoods were the original woods of choice so even ebony and self lubricating rosewood are evolutionary developments. But another part of the problem is the expansion and contraction of the pegbox itself but, don't worry, I'm not about to jump onto modern geared pegs without a lot of thought. I don't play much these days so the time spent tuning isn't a serious problem for me. Do you find any problems using gut for the tailpiece? Sensitivity to humidity in that place could be less easy to correct. Glenn
  8. I personally use extra virgin olive oil but I'm sure almond oil is just as good and more fragrant. These oils are excellent for maintenance but the restoration of an aged and patinated surface is a different matter. There is no single correct answer; some favor returning the old surface to its original appearance and some don't. Where value and money are involved, it is best to take a conservative approach but when these considerations are secondary to aesthetics, the individual can do whatever best pleases him leaving it to others and future generations to disparage or applaud his actions. Glenn
  9. The problem is that they were invented in the relatively gentle climate of Northern Europe. Here in Pennsylvania we are subject to great and rapid changes in temperature and, more importantly, humidity. Short of cocooning oneself in museum-like climate control, conventional pegs are a constant nuisance. The problem applies to most antiques made of natural materials which routinely crack and also our bodies. I need to baste myself with oils in the winter to calm the dry itching resulting from low humidity. I'm instinctively aversed to Wittner pegs but can't help feeling that somethings, including peg design, should have evolved over the last 400 years even if the violin itself has not. Glenn
  10. I've never taken the plunge to install Wittner pegs but you make a good point to use them with gut strungs. Do they need to be professionally fitted or can anyone do it? Glenn
  11. Here's a quick quiz. Which of these pictures shows genuine tortoise shell and which is celluloid? Glenn
  12. As a collector of anything made of TS I will advise against oils and abrasive powders in favor of leaving the material exactly as described. Unlike its many synthetic copies, genuine TS is unique in developing that gray surface you describe along with contour lines (like a relief map) seen at a glancing angle. These are diagnostic for the genuine article and much prized by collectors like myself. We don't share in the passion for adding a billiard ball shine to our antiques. It's OK to use a substitute frog and retain the original but please don't destroy the natural surface that 30 years of affection have bestowed on it. Glenn
  13. Gut strings require more tuning than modern strings because they are sensitive to humidity changes and stretching. How much of a nuisance is this and are fine tuners useful? Glenn
  14. Bill Watson will rightly be remembered as the last living link with the bowmaking tradition of the House of Hill. But he began his work with Hills as a case maker and it was in that context that most of our conversations took place. He recalled how the return of staff after WW11 brought with it great technical innovation to the Hanwell workshop. The invention of 'beetle cement' and lamination technology aimed at producing lighter and faster aircraft enabled his friend Ken Turtle to develop stronger and better cases which served as model for later generations of instrument cases. When I approached him about 5 years ago about making something for me (I have an early Watson bow which is my standard 'go to' playing bow) he laughed and said he had just finished making a bow box and wouldn't be able to take on any new commissions for about 5 years! Even in retirement his time and work was eagerly sought. What a fascinating and wonderful person he was. He will be much missed. Glenn
  15. David, This is very distressing news. He was a wonderful person to the point of being a living legend. Are you aware of any plans to memorialize his life and achievements? Glenn