Mark_W

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Everything posted by Mark_W

  1. Yaumnik, I'm late to the thread, as usual. I'll be interested to hear what Oster says. This fiddle is quite nice. It could be German, but the dimensions are just a hair off of what I'm used to seeing. Michael's age for it looks about right; I would say it's perhaps as old as 120 years.
  2. Good question. Buttons have been decorated at various times, but I don't think the crown was viewed that way in the Classic period. No one anticipated that instruments would last hundreds of years and be taken apart repeatedly. Restoration and preservation are more-or-less 20th century ideas. I like the look of a neatly-made crown as a sign of skillful repair.
  3. Mark_W

    UV drying cabinet

    Agreed; in general the higher the frequency, the greater the penetration and the greater the potential for damage. I suspect that many sterilization-type UV sources emit both UVB and UVC because of the way they're manufactured.
  4. Mark_W

    UV drying cabinet

    Quote: I disagree with several points on this post ,especially concerning blacklights.Where does this information come from?? Blacklights are UVA and sterlisation lamps are usually shortwave UVC(which is the type that can cause cell mutation ,etc... along with UVB) From the standpoint of cell damage, UVC is actually less dangerous than the lower-frequency UVB. As the wavelength goes below 290 nm, the energy is absorbed in the outer epidermal layer. Still hazardous, of course. In the UVB (290-320 nm) ranges, cellular DNA damage can occur.
  5. It sounds like you're talking about a button crown, a piece of ebony used to build up the wood lost by repeated removal of the neck over time. It is seen on reproductions as part of the antiquing process.
  6. "For me I've always felt that restortation work required more patience. I've done jobs where it felt like I could have made a new instrument/part with the time I spent fixing up the old one." You're right, of course, Daryl. I guess I make a distinction between fixing and restoring. A professional restorer might take months to convert a valuable wreck into a beauty with invisible repairs. I'm not at that level. I do delight in making solid repairs and improving the setup and sound. Occasionally I'm successful. Recently I work on no violins but my own, so the pressure is off.
  7. This appears to violate eBay standards, in that it invites or incites a fraudulent act.
  8. For all that there are plenty of good fiddles around, the violin still has the worst price-to-performance ratio of any orchestral instrument. I think a lot of craftsmen still imagine the 100-200 hour investment presents an interesting challenge. Also, there's plenty of money around for luxuries these days. People will buy something handmade. For myself, I made a decision some time ago that I'd rather fix up old stuff. Making requires more patience than I have, frankly.
  9. The book's copious photographs are its best feature. Text is rather sparse, which led one of our experts here to criticize it as a coffee table book. I wouldn't be quite that harsh, but I can see the point. Contrary to its apparent style, it is not a book for the complete beginner. Much is assumed about the reader's ability to sharpen and use tools, for example. All in all, it's a good addition to the maker's library. By the way, Barker's husband is Sir James Beament, author of 'The Violin Explained'. This is to my mind an indispensable little volume for those who don't have time to read abstruse technical works about violin acoustics. Not everyone will agree with the author's iconoclastic conclusions, however.
  10. Certainly there are lots of bad Stainer copies with similarities to bad Klotz copies. Neither of the genuine articles is as 'puffy' as the bad copies, for example. Some individual members of the Klotz family were influenced by Stainer, at least in the 18th century. When you get to the 19th century shop models, some of which are pretty good, the similarity is gone. F-holes are different, and the rather blunt corners don't resemble Stainer, either.
  11. I'm no expert in wood identification, but I agree this doesn't look like Big Leaf. The refractive effect is gratifying to know about, though. That's a very carefully selected piece of tonewood. I hope you take Jeffrey's advice and have someone familiar with Erdesz's work examine it.
  12. "Do you remember if any conclusions were drawn from, first "real" good instruments?...were these compared to admittedly bad instruments?" Hutchins and Frederick Saunders did have access to famous instruments. Whether they were the absolute best, I was not and am not qualified to say. Saunders's research in the 1950s definitely included so-called bad violins. "...when I saw the Octet at the National Music Museum, and played them. They were horribly made..." Maybe so. The Octet was an engineering effort to move the principal resonances close together in instruments of disparate size. Hutchins rather humorously numbers her instruments "SUS___(#)" a Latin joke. (The word means 'Pig'.) I don't think workmanship was the point. She did study part time for eight years with a 'real' violin maker, whose work I've seen. I think Hutchins and the CAS over the years have made an honest and useful effort, but not a decisive one. After several decades of research, we know how to avoid constructing distinctly bad violins, but have not learned how to make great ones. There is no specification for a 'perfect' violin, and there probably never will be.
  13. The history of mode tuning shows that people were persuaded by what measurements of good violins told them. I read the 1981 article (in 1981, then being a Scientific American subscriber) that got so many makers fired up on the subject. The conclusion that violins with consistently fine tone could be produced thereby was not so aggressively advanced as some have perceived. The author made it plain that one must have mastered traditional techniques before such methods can be applied. Unfortunately there are makers out there who are convinced that a pure engineering approach to violin making will eventually vitiate the craft aspect, except for cosmetics.
  14. That's a fascinating violin, Glenn. I wonder about the wood, though. I've encountered Big Leaf maple in furniture work. I've never seen perpendicular rays so strongly marked. Usually it has a quilted appearance. When you rotate the wood, do you get any kind of dichroic or 3D effect?
  15. Mark_W

    Amati feedback

    I can't add to what's been published on these very famous makers, but I would be cautious of any description (even from Sotheby's) that includes the word 'ascribed'. What it means is that the auction house has no idea what it is. It may be Italian, it may be interesting. What it probably isn't is Amati.
  16. I'm in agreement with GlennYork. The Wurlitzer outfit was a general music shop that sold shopmade imports as well as the work of domestic makers. I'd rate the Glier violins slightly above the imports. I believe they cost a bit more originally and there are fewer of them in the market.
  17. Only that the form looks familiar to me in a way it shouldn't. I don't have a good eye for classic Italian violins, so when I see something that looks 19th century Central European or English, for example, I then eliminate Italian as a possibility. Not the most valid way to make a judgement, perhaps, but 'what it isn't' is often safer than 'what it is'. My computer monitor at work is much darker than it should be, so I don't have a good read on the varnish. Mark
  18. Nice pictures, but are you sure Peter of Venice didn't take a side trip along the way?
  19. Mark_W

    Neck "give"

    "...the top block can pivot forward under full string pressure - lowering the fb more than the normal amount." I've experienced this when making a new top block to replace one I destroyed when resetting the neck. I think it's more likely this, than an improperly glued FB.
  20. A slight digression, but I recall reading that AS added lac resins to his very late work. This may point to no more than an apprentice assisting him near the end, but it also seems to mean that there was no single, magic formula for the Cremona varnish.
  21. The maker who taught me a few things is famed for (1) almost never being there, and (2) for remaking violin top plates until they satisfy him--not the customer. I assume his production is very low. I think luthiers come in two varieties--difficult people who are experimental and eclectic, and difficult people who are wedded to a fixed set of ideas. This difficult luthier says violins are about the wood, the wood and the wood. He laughs at varnish formulas.
  22. Mark_W

    Strad Poll

    Because of the way human hearing works, a very close comparison between one sound source and another (i.e., very short interval between tests, using identical material) is required to discern any difference. Michael, if I recall, we once discussed this in a private message, and I was persuaded by your contention that the effect could be noticed while both handling and listening to the instruments. For the purpose of the concert hall audience, perhaps there is a wine-tasting analogue such as we discussed in an earlier thread: Even a side-by-side comparison doesn't tell you as much as your subsequent decision to buy a few more cases of the more expensive stuff...
  23. Mark_W

    Strad Poll

    Jessie, I can't imagine a listener hearing the difference, either. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra sounds no better than it did before receiving the Axelrod collection, which does include Strads and other fine instruments. Their presence may attract better players and change the sound that way; I don't know. I have no argument whatever with the contention that certain instruments are coveted by the world's best players for reasons other than rarity and prestige. Any musician knows that the playing qualities of an instrument are paramount. Notwithstanding this, listening tests over the years have failed to confirm a putative Strad effect on an audience's concert hall experience. I've pursued this in previous threads and have never received a link or a citation of any test or study that tended to confirm it.
  24. Mark_W

    Strad Poll

    Normal people do access Strads in shops. They probably don't learn much, though. How many people could put a Formula 1 car through a lap without cracking it up?