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H_Axel's Achievements


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  1. About 3-3.5 inches. Here’s a piece alongside a block I cut back half an inch at a time to get past the checks. Not high quality maple—silver maple—but it had a little figure and an interesting ribbon effect like African mahogany. Burned real good. I kept a couple of chunks.
  2. I take your point about needing to be careful with wax but I had a bad experience sealing some urban forest collected maple. I used a liberal coating of latex but the checks went 4-5 inches into each end. I had to throw it all away (burned it actually). Differing climates could be a factor. Today, here in Denver it’s 95 degree F with about 10% humidity. Ontario is probably more like Michigan though. H
  3. Waxy sealers are much better than paint. In my experience in a dry climate, latex paint doesn’t do much to prevent checking. Melted paraffin (wax in US, not British kerosene) works too. When you debark, look closely to see if there are any holes from beetle larvae. It there are, be sure to split off the outer portion until you have clean wood. It’s usually only a problem in dead timber but check to be sure. The key to splitting is to always split your piece in halves. If you attempt to split a violin thick piece off a larger chunk, it will probably veer off into something too thin. Instead, split your rounds in half. Split half into quarters, and quarters into eighths until you reach the correct thickness. As long as you split halves, the splits will mostly be even. Allow a little extra to compensate for nature’s foibles. You’ll make a lot of kindling if you don’t know this trick. On Sim Chamber’s tonewood field trip, we used cheap Harbor Freight hatchets as splitting wedges. Try to read the grain and use natural checking if possible. Even if you don’t get usable tops, you may get blocks, bass bars or sound posts. At a minimum , you’ll learn a lot about spruce and get some good exercise! I don’t know if Sim is running his trip this year because of the virus, but if/when he does it again, it’s a great experience. He’s a great teacher and you’ll get a LOT of practice processing spruce. H
  4. Not sure if it’s the best for this repair but clear epoxy takes dry tints very well. You can also mix in fine dust from same or similar wood to get a good match. Wood dust will also increase the viscosity and improve strength and gap filling. On a cheap bow, you could just fill the hole with epoxy+wood dust. I used this trick to repair a missing corner on a cheap 1/2 size ebony frog once. After curing and sanding you could hardly see the repair. Ignore this and wait for the experts if it’s a good bow!
  5. Sim had several large Stihl chainsaws and did the felling and cross cutting. The team did the bulk of the splitting and waxing under Sim’s guidance using his hammers and wedges. Sim also supplied the AnchorSeal we used to seal the bolt ends. Like Alex, I got a ton of wood. Team Epic (the second crew) included Alex Reza, Evan Smith and his son, Dirk Henry, Mike Jones and me. Hal
  6. Sim is a generous and knowledgeable host. His cabin is beautiful and you’ll have a great time. We cut and processed a ton of nice Engelmann spruce and found some great standing logs that we didn’t have time to work last year. Here’s Team Epic with stacks of cello bolts in front of Sim’s cabin.
  7. OT : a few years ago I found a Taylor Big Baby guitar with an absolutely wild bearclaw Sitka top. At the time my wife had an almost new Big Baby with a plain top so I bought the Bearclaw to A/B the sound. These entry-level Taylors have mahogany veneer plywood back and sides so there’s probably very little difference except for the top. They sounded exactly the same to me.
  8. It looks like mild bearclaw to me. (Also called hasel fichte by our German friends.) Bearclaw is a somewhat common grain aberration that can appear in spruce from any area so it’s not really a signature of a particular place or specific log. When it’s distinct and regular, I like how it looks for guitar tops. Violins, being smaller and having a carved surface, don’t normally show the pattern as well so it just looks random. A while back, some guitar builders were claiming it increases lateral stiffness and therefore improves the sound. That idea seems to have fallen out of favor. H
  9. That sounds like a real burden. Peace of mind and being able to feel safe and secure is important. As for your violin, why not get a gun safe? They’re not that expensive and very secure and roomy.
  10. The only reasonable alternative would be ounces. Most people would prefer 64.5 g to 2.275 ounces. Too many decimal places make it hard to comprehend small variations. In general, the thing seem to determine the units. Astronomers use light years for distance. The official SI unit of time is the second, but even the most hardcore metric adherent still uses minutes, hours, days, weeks and years. The world abounds in inconsistencies.
  11. Has anyone tried this on tonewood instead of Anchorseal? WR Meadows wax emulsion concrete sealer: https://www.wrmeadows.com/1300-clear-water-wax-base-concrete-curing-compound/ It was mentioned as a low cost substitute for Anchorseal seal on a sawmill board. It’s about 1/3 the cost with much greater availability through concrete and block suppliers.
  12. Here’s some pictures from Sim’s tonewood field trip last August. We stood the billets up and then smeared Anchor Seal on each end. It starts out white but dries to a waxy finish. Colorado is pretty dry so we got them waxed within 8 hours of cutting and splitting.
  13. There’s been some good advice on various shop on this thread but depending on where you live, you might also find good deals on Craigslist. Here in Denver decent student violins frequently show up. I’ve seen good deals on “intermediate” name brand violins like Yamaha, Kohr, Eastman, etc. These typically sell for 25-50% of retail. Sometimes a better grade will turn up in your price range. I watched a Robertson “von Aue” shop violin on CL. Originally around $1500, over several months it dropped to less than $800 before disappearing from CL. The von Aue violins are imported European violins that are finished and set up by Robertson much like the Doetsch violins were previously done by Weavers (line now owned by Eastman). Anyway, I think the are good values out there, the trick is to be patient. Setting up searches and being notified as soon as new items appear also helps since the better the deal, the quicker they sell. H
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