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Everything posted by reepicheep

  1. I had to share this one... never seen anything like it before!
  2. You're right, actually I was going to say "or at least the beginnings of one". It's not all the way to the soundpost yet, but it doesn't look good. At least, I wouldn't buy a fiddle with that crack on the back. Also I have no clue what the pink highlighted thing is.. another weird crack?
  3. Even though I know it's probably a bad idea, I still go through Ebay listings pretty regularly. The particular listing I'm posting is one of three by the same seller. The first one is a very American thing by a maker from Walla Walla Washington. Having grown up in Purdy Washington I know precisely where that is, and I'm frankly stunned anybody was even surviving there in 1900 let alone making fiddles. We were still on well water and feral banty chickens in the 70's. But I digress. In the first listing, the seller says "I know very little about stringed instruments". The second listing is your standard "Stainer"-stamped factory fiddle that somebody tried their darndest to fix (aww!) No additional commentary on violin knowledge. The third listing (attached) is where it gets amusing. The seller has gone from "very little" knowledge to a rather sudden Tyrolean attribution and (the best part) calling out a Caressa & Francais inventory number in the pegbox. Granted I personally don't know what one of those looks like but the seller seems pretty sure. They go on to state that they can't identify the maker (wait, now you can identify makers?) but if one could assign a maker then it would most certainly be a screamin' deal! Other noteworthy aspects of the listing are the perfectly good straight-on photos of the top and back, both of which were cut in half so you really can't see the entire outline properly, and the equally obtuse photos of the scroll. I also enjoy the passing mention of "much restoration"... yeah, um... there's a soundpost crack on the back. It's just kinda funny is all
  4. Ohh! that's an idea... I might know somebody who can do that job for me! Beulah a.k.a. B-Dog is such a suave character! I believe the Rat Pack would refer to him as "koo-koo"
  5. OH! This reminds me, I have a fiddle with whalebone purfling! It's really cool, American, made by N.O. Billings here in the Pacific Northwest. I think it was made in the 1930s or so but I don't recall exactly. I bought it off of Craigslist about 10 years ago.and I haven't really seen it since, it's at my friend's shop. While trying to research the maker, I found a very awesome old black and white photo of him on ebay, and the listing mentioned it was a photo of a PNW violin maker! I recently found that photo while cleaning out a spare room, and finally brought it to my friend's shop on Saturday to go with the fiddle. I'll borrow them both for a bit and get some photos to share in a few weeks... it's a pretty cool package!
  6. Well all of it is 100% better than I could do, whoever made it! I agree the inside work is nice, and of course I like it overall or I wouldn't have bought it. But having never built a violin or learned how, I'm just going on looks. I think once it's back together it should sound good, since it was graduated so well. Does the ebony purfling indicate anything about origin?
  7. Oh, I didn't take the top off, my Actual Professional Luthier friend did I wouldn't ever try that! Also, the top was almost all off already, and we wanted to see inside! I'm a collector that apparently hasn't yet learned to stop bringing fiddles like this to him, much to his chagrin! I am not familiar with construction techniques, and I'm definitely not a luthier or an expert repairer. I'm just one of those people who keeps trying to find a gem on ebay, then drags it to my friend's shop for inspection. This is just my report back about the conclusions after somebody who knows a WHOLE lot more than I ever will has looked at it in person. As I recall some of the "not necessarily what a professional luthier would do" things were the weird neck blocks and end blocks, the wonky bass bar placed at a ??? angle, the neck set in way too far at 9mm, and the overall "tubbiness" of the pattern. He mentioned there are also characteristically American qualities in general which in combination with these construction methods point towards that being the origin.
  8. All righty, it's a rip-roarin' Saturday night, and the top is off! Here are some more details: Well graduated to Strad numbers, thin in the bouts. The purfling has ebony blacks and maple centers The blocks are spruce, and the linings are a mixture of willow and spruce. At least two other repairers have opened it, judging by the work on the cleats. LOB 359 The neck is set in 9mm There are enough non-professional things about it, and other characteristics to conclude that it is American The scroll may be German The fingerboard has a "batman" style end.
  9. Like I said... sucker But I've learned a lot in these five pages!
  10. I like it, too. I'm a sucker for the individualistic underdog... as I stated at the beginning of this 5 page thread!
  11. I hadn't asked this earlier, and maybe I missed the explanation, but is there a reason the scroll and ribs so much worse than the top and back? Just thickness of varnish?
  12. >Morritz calls lab for results< ".... yes, I asked to isolate an organic compound.....?" >drops papers, elevator door closes< It's the Red Pimple Violin!
  13. Wow, this is quite a discussion, thanks everybody for the great information, I really appreciate it! I will definitely leave the fiddle in its original state and not mess with the varnish. As Dave Slight mentioned, I was one of five people bidding on it so maybe some day it will find a new home as-is
  14. Yeah it's pretty sad... like I said I'm a sucker for lost causes! If my friend is willing to work on it I'll probably just keep it for myself. Amusingly I was one of five people bidding on it, I didn't expect any competition at all! I just thought it could be a good one, despite the varnish. Also I have a bad habit of sometimes buying things to find out what they are
  15. Thanks PhilipKT! Definitely, there will be more photos forthcoming. I like it too! And I'm also curious what if anything can be done with the varnish, or if it's best to just leave it.
  16. Yep, no label or brand or anything inside, and no evidence of removed labels. It's about 355 and really delicate, the scroll is tiny. Pale yellow linings and an elongated D shaped neck block of pink-ish wood with "wings" on each side that continue kind of into the linings about 1/2 "... I'm not at all well versed in construction so I don't know if that is weird or not! The interior work looks nice to me from what I can see. There is one small repair under the top lobe of the treble f hole, just one cleat. The top will definitely come off when I get it to my friend's shop! He'll probably hit me over the head with it first LOL
  17. It may be clear by now that I'm a huge sucker for sad fiddles listed on eBay usually with horrible photos. I just wanted to share the latest one The seller used the term "alligator-ing" to describe what happened to the varnish. I've seen it before but not to this extent. It's like folk art at this point! He said it was from being in a hot attic for many years. On a side note the seller shipped the fiddle in the case. Period. Slapped a label on the outside of one of those old cardboardy antique cases, wrapped it around a few times with priority mail tape, and stuck it in the mail from the East Coast to Seattle. A couple plastic grocery bags underneath was the extent of the packing. I can't believe it didn't get crushed on the way!
  18. Aside from violins, I also collect Native American silver/turquoise jewelry and Victorian jewelry. I have gotten screaming deals on Shopgoodwill in the past, and I think I also bought a couple OK fiddles (nothing great). But about eight years ago while researching a diamond bracelet, I found out something that put me off of wanting to buy anything else from shopgoodwill. As I researched this (very distinct) bracelet, I discovered that it had been purchased from eBay the week before. Exact same bracelet with the same "jewelry appraisal" and everything. I tried to research the buyer and got nowhere; just that they had bought a lot of other random jewelry that looked expensive but (to my eye anyway) was dubious; horrible quality stones, sketchy hallmarks etc. Anyway, I doubt somebody bought a $500 bracelet on eBay then went straight to goodwill to donate it. They were asking $3,500 buy-it-now, with the sketchy appraisal paper stating the value at $6,500 or something. Maybe it was just one particular goodwill but that kind of soured me on buying from them for quite awhile.
  19. Wow I hadn't noticed that! But yeah, just schmutz.
  20. Thanks Morgana! The cat was thought to be female by his previous owners of eleven years, so he was named Beulah. We took him to the vet for the first time and the vet informed us that Beulah is in fact a male Of course I didn't change his name. He's got the typical Tuxedo attitude but is also very affectionate... when he needs something from you! We've determined the bow is Nippon, and it's bent. Ah well. The top is being glued back on today so I'm very interested to see how it will sound!
  21. Nice! Don't bring up the strings though.... LOL
  22. Hah! He really thought it was all for him! This is another shot, right after I asked him what he was doing up on the chair. He's a ham for the camera