Jim Bress

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    : Maryland, USA

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  1. Thanks for the added details Michael. As Nathan says, I'm only dealing with new making. I've saved yours and Nathan's notes, and will be using them later this year with my first cello neck set. Cheers, Jim
  2. Perfect, thanks. I can see using a height gauge for multiple tasks now that I’ve brought it out of retirement.
  3. Nathan, Even though how to take this measurement seems obvious, I just wanted to check my understanding of this method. I took the fiddles I have to my kitchen island, that has a granite countertop, because that was easier than cleaning up the shop that's got several projects running. The method seems very sensitive. Even fiddles that I think of as having straight necks are measurably off. What I did was shim the violins so the top plate is square to the surface, and then take the height measurement at the center of the nut on one side, then flip to the other side and repeat. Sound about righ
  4. The toxicity exposure route is primarily through inhalation or ingestion (including incidental ingestion). Dermal contact can result in dermatitis. These risks are for the person making or applying the potassium dichromate. There are no adverse health risks associated with these applications to the end user (musician). Just the facts, not advise on whether or not to use the chemicals. However, as said above, and which applies to many chemical uses, proper PPE for the chemical should always be used. Cheers, Jim
  5. Mike, A very nice first! For spirit varnishing, a good brush makes a world of difference. Also thinning varnish can help brushability. Shellac alone can make a decent ground, but if you're sticking with spirit varnish (vs. oil), a violin spirit varnish recipe will be a definite improvement over straight shellac. Try not to fall down the rabbit hole. Cheers, Jim
  6. Built from the heart, all the better. Although selling it is best. I hope I get to hear it.
  7. Yes, both treble and bass sides will distort in opposite direction, but not perfectly. There is also longitudinal distortion. "Correcting" the long arch is less straightforward, and providing advice here is overreaching my experience level. There is a long arch thread pinned at the top of the pegbox under reference links. After making your cross arches, you can then cut them in half making half-arch templates which can then fit a range of long arch shapes and heights (within reason).
  8. One strategy (that I use) for the cross arches is to trace the cross arches, then flip the tracing paper over and retrace so that the treble and bass sides are overlapping. Then make your template so that it averages the two lines.
  9. Nice! Is this for someone, or did you just need to make it?
  10. Gerard, While you cup is empty (chinese proverb reference), have a look at the various violin making schools photos of what students are making. Probably through facebook or instagram. The attention to detail and quality that some of these students can produce under instruction can be quite humbling, or inspirational, depending on your frame of mind.
  11. Agree, London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia) which is a hybrid of American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis). Common names often lead to confusion.
  12. I recently bought a LN 103 that I will set up as a dedicated fb plane. I already have a LN 102 that is in daily use.
  13. Nice rant. This has been an interesting thread for me. I'm in my second career and retirement (again) is getting reasonably close. I started down the violin making path around 2012 and have made half as many instruments as yourself. Going to VM school has always sounded attractive to me (I like school). Some professional makers have seen my work and have asked "if you can do this why go to school? you'll just be wasting your time". However, in life I have learned that the more you know, the more you are able to learn from the same lesson. I don't know if I'll go to VM school when I retire,