not telling

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  1. I got the impression that through personality changes and abnormal forgetfulness in other areas of his life, Womack was doing violin making as an in-house pro on Monday, and on Tuesday he had a total breakdown about having forgotten his skillset. It's just a horror story. The years of decline in other areas when one knows that day might be coming, too. Shudder. I don't know details...why he parted ways with Alex Ross in Omaha, or the exact work he did for Lisle. But Alex Ross used to speak of Womack almost reverently ("That bench over there? That was Mark Womack's"; "Mark Womack mentored some of our luthiers"; "We actually have a Mark Womack viola in right now!", etc.) I'm sorry about your father. I can relate. My mother though, and she was not accomplished in any field, but it would be nice if she recognized my face by now, or even remembered about having a daughter. Actually, she did remember that, but in her head I always stayed a newborn. Whenever I see her (not often) I have to meet her for the first time again and convince her that I am that newborn, but that several years passed in the meantime. It's a routine that is more than unpleasant for everyone.
  2. I heard anyone who knew Mark Womack knew about this a long time ago, but wow. He was active as a vm long into his illness. Just goes to show... he was well-known. Talented. Young. His adult daughter contributed to the article...he had to be in his 40's when this began. Alzheimer's and this FTD scares me to death, honestly. I always kind of assumed it's less likely to present as an issue for folks who work with their hands or even anyone who regularly thinks three-dimensionally, and I assumed playing music helps protect the brain too. The possibly very wrong idea being, you keep the neurons healthier longer with all of the hand eye coordination. But maybe not? Obviously it's genetic too, and if it's written (in the DNA), it'll happen. Anyway, I read this with much interest (and much horror) and thought such an article was worth sharing. I also find this to be an uncomfortable topic because of my family history, and presumably it's actually probably very unpleasant for anyone to think of, but worth reading the article maybe. I certainly don't expect comments, there's just not that much anyone could say. It's an awful story (even if it's interesting). Is Mark Womack alive and reading this article about himself?
  3. Uh...gee...thanks...I think. Both are evocative images, I guess. I think I mentioned before about the fine cello and violas and some violins that were made from off cuts of the pipe organ chests manufacturing process. My husband works at the pipe organ factory too, and naturally it pains him to see perfectly serviceable poplar, maple, and spruce thrown out. So he can't let that happen. The wood was plain, but suitable for shop model instruments. So, a step up from altered factory instruments for sure, as they were handmade start to finish basically by one person only... and also, these were not meant to compete with the signature instruments from anyone at the shop. I've always wondered where they ended up. The dealer, a big one in Minnesota, always had a buyer before they were done.
  4. The United States isn't just one place, that's what I like about it. But why not poke fun a little! Come on, I'm from the Great State of Kansas. I've heard all about myself and my part of the country from people who have never set foot here. At least I've been to Appalachia, and I even like it. I'm a sucker for all those gem mining tourist traps out that way. My grandma taught in Asheville and started to raise kids there. Asheville is rather more civilized than the surrounding area, but I have nothing against either. You will always hear about Deliverance and I will always get Wizard of Oz and the Scopes II hearings (2005). On the first day of college biology my teacher sneered at me for being from Kansas. I didn't take it personally. I knew the biology teacher from Kansas in the middle of the b.s. One more sophisticated and romantic rube once brought up the free love movement history of Kansas, like, heyyyy....Kansas.... excellent.... I guess hoping I believed in those ways. I like where I'm from well enough. No one's saying you don't do serious work. I know you do, I've heard of you. No need for the chip on your shoulder. Life is too short. Stereotypes have their place, but everyone can think past them too. I'm definitely not better than Deliverance references. I resent that you would suggest that. That movie is more scary than anything I've ever seen, much like the entire decade of the 1970's in which it was filmed ((no, I never saw the 70's, but I am sure it was all hideous and terrifying)). But, ok, that concept would work in certain bits of Northern California, some areas of Florida or Louisiana, Montana... pretty much anywhere isolated. Anywhere with cities and you would expect amateurs to find a serious shop and ask some questions. And then, as a result of those serious answers, one would expect the all-spruce fiddle to not happen. I can only hope.
  5. Likes the way you think. Straight varnished instruments are beautiful when they are done right, and they show off the luthier's skills fully. Antiquing a personal model is very head-scratching stuff. Any antiquing is kind of tragic. Make a perfect corner, wear it down to a nub, repeat 7 times? However, one thing... great antiquing is great antiquing. I don't think Nedelec or Phillips make cheap-looking instruments, do you? Unfortunately a lot of folks are antiquing, but are not great at it. Almost all antiquing could be compared with new Chinese cheap product, and sometimes (too often), unfavorably. Antiquing should not be used mostly to hide errors in making...that doesn't work.
  6. Did you watch Laguna videos? The blade will need so little callibrating. Not spending 15 minutes preparing and adjusting to make 5 minutes of cuts is reason enough. Delta is impossible to find. Almost. Keep your eyes open and fingers crossed, otherwise, until that frabjuous day you find one, the Laguna looks sweet.
  7. Wow, Joe! Looks great. And it looks like you really figured out how to make varnish too. Excellent, awesome. I'm happy for you and glad to see you are back. (Have nothing to offer you on soundpost selection, sorry)
  8. Watch out, you're starting to sound like me. At least say why it wouldn't work, since you know why and OP does not. Maybe he should try it and see what happens. This thread promises to be as fun as that guy living in the Appalachian mountains who wanted to make varnish out of deer fat and pine tar and was going to name his violin Thoreau. He was going to use only a few sharpened spoons and a penknife, and had the wood of some trees he felled in the deepest most 'Deliverance"-ish wilderness imaginable. Ok, that never happened. But it should happen. It's always at least a little bit fun to watch folks make something that has never been done before. Or at least, that they think hasn't been done before. Apparently the all-spruce fiddle has happened. I bet it sounds like several pounds of cold butter thudding on granite after being dropped about two feet. But I don't know for sure.
  9. I'm saying there's nothing wrong with shop models, either made primarily by an apprentice or reworked factory instruments made better by an apprentice or other maker. You have to say what it is though. All of the rental instruments and budget models in this shop my husband worked in had been made into very excellent instruments, as good as they could be. Normally my husband did this job. Not only is there nothing wrong with doing this, it's best practices and the good ones are all doing this. Not everyone has shop models, but same thing. It's best for the customers to have playable instruments at every budget. I think it's cool if a maker has an apprentice who is making violins...really making them..., then you can sell those violins as a special shop model and recoup what you pay the apprentice and then some, while the apprentice is paid to learn. That's what Ken Beckmann did when my husband worked for him. I think it works well for all involved. Certainly not everyone does that, not everyone has an apprentice. So thoroughly worked over, scraped, and oil-varnished factory instruments are usually called the shop models, and no one is saying that is wrong either. Exactly what I was saying...some makers may lie about their Benchmade work. You would be shocked, I guess, to realize that once instruments reliably sell for over $20,000 someone might get both lazy and greedy. If working on pricing with an instrument that took 30 hours instead of 300, they might cut their customer a deal just because (hey, for you buddy, I can let this go for $16,000). Even a "good maker"... might not be a good person. Some ways the dirty deed is done: Reworked factory instruments... request the factory to leave them unlabeled. Send the factory nice wood and possibly nicer fittings, to remove some obvious tells of cheap factory instruments. Most likely the seller completes the full setup. Maybe even the layout and drilling of peg holes, not sure, but a professional may have different standards there. Buy piecework scrolls from someone who does fine scrolls to help hide the factory origins of the body...and yes, there are scroll specialists because there is a market! I'm not thinking too deeply about this...just saying that it happens and there are different ways to cut corners depending on whom you're hoping to convince
  10. Not most, but many. My husband learned a lot by being the one in a reputable shop who completed these makeovers of factory work. How many would sell such a product as their own Benchmade instruments, I can say it's far more than I would have imagined based on *what I heard*. You or someone can say screw what I heard, and not be wrong. I made a post awhile back based on this hearsay. Reliable source, yes. But I will never say who said it. I was infomally asking about this screwed up practice, like OP here. It would be wrong to give examples of prominent makers who make a living on this b.s. business model. Fun to watch the fallout, maybe, because ... yes, I think it should be known who is definitely deceiving buyers... but I don't want to be banned from these forums forever so I'm not going to be the one to say it. Not today. But I guarantee every prominent maker has an idea of who does this. It's a small community.
  11. Everything E has is rare and collectible. But sometimes that doesn't mean it gets used. Maybe this is just a Kondo-ization. Think of it that way, E. Just keep what you love and what brings you which I mean, keep what you need, and very few things that you love to look at but don't use much. Correct me if I'm wrong, but for me feeling real, actual joy in a thing only comes from use, and I assume that is more or less true for everyone. Lots of times E has put up awesome items on Maestronet for sale, only to decide they're still awesome. Which they are. The B & C cradle, for example. Awesome, beautiful, but maybe not the absolute most essential item to own. It wasn't getting utilized fully, and the act of putting it up for sale, the idea of no longer having it, made him start using it. The difference is I guess now being forced into parsing everything he has down to what is required for building the instruments. I hope he can begin to think of this as a positive thing, if it must happen. Channel Guadagnini building great violins on his kitchen table. Yeah, piecemeal is more money, but also takes more time/energy and is more painful if you're prone to having second thoughts about selling individual items. But there are surely folks who would hit buy it now on the whole lot. In a way that is going to be way easier, once you find that person. Who would want to deal with hundreds of people saying how beautiful your stuff is (because it is), and swiping it all bit by bit? Not me, and I will bet, not E either. Bandaid method, definitely.
  12. Shit. This is terrible. And we all know that you buy the best of everything. Forgive me for being a little bit excited about the possibility of getting ahold of some of your knives at a bit of a discount, not that I can afford to, but maybe. Either way, you won't have a bit of trouble selling. And believe me, whatever is going on, I feel terrible for you. Your house too? Maybe it's a good thing...are you expatriating to Tahiti to be massaged by 25-year-old models all day? That, I hope. Raise a ton of money, and go have some fun. If I had a choice between paying for a $200,000 medical treatment, for example, or being massaged all day in Tahiti, and if I were already over 65 (no little kids at home), I know which one I would prefer. Masseuses with large, strong hands and the South Pacific, obviously. VdA has, I believe, a very good idea. If you're actually going to sell everything, just sell it all one time. Advertise at the schools (the big 3 in the US at least, and maybe at New Hampshire and others too). It'll be like pulling off one giant bandaid...a bandaid attached with some sort of space age super glue. Sure, you'll tear yourself apart pulling it off, but at least it's one painful memory, not each tool going one by one. You'll be giving someone a full shop of tools and yourselves very fast cash. It sounds like the best way to do this depends on how much time you have to sell everything. I probably suck at consoling anyone about anything, not that you asked for consoling. Sorry though. Truly, this sounds like some seriously sad news.
  13. Fwiw, an under $10 2-lens tool called "loopy loupe" is his favorite one out of several I ordered. It clips to his glasses and he gets instant almost weightless adjustability with magnification for his eye, exactly where needed. For anyone else working with one strong eye, this might be your best solution too.
  14. Yeah, true, it's almost like I implied that the future sucks.