ChrisBurt

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About ChrisBurt

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  • Birthday 04/19/1951

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    Sequim, Washington, USA

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  1. For the sake of accuracy, because the title of this thread could be misleading, "Ashoken Farewell" is a modern tune written in 1982 by Jay Unger to celebrate the annual music camp that Jay and his wife Molly Unger run. It was played in the documentary, "The Civil War." I love to play this tune, and have run into several people who learned it from the soundtrack of "The Civil War" documentary and who are convinced that the tune is from the mid nineteenth century.
  2. I learned from someone who apprenticed for five years with Rene' Morizot, a former head of the French School in Mirecourt. I was taught to make knives from old straight razors--the wedge shaped ones, not the heavily hollow-ground ones, cause you have to grind the thickness of the razor's spine down to the desired thickness. Bridge knives were made from gravers. The cross section of both would account for a triangular cross section. I wrote an article for the Guild of American Luthiers, very early in the life of that organization, on the knifemaking process. The article is probably in their first Big Red Book. We, myself and the other apprentices, would test a razor's metal quality with a light pass of a small mill file; a higher pitched sound and a sliding feel indicated better quality steel. We'd buy new gravers.
  3. Damping wood and then sanding is a time honored finishing technique. I was taught to repeat the process three times. Nothing difficult or tricky about it, as long as you're not dunking the corpus straight into water. The key word in Jim's technique is "damped." I like his idea of leaving the grain as is, after the quick evaporation of the hot water, for the textural effect.
  4. Harvest some horse tail. Remove the radial "branches." Pull the central stem into sections of a length determined by its natural joints. Find a jar long enough to hold the stem sections between its base and its twist on, water tight lid. Line the bottom of the jar with water absorbent material--folded over cotton or paper towel. Damp the material with water followed by a dash of alcohol (to inhibit mold growth), place the separated stem sections into the jar and screw on the top. To use, pull out a section, cut one side of the cylinder lengthwise so that it will lay flat and "sand" paying attention to the top's grain direction, as has already been recommended. If you've never used horsetail before, it's enlightening to try it on a thumbnail.
  5. There's a Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit that has happened in the spring every year since the late 70s: This year it's in early May: http://nwmusicalinstrumentshow.org Lot's of instrument makers of every stripe there.
  6. Thank you for your insights. I'll pass them along to my friend.
  7. A young friend of mine, nearly 17, is flying on American Airlines from Seattle to Boston near Spring Break to check out Berklee. She’s never flown before, and is worried about hand carrying her violin onto the airplane. My wife and I will accompany her. This young lady is an active professional and is concerned for the safety for her professional tool. I don't think she'll have any trouble getting her fiddle onboard, but she wants to be covered. My knowledge of today's violin cases is waaaaaay out of date. Can any of you recommend a good quality, protective violin case? Although money is an issue, feel free to mention both less expensive and more expensive, just so that we can get a feel for her choices. Thank you for your insights.
  8. Thank you all for your relating your experiences. I'll pass them on to my friend.
  9. A young friend of mine, nearly 17, is flying on American Airlines from Seattle to Boston near Spring Break to check out Berklee. She’s never flown before, and is worried about hand carrying her violin onto the airplane. My wife and I will accompany her. I've not carried an instrument on a flight in four or five years, and I never had a problem carrying on a violin or a mandolin, but this young lady is an active professional and is concerned for the safety for her professional tool. I’ll direct her to this thread, so any words of wisdom written to a very talented and very concerned youngster would help. Also, any input on traveling cases (money is an issue) would also help her.
  10. I love that show. With luck, I'll be there too. Enjoy your project.
  11. Julian, You're spot on. Neck trouble, which led to neck surgery, is what brought me to the B&C. Using it, plate work is no longer as hard on the neck and shoulders. It'll be interesting to see the homemade alternatives.
  12. David, I see FiddleCollector used the same approach in his lovely cradle. Looks like a good one. I'll give it a go.
  13. A picture of my B&C in use, as I left the shop this evening. The button holder is too small to fit around the button in progress. I'll probably fix that RSN. I'm also, at the moment, in the running for the messiest workbench award.
  14. Ernie, I love red alder linings! Wish I had more of the stuff, straight-grained and dry. Greetings from Sequim, not far as the salmon swims.
  15. Can't say I loved dealing with B&C, but l love their device. The lever works so easily and the ball rotates so smoothly that I move the cradle often, when working, and find I rarely orient it into the horizontal plane. One advantage of non-horizontal choices is the ability to optimize the orientation of light (either incandescent light from an articulated-arm work light or natural light from a window) across the archings. Also, orienting the work surface off horizontal allows one to optimize the line of the cut, say when using a gouge to fair the corners into the channels one has already cut over the line of the purfling. Lots of other reasons, but that's one I used today.