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Mike Spencer

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  1. I use a strong tea brew in water. Be sure to sand very fine first then wet with water to raise the grain then sand again. I do this a few times before applying the tea stain. Let it dry then sand lightly and apply the stain again. I typically finish the neck before varnishing. I finish my neck with boiled linseed oil. Wipe it on then off and let it dry a few days then do another coat.
  2. Sweet Jim! Congrats on the fiddle, looking really nice! I didn’t listen to the sound file yet.
  3. Dry time depends on how thick the build up is and how it’s laid on. Use thickened Deft but apply it in layers until you reach desired thickness. Let each layer dry before applying the next. You should be able scrape light shavings with a single edged razor blade. Do some testing on scrap pieces until you understand it’s characteristics.
  4. Depends on what you like. I’m 5’-9” tall and my bench is 39”H. I came to this height after years of working in cabinet/furniture shops.
  5. I use stainless steel flat feeler gage without the strings mounted. I lay the appropriate thickness feeler gage for each string on top of the board up against the back of the nut and file down the string groove until I just hit the gage. Then I shape the rest of the nut, sand and finish it. Done. I use stainless gages because the file skitters over them as the stainless is harder and the doesn’t get damaged if the file hits it.
  6. For ribs I use a LN 60 1/2 sharpened at the stock angle and have no issues with tear out, just pay attention to the wood grain. To hold the rib stock I use a bit of double stick tape at the end of the rib stuck to my bench top which is 3” thick hard maple and flat enough. I cut of the slightly thinner end that the tape was stuck to just make sure your rib stock is long enough. To unstick the tape just heat it up a bit with a hair dryer.
  7. I use India ink. Wipe it on and wipe it off. Then Janito’s suggestion of nose grease is a good one.
  8. Nick that’s a real nice looking scroll! Craftsmanship is great and shape and details excellent. For new looking fiddle, one small nit picky suggestion is about the pegs. When using ebony pegs sometimes (most of the time) the ebony is brownish under the stain that comes on them. Once the shafts are shaved try blacking them with what ever you are using on your finger boards. Well done sir!
  9. Just to be clear I don’t make my own varnish yet and use Joe’s products. I can see why folks that are making there own varnish weigh the components.
  10. I use small one ounce plastic graduated measuring cups. They are marked fractionally in ml, ounces, drams and a few others and are disposable. Also if you have some extra mixed up varnish left over that you will use up in a few days you can put the cup in a zip lock bag and remove the air and it will keep ok.
  11. I also have the same Miller’s Falls drill that is in exceptional condition I picked up at an antique store for $20. I mostly use it for drilling string holes in pegs and think any other drill is awkward and most won’t hold the small diameter bits. I love using it and I’ll never have to replace a dead battery
  12. Hi Jackson, I know you asked about new machines but I think there’s a lot of value in older drill presses. I have a mid 1960’s Delta 11-280 radial drill press which I find suits my woodworking endeavors just fine. The one feature I like most is the ability to lock the quill height. Most of the new machines don’t have this feature, especially on bench top models and the general quality of the vintage machines is superior in my opinion.
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