Mike Spencer

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About Mike Spencer

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    ...Central Vermont

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  1. Manfio I'm surprised that this is the 1st time building a viola if this size. Curious do recall what size your first viola was? Can't wait to see more progress.
  2. The Bress Bench

    Heal well Jim.
  3. Nick Allen's Bench.

    Me too.
  4. Nick Allen's Bench.

    Nick if you are routing the purf plateform start with a depth setting that allows the corners and button to be thicker. Maybe let that thickness run an inch to either side of the corners and past the center line of the button. Then reset the cutter to decrease the edge thickness for the bouts. Maybe you want the C bouts thicker than upper and lowers too? Then using a flat chisel just blend the thicknesses as you see fit.
  5. Curtate Cycloid Programs

    What I do is decide what shape I want on the long arch by researching several instruments by the maker in that same period. Decide the height and where your high point will be. For the belly decide if it will have a flatish arch or slightly rounded and how you want the overall arch to approach the bouts. For the back decide if you are using a circular theme or other and then how you want the arch to flow into the bouts. Im sure some others here can offer a much more structured approach but this is what I do. What model are you using for your outline? Im just getting started on my first Viola and using Bros. Amati 1615 Stauffer as the model. I've got the mold made and need to get the blocks glued in. Ribs are cut and the back needs to be glued up.
  6. Curtate Cycloid Programs

    It's been awhile since I've developed new arching but I think it helps if you decide the long arch first. Other wise you'll never get things to line up height wise with the cross arches. For me, when making the templates I don't incorporate the scope in the templates. I do that part by eye afterwards. So my templates have a horizontal flat on them that rests on the purf. platform.
  7. Ebony veneer

    If you're looking for standard veneer thickness (furniture grade, .02" then check Certainly Woods. They also have some thicker veneers too.
  8. what determines the sound a luthier aims at?

    I don't have much on the info you are seeking as I'm seeking it too. I have a good friend who has a classical background in viola, a very good fiddler and good violin/fiddle teacher that once told me that instruments by the same maker have very similar sounds. I don't know what others think about that comment? Currently I make a Strad model and a Del Gesu model. To me they each have there own sound.
  9. Perry Sultana...

    Hey E, Interesting that you took the scoop right to the edge, is there a reason for that? I did this on my latest fiddle too. Then I realized that when I profile the edge I end up loosing some of that nice deep scoop. It made the edge a bit thinner but which is ok. I think on my next build I won't take to the edge.
  10. Selling in a saturated market

    I've read most of this and I find the thread very interesting. I might have missed it if someone else has already mentioned it but here goes. For me personally I'm not in the making game to take trade-in instruments when I sell one of my own. I know that this impacts prospective buyers decisions on who they end up doing business with but for me at this time it's not about trading/reselling. I agree that side payments to teachers is just not good.
  11. Mike Spencer's bench

    Thought I would post this end pin holder as it works great. It's not an original concept but it's really helpful when shaping end pins.
  12. A place for everything

    Very impressively organized! I think about reorganizing mine when ever I'm in it but mostly I just tidy it up because working on fiddles is so much more fun.
  13. Mystery Wood?

    Now you got it! Off the top of my head, pore size, pore density, annular rings, ray size, parenchyma, stilosis or not plus other features are like finger prints. This is the best way to identify the species.
  14. Selling in a saturated market

    Rue, it's a good point you make about styles changing. Styles have changed slot in the last 10 years but essentially the same style has been in vogue the last 10 years too. Look in any architectural digest type of magazine and you will see it. It is characterized by Walnut woods, white back painted glass, white stone top surfaces, stainless steel or dark bronze accents. In the business I'm associated with we only build custom designs so it's always the latest. Think corporate America board rooms of fortune 1000 companies. The client always wants the highest quality, lowest cost and custom designed/engineered. In our business one of the things that has changed a lot is how space is utilized and this does require a different type of product. Sorry to stray off topic.
  15. Selling in a saturated market

    I come from this niche market and business is extremely difficult. Working for the masters of the universe....