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Mike Spencer

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Everything posted by Mike Spencer

  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.
  13. I usually start by clamping length wise between a bench dog and end vise with the angled side up. Plane a flat at the high point maybe an inch wide. I typically glue a couple of soft wood strips to the angled side along the outside edges for support. Once those are set plane them flat to the flat at the center. Now you can flip the panel over and plane what will be the surface the ribs get glued too.
  14. If you want to buy thin veneers and make your own purfling both Berkshire Veneers and Certainly Woods in the US will sell single leaves.
  15. Go for a good clean joint. If it doesn't turn out then you could add an inlay. Once the joint is fitting tightly I use masking tape to pull it together. Two strips long enough to span your clamp block and don't overlap the long edges of the tape. Apply the tape to one of the pieces and then put some tension on the tape when you pull the tape and apply to the other rib. I use a lower tack blue painters tape. After the rib is glued to the block and cured be careful removing the tape so it does not tear/lift the grain of the wood on the rib surface. I assume you can prepare the joint it self so I won't add info about that.
  16. I've been using the Goldbrokat as a standard for a while. On both fiddle and classical set ups. I like them a lot and think that they enhance the whole string set.
  17. Maybe there is a more stock answer but for me I would want to know what the string heights are currently at and how flat or curved the top of the bridge is?
  18. Melvin it's always amazing to see your work! Thank you for sharing.
  19. After length is important. 54mm is in the standard range of working but also depends on the body length. If you wish to experiment try lengthening it and shortening it and take note of how the instrument sounds and responds. Then decide where to set it.
  20. What is the after string length? This is the distance from the top of the bridge to the tailpiece stop.
  21. On the occasions that I have had to visit physical therapists they have always used the term "motion is lotion", another words just keep moving. To add to this change up what you are doing through out your day, i.e. don't spend a whole day carving plates. I to have had to deal with auto immune disease (polymialgia rhuematica) which fortunately for me subsided but the Docs all suggested to alter your diet and at least stay away from night shade family of vegetables also cut back on salt and sugars. Of course the Docs say that it may or may not help. When it comes to machines, I think it's okay to use them for the hard strenuous work if you want to.
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