Berl Mendenhall

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About Berl Mendenhall

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    McConnelsville,Ohio USA

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  1. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    I just love old tools especially tools made by artist craftsmen/women with an eye for a little bling bling. Nothing wrong with adding a heart, or a flower, or a vain and leaf. Many early blacksmiths were real artist. There are a more and more tool makers all over the world who have returned to making high quality hand tools. Mostly hand planes I think. These tools are amazing both in design and function .
  2. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    Mike, thanks for the reply. I was hoping you would add to the discussion. I still think, and I wish someone would prove me right or wrong, that these were the only kind of iron vices produced until the 19th century when the industrial revolution started.
  3. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    I've had this vice for 25 years. Picked it up at a tool dealer. It is a manufactured vice. Cast iron. You can see the casting marks. The bolting bracket has made in the USA casting. The overall shape and parts look similar but that's where the similarities end. The old one was made by a blacksmith craftsman, mine was made by pouring melted iron into a mold. I believe, and I'm not positive about this, that these were the only type of metal vices made in the 17th and 18th century. I've never seen a really old vice that looks different. These leg vices would be easy for a blacksmith to make. The leg was just part of the way it was made and not for absorbing blows. Also they are usually 39 inches tall. Perfect for filing parts like locks and hinges for violin cases, or gun barrels, and gun locks just to name a few. I believe these vices were in most if not all craft shops. Let's not forget Strad lived next door to a blacksmith. A man Strad loaned money too.
  4. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    Brad thank you for the link. I've been reading up on these and other vices. I believe these vices were used much more for holding than hammering. It just seems to me these early leg vices were wrought iron and later the manufactured ones are cast iron. It does take much of a hammer blow to crack or break these types of iron. These were used for holding while filing and lite hammering of gun works and other small parts made by blacksmiths, gunsmiths and other tradesmen.
  5. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    One of my weaknesses. If I could afford it I'd have a museum.
  6. Berl Mendenhall

    17th or18 century wrought iron vice

    I haven't posted any pictures of antique tools in a while. Here is a wrought iron vice. A real thing of beauty. It belongs to Jim Bode Tools, he is an antique tool dealer. I have no connection to him, I'm on his e-mail list so I get updates on tools. This vice is covered with decorations. The blacksmith took great pride in his work. None of the decorations make the vice work better, but it sure adds to the beauty. Fun to wonder if Strad had something similar on his bench. Anyway something nice to look at.
  7. Berl Mendenhall

    Ever see an X-ray of a case by Stradivari?

    Wonderful, just another detail about Stradivari's shop.
  8. Berl Mendenhall

    Ever see an X-ray of a case by Stradivari?

    How about a picture of the case in the same position as the x-Ray?
  9. Berl Mendenhall

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    Addie is right. France, Germany, and I believe England had strict guilds. So strict that in some places if a maker moved from one town to another they had to retrain in order to be excepted in that guild. I don't believe makers in Cremona had such a guild. Some historians believe Stradivari was trained as a lute maker somewhere other than Cremona. When he moved to Cremona he made all types of string instruments, eventually zeroing in on the violin family. This may sound a little outlandish, but no more than some of the other theories. He was such a great artist/craftsman he did great work no matter what he was making. Until we have some real proof of training, it's all guess work.
  10. Berl Mendenhall

    Maggini violin data points from Liutai in Brescia book

    I agree completely, we forget he was making something relatively new, but in my opinion he did a hell of a job. I don't think there has been near enough research done on his work. Granted they aren't nearly as pretty as the Amati's, Strad's, or even DG's. Also I think there are few left. In the Hill books on Strad and the Guarneri"s they thought both Strad and DG were trying to get Maggini 's big sound. If they were good enough for those two guys to want to copy they must have had something special about there sound.
  11. Berl Mendenhall

    Maggini violin data points from Liutai in Brescia book

    Another thing I find interesting is the length of his C bouts and the width of his C Bouts. Measuring from upper purfling point to lower purfling point. His C' s are bigger than Strad's by ten mm's and DG's by five mm's. I've experimented with this, but only in one violin. I was afraid it would be very ugly, but it didn't look bad. Granted it doesn't look like a PG, or a P, or a beautiful Long Strad. For sheer form and beauty those are hard to match. Just some thoughts.
  12. Berl Mendenhall

    sawing outline by hand, what do you use?

    Very cool Conor.
  13. Berl Mendenhall

    Trigger finger

    Sorry to hear this Luis, don't put off the surgery. It will probably only get worse. Hang in there.
  14. Berl Mendenhall

    Shop made F hole drills

    While in my mid thirties I decided I wanted build reproduction period furniture ( eighteenth century ). I wanted to work with traditional hand tools, hence the big work bench in my shop. I had an industrial accident. That was the end of the hand sawing and hand planing. I was so caught up in the romance of this time period and the tools, I started looking for something to replace traditional wood working. My wife brought home from the library the book called "The Encyclopedia Of The Violin". I read it four times trying to understand the methods. I had found what I wanted to do. I've never became board or disinterested sense. I'll be seventy my next birthday. I still love the craft and the tools. This is starting to sound like a bio for a dating service (long walks on the beach and stuff like that). Anyway trudging on, I am a romantic. That is why I especially like seeing tools like Aundreas' s fly wheel drill. Trying to imagine what tools and what Strad's workshop was like.