Berl Mendenhall

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About Berl Mendenhall

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    McConnelsville,Ohio USA

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  1. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Here is something that no one is talking about. What if those old guys were wrong and the treatment did nothing.
  2. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    I believe and I may be wrong about this but didn't Strad leave in his will, along with his shop and tools some vats. At this time copper sulfate was widely known as a preservative for wood. Maple will soak up (clear through) something like copper sulfate quickly, with in a couple months maybe even weeks. Spruce, not so much. It will float for ever.
  3. 3D Amati Image

    The 3D images are good , but not ground breaking. I've said this before, if you want some real experience with fine old instruments, go to auction viewings. You can handle and look at and play a large number of really fine violins. Often the ones that ring your bell won't be the million dollar ones , but the ones from a little known maker. Also the VSA conventions have a large number of good things.
  4. del Gesu graduations

    I would like to apologize to everyone for starting this thread and then abandoning it. The truth is I have had so many other things going on I have not had time to pay attention to it. You have all done very well without my input, I haven't got to read the whole thing yet but will. Thanks for all of your posts.
  5. del Gesu graduations

    I agree to a certain degree. Right now I'm using the best wood I've ever had. It's very old, dark cinnamon colored and a little bit crumbly when worked. It's marked Sitka, it's specific gravity is between 37 and 39. It is wonderful tone wood and I'm happy to have it. Most makers shy away from Sitka, It may not be good when fresh ( 5 years old or so ). I got several pieces of old maple also, I don't know what or what country it came from. I'm guessing it's Red Maple, I'm not a expert on wood identification.
  6. del Gesu graduations

    I've got to go to work now but will check in later this afternoon. Thanks for the replies so far. I just got home, ten hour day. I'm driving part time for the county transit. I'm asking this question because i built a violin with fairly thick top graduations 3.5, the back I left normal Strad like. The shape of the arching is fuller, this is due to the elongated c bout area. Strad's are 90mm from purfling miter to purfling miter, dg's are 95mm (or close), mine are100mm. my idea was to make the central section bigger. The violin sounds very nice, nice dark tone with lots of power. The G string may be a tiny bit weaker than the rest, but that may be my set up. I'm very much interested in making my own model. I'm tired of just coping others. There is no point in making something different just for the sake of being different. The violin has to have the tonal qualities of a fine violin. I think the comments on arching and wood selection are equally as important as anything you can do.
  7. del Gesu graduations

    I've got to go to work now but will check in later this afternoon. Thanks for the replies so far.
  8. del Gesu graduations

    I have a question about thicker graduations. Del Gesu supposedly graduated his violins much thicker than Stradivarius. Ala the Cannon. If this worked so well and produced such a fabulous sounding violin, why aren't thicker graduations used more? Why were so many of his violins re-graduated? If his violin ribs were lowered and his plates 're-graduated maybe they didn't sound so great to begin with, just a question.
  9. How Messy can Your Shop get?

    I get depressed when my shop is a mess. It's a never ending job to keep it tidy, doesn't always happen, after all we are making things out of wood.
  10. fret saw blades / cutting ff holes

    I'm with Davide on this. I don't see what the Knew Concept saw does any different than a regular coping saw. You still have to saw the f hole out. It's not that difficult.
  11. Eat your Heart out Stradivari

    You can be anyone you want on the internet.
  12. Berl Mendenhall's Bench

    Some people have ask where I've been for a while. I've taken on a part time job three days a week. My wife has arthritis pretty bad and is having to have several joints replaced. Between taking care of her and working its cut into my fiddle work and forum participation. This won't last forever, I plan to be back in the shop if my health holds up. You can't imagine how much I miss it. I've never considered myself a big contributor here, but I have enjoyed participating.
  13. Kremer's new violin ground

    You can look at a picture and see if a varnish job looks nice but that's about it. You can't even tell if it's spirit or oil. I thought I'd let my part of this thread dye, but here I am again. If you have read any of my threads on varnish you know I don't have any intentions of chasing down the Strad secret varnish and ground rabbit hole. It's a huge waste of time. Even if you got it exactly right there would be plenty of people tell you it's wrong. there are lots of dreamers who dream of stumbling on the magic concoction. To those I say, dream on, have at it. To the rest find something that looks good and works acoustically and learn to use it. If you want credibility make some violins.
  14. Kremer's new violin ground

    Okay here is what I use, no deep secret. I use plaster of Paris as described by Roger Hargrave. I use water and mix a slurry then rub it in the maple. For my top I use a thin coat of clear de-waxed shellac followed by plaster of Paris. I use the shellac for a couple reasons, one to strengthen the soft spruce fibers, and two to help seal off the end grain. Water mixed with pop is not a good thing to put on spruce unless you take some precautions. While rubbing it in you can ruin the finish of the soft white wood spruce. It can look like you scrubbed it with a wire brush. Just one thin coat is all that's needed and a little patience applying the pop. I take a damp rag and wipe most off the surface. Then I let it dry and remove any access laying on the surface. I do it this way because I use spirit based varnish and I'm not crazy about using oil varnish on my wood. I don't want oil even in my varnish close to bear wood.
  15. Kremer's new violin ground

    Carl, I'm a nobody in the big scream of things, but I want my ground in the wood not on top of it. I actually rub mine in and then try to remove any on top of the wood.