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Michael Doran

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Everything posted by Michael Doran

  1. I once made a violin, in the white, with three other people in 24 hours. I suppose that is 96 hours of work for one person. Maybe I'm an outlier, but I timed myself with an app a few years ago making a cello and my time, from selecting blocks to ready to hand to a player, was 225 hours over 10 weeks. I wasn't consciously trying to race, just curious how long it took me. That was a model I was familiar worth and had made several times already, so I didn't have to make templates or design choices. M
  2. Sold to Peter Schmitt for $3700. Congratulations to everyone involved!
  3. Thanks, Matthew. I totally agree that it should be 'violinmaker subtle', in that pretty much only a violinmaker would notice.
  4. Sorry for another post about the varnish under the fingerboard. For what it's worth, here is my fiddle that I vanished with the fingerboard on. I can't remember why I had to remove the fingerboard later, but I liked the crusty bit and snapped a photo. This is about what I've seen on old instruments. With the fingerboard on it just looks dark under there. MD
  5. Totally feasible. I do this on pretty much all my instruments. It's a huge asset for cello, for violins I could go either way. One of my pet peeves is glueing fingerboards on twice, it just feels inefficient. MD
  6. The trend of restoration has been shifting more and more toward conservation in the last 50 years. It was once far more common to remove original necks or bassbars just because a new one might be better. When I've come across the few remaining classic instruments which do not have varnish under the fingerboard I am delighted to see a piece of how the scenery is put together behind the play. It's the same for me as any other type of original tool mark, and has absolutely no structural our tonal disadvantage. Think about how much varnish is left everywhere else on many classic instruments. Rather than taking a survey of violins in any particular group, take a poll and ask the winners of the last 10 years of violin making competitions if they have ever left the area under the fingerboard tastefully bare. I believe this will give you more of an idea of the acceptable practices. I commend the makers involved and the generous work they have produced for a really good cause. Michael Ps. Full disclosure: I've left a couple of my violins bare under the fingerboard, and I was also a beneficiary of the VSA's scholarship while I was in school. ☺
  7. I always provide a basic case, usually a Bobelock. If the client wants something specific, I'm happy to work with them and give them a good deal. I explain this to them as well, and it seems like the musicians I work with are understanding. Good, light cello cases in particular are very expensive. I think providing a basic case and a maker's certificate Is a good place to start. -Michael
  8. Hi Paul, For my neck set, the length is about 36 mm. That is if you had a finished mortise and button and measured from the deepest part of the mortise to the top of the button. Other neck set parameters can vary this number quite a bit. For instance, I have raised my overstand in the last couple of years and this number changed from 38 to 36. Right now I'm doing 83 mm projection, 25 overstand, 83* angle at end of neck foot, and a 20 mm tall button (measured from the edge). If you have anything close to 40 mm, you should be just fine. M
  9. I just measured the string angles on my latest cello. The angle at the bridge over the C string is 152*, and the angle over the A is 154.5*. (A larger number is more obtuse, smaller is more acute.) If I place a straight edge on the outer string and the edge of the c-bout, midway between the bridge and the fingerboard, and measure the height of the straight edge over the next string I get 6 mm clearance over the D and 9 mm over the G. Matt- You've played a few of my cellos at this point, and I respect your opinion. Do you remember noticing anything about the bow clearance? M
  10. Hi Evan,I realize I'm bucking the trend here, but I do have a theory behind what I'm doing. I think of set up like an ecosystem. Given my projection (82.75), my overstand (24-25), my fingerboard, my bridge shape, and my cello model (arch height 28ish, c-bout width 245 over the arch) there is plenty of bow clearance on both sides when I set my neck tilt level. I've never had any player even notice. Compared to someone who tilts the neck down on the C string I am increasing the angle over the bridge on the C and decreasing the angle over the A, which I think benefits the sound on both accounts. If I were making a different model, or working on a restoration, I might need to reevaluate my neck tilt for that particular situation. For what it's worth, this is what I was taught at the shop where I worked, and it seemed to be just fine for our customers. M
  11. Here is post about denatured alcohol I wrote a few years ago. Here's a link to the whole thread- http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/324986-alcohol-type-for-shellac-sealer/
  12. Hi Jerry,To my knowledge none of my instruments have soundpost cracks, but it is a weak point in violin family instruments. I don't have any data on whether a patch would make a crack less likely, but doesn't it make mechanical sense that it would help? Similarly to the question of the spiral bushing, but that seems like an easier sell that it would prevent a crack to me. Isn't a bushing just a different version of your carbon fiber insert? M P.s. Actonern- Are you proposing that all of the very fine sounding instruments out there with patches sound good despite them?
  13. Why does it feel wrong to you? It makes the area stronger, it's less likely to develop a crack, maybe it helps the sound. Is it really any different than installing a spiral bushing on a violin a peg hole to prevent a crack in the future? Or, as you've written about, putting dowels in a neck to stabilize the projection? (I realize a big difference there is that you can always replace the neck without changing the value of the instrument.) We know where violins break, why not use restoration techniques to prevent problems? M
  14. I've been installing maple veneers on my cellos for a while and I like the results. I'm thinking it stiffens the local area, and I really like the way posts adjust with the veneer installed. On the last two cellos I did a full soundpost patch with dense spruce, and then covered that with a thin maple veneer. I did not take the patch as thin as I would on a restoration, I left 1.5 mm at the lowest point. A patch stiffens the area even more than leaving the graduations thick, or installing a veneer. If you think that's a good idea, this is one way to go about it. To David's point, I think a patch would be more effective at preventing cracks beginning, because you get increased strength from the lamination quite close to the outside of the top. M
  15. I bought some recently from Otto-Frei. They call them Files-Joint Round Edge, 4" long, Cut 2. The part number is 131.16x depending on size. (For example the .4 is part number 131.169) If you're doing only violin I would buy the .4 (E), the .8 (A &D), and the .9 (G). For viola C strings use the 1.2 it also works for cello G, and the 1.5 for cello C. (I use the .9 for cello A and D) I would buy those 5, and then you'll be all set. They are about $25-30 each, but they last forever. I've had mine for about 10 years and they are still fine, except for the .4 which I managed to break. M
  16. It looks like your ribs are shrinking around the mold. You can minimize this by using a thicker mold and/or using less water when you bend your ribs, but I say embrace it! True the first picture is a little excessive, but I try to get my cello ribs to warp a little, and if they wrap around my mold a bit it just makes for more interesting dips and hollows for antiquing. M
  17. Hi Nathan,Yup, the Grobet slotting files have a radius on the cutting edge, which makes a round bottomed slot. M
  18. Apparently, C-T scans have revealed that the locating pins (in the top and bottom block) were tapered as well. I have no idea if they are the same taper as the dorsal pin holes we see. M
  19. I can fit a bridge without this jig just fine, but I like using it and I think it saves me time. I imagine you all would use some sort of cleat system while fitting a bassbar or a soundpost patch- why do this one job without some reference? M
  20. I use these slotting files from Grobet, and they are excellent. They cut only on the edge. I ordered a full set, but I don't actually need all of them. The darker ones (1.5, 1.2, .9, .8, .7, and .4) are basically all I use. (except for the .4 which I had to replace recently.) M
  21. Here's my jig for fitting cello bridges. In addition to maintainig the angle mine also fixes the position side to side. It takes a bit of fussing to get it set up in the right place, but thereafter its so easy to get the bridge back in exactly the same spot. I feel like it allows me to trust the 'chalk' marks more. It also eliminates any twist, which is sometimes a problem for cello bridges. After the cello jig worked out so well, I made one for violin bridges too. M
  22. I thought this was a violin making forum. Three pages on operating systems? I know, I should just not read threads like this, but I think it clogs up the forum- which is already a chore to sift through for valuable information.
  23. Hill style saddles are a little different, in that the lower portion is glued onto the rib rather than inlayed, but I always make them in two pieces. I'm not sure on the historical accuracy though. I seem to remember seeing a photo of the baroque saddle from the Colburn Guaragnini viola- which was one piece. In any event, the next person who needs to remove the top will thank you if you make it two pieces. M
  24. I've never heard of stripping varnish and still being able to use it as color for a re-varnish. I'm skeptical that it would work. Have you successfully done this before? M
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