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Michael Darnton

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About Michael Darnton

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    Check out my photos: http://flickr.com/photos/mdarnton

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  1. When one is at the point of uncertainty whether a button should be on the center seam and "should it be in the middle?", finding sleepers is still a lifetime away. I wish there were more people who wanted to work to hone their eye, just to be able to see what they were looking at instead of assuming they already knew everything about everything! It would be a better world.
  2. It would be interesting to know how this situation has been resolved. Certainly David Hill would have reissued a cert if asked, and Peter B would have written one if asked if he believed the instrument was real, so I'm assuming everything's done and settled and this is all old news. Those particular certs mean a whole lot more than some museum's comments about cochineal (give me five minutes with your Roth and I can make sure it's got cochineal on it for a museum to find).
  3. This works fine: Cheap and easy. I prefer this one: https://darntonviolins.com/purfling-machine-eight-views/
  4. The way his blades are my way won't work, I just noticed. I would flip them to the other end and sharpen with one bevel. Sorry for miss- observing!
  5. The blades needed to be set to the width of the purfling you were using by turning them flat to flat and shimming them apart to the right width. Now you need to find whatever fits. Measure and go by that.
  6. OK, strangely, the center seam is off center, the button more in the middle. I have never seen that. Do you own one or both of these cellos?
  7. @Al CramerYes, the button is weird. With the distortion it is hard to know if the centerline or the button is the off center one. No, thats not a thing; someone had too much to drink before plotting that out.
  8. @martin swan No. Usually they look like scraps gathered off the floor. One years ago was eight pieces, all different. I would think that if you were going to take the care to find a matching piece (from the other side of the same log?) you'd have the resources to use a normal top, right?
  9. http://darntonviolins.com/prime-choice-modern-makers-think-they-need-the/ https://darntonviolins.com/wood-works-another-slab-cut-cello-top/ 250 years and just a couple of unimportant small cracks. The slab tops I have seen have been absurdly intact for their age.
  10. Interesting for me because I never see violins that bad, so I don't know much about them. Someone should write a book. . . . one that just doesn't say "Mittenwald" every single time.
  11. Who besides J-G brings both ribs right out to the dead end of flat ended corners without any mitering?
  12. For the record I did not say all pigments do this, I said that most painters' pigments have been chosen for their monochrome behavior. I use a modern pigment myself, but it is one of very few that is suitable. I have not had the results I am looking for by mixing pigments, though. Perhaps our goals are different.
  13. There's actually a huge reason to avoid modern colorants and most painters' colors, and that is because they are almost always specifically chosen or compounded to give a lighter version of the same color when used thin, very simple colors rather than complex. One characteristic of many of the colors that violin makers in the golden period used is that they can be seen to be yellow when thin and go through orange and dark orange-brown tending towards reddish and then move towards black as they get thicker. Modern colors start, for instance, as pink and when used thicker turn to opaque paint of some relatively light color. Often you can see this in the art store where they will put a dab of the color on a board and rub it out to thin, showing both the mass and wash colors the buyer can expect. Most stains act similarly. This is a fundamental difference between painting and varnishing. But once in a while you can find a painter's color that does what you want. You can achieve similar but not identical results by layering starting with one color and building through the changes you want to see, but the difference is still subtly visible to someone who's looking. There's a certain amount of this happening with the golden ground (that someone above basically claimed doesn't exist :-) interacting with the colored over varnish, but that's not the whole story. Another problem with looking at varnish is simultaneous color contrast (look it up--it's beautifully complex) which happens in the greyscale as well (that "white" you see under a new chip probably isn't as bare-assed white as you think it is). (I'll give you this one: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/409616528591130544/ ) Old violins are incredibly subtle. By the way, the two earliest examples I have seen of a "red" Amati and a "red" Strad violate what I laid down above--both were simple colors, a red tending towards black with very little yellow component--and I have only seen a single example of each. When each maker comes back with a red color later it's quite a bit more interesting and complex, so you might think that they got it right away and found that first effort less than satisfactory. ("Well, that was interesting--I guess we won't be doing that again!")
  14. Regarding figuring out classical varnishes, I think it's a normal mistake to draw conclusions from an example of one or two. Disconnected from that, I've always learned the most from the extreme examples, not the normal ones--the cases where the normal varnish is extremely thin or thick, for instance, or where there's a lot of ground or very little or none, even. These give hints that are more important that an average view.
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