Michael Darnton

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About Michael Darnton

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    Have knife, will travel.

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

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  1. For some 30 years I have used only a hand grinder with a good tool rest. It offers ultimate control--turn as slowly as you want, stop grinding instantly, etc. They are extremely cheap as antiques and if you buy well you can use a modern stone. Quiet, safe, accurate, no electricity--what's not to like? After using mine, MANY people have converted. From there I go to a stone or two, according to what's needed, and for final buffing of some tools, where applicable, I have another hand grinder with a hard felt wheel on it. My current favorite hand stones are a small coticule and a natural grey finishing stone from China that was very inexpensive, and I also have a strip of leather glued to the edge of my bench for certain tools.
  2. The "Cannone" del Gesu has high ribs and no one has ever accused it of sounding like a viola.
  3. I do not believe this is a crack thats just going to slam shut on its own, ready for glue and a stud. Did I miss a step to get it shut?
  4. I would look carefully for a pin up high under the board, but it could have been cut away setting the neck.
  5. Is that the saddle at the bottom? If so, the pin is an assembly artifact, and that made a weak spot for the crack to originate from, but it's not exactly the cause of the crack, which would have probably happened eventually, anyway (I say that because it's a wide open gap, not just a crack, indicating some inherent stress). To fix this type of crack correctly it's necessary to take the top off, so there's a temptation to rub some glue in, hope for the best, and leave the full-scale repair to the next guy, hoping the crack doesn't run right up to the other end in the meantime (which it probably never will do.)
  6. In the context of the current discussion it involves the pressure between the top and back from the soundpost, which is something I adjust according to the playing style and personal preferences of the player and the characteristics of the instrument. As to how this is accomplished, I know there are several ways, and this can quickly become a religious question for some people. I do what's appropriate for the situation as it stands in front of me. Quite often the solution is simply to put the post back where the person who fit it intended it to be before some local genius started randomly slapping it around to find his personal "magical spot". Go figure. I guess that neck set can certainly be a part of tightness, as can the bar, as can strings, and there are ways to move tightness sideways as well as up or down, and if there's time I start with the thing that's the worst out of whack and try to fix it all, which is what we do in the shop with instruments we buy at auction. I don't mean at all to imply that every problem is a post problem or that there's a single solution and in fact I even have players who have several roles who know their instruments and themselves well enough to come for adjustments if they have to play something at the fringes of what their instrument will do but want to be at their best. That's an example of why I commented that I don't believe one can do the best adjustment without some discussion with the player.
  7. Giving a second look and going only by what I see, I'm going to guess that this is an amateur-made American instrument, and it might be a viol, smaller than a cello. The wood looks American, the work and varnish amateur, and the size of purfling and wood grain might be a clue that it's a smaller instrument. The crest, in that context, is just someone's bad idea.
  8. I guess it depends on the orientation of the original photo....I am seeing rays not pores. If those are pores in the first post, they are gargantuan!
  9. Thanks, Jerry. Do you think he had any opinion on bridge height when it was followed upward by appui and saddle so that the same string angle was maintained? I think that's perhaps the core of baroquecello's question. . . . maybe. Mark, sure, I get that "totally satisfied" response about 100% of the time, too, but that doesn't stop me from digging farther into what they might get beyond that, after the initial shock wears off, especially with someone new whose style isn't familiar to me. :-)
  10. This "cello" looks like a bass!
  11. None, in my experience; usually the rays/flecks are light and clear, not dark--just the opposite of what you have there.
  12. Jerry, I felt that his comment was clear; it was more that he didn't comment enough on the cause beyond saying bridge height. He was talking about a feeling of the strings being floppier under the fingers and bow at that point in the discussion. There's no recording of what was a small-group event, as far as I know. Mark, I'm surprised you don't experience that--really, it's one of the most common comments I get. Maybe it's a Chicago thing. What it usually comes down to is post tightness, in my experience, and players who like to think they know what's what will often offer that, for instance, it feels like the post is loose when it's too tight, and the other way around.
  13. As I assume most of us who do adjustments for customers know, when the player says the violin is tight, the setup is loose, and the other way around. With that in mind, I was struck by something Rene Morel said 20 years ago at a VSA convention, that players felt a high-bridge setup as being loose, and a low-bridge setup as tight, which is contrary to what we might intuit. But Rene didn't hint whether he thought that was about string angle or actual bridge height, only, if the string angle stayed the same. I've spent a lot of time over the last two decades thinking about that. I think you could make an argument for either side.