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. And keep your chair as low as possible so you are upright next to your work, not bent over it. I had horrible, regular back issues until I figured this out!
  2. At the knob at the side of you wrist is traditional. Often that's 34.5 inches.
  3. https://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/07/31/how-to-make-a-scratch-stock
  4. Because the static behavior you are measuring is nearly totally irrelevant compared with the importance of the dynamic behavior that no one effectively measures, which is virtually all that the player experiences and the audience hears?
  5. When I started I had an aluminum pipe that I somehow flattened to an oval. I made a baffle for one end so I didn't set my stomach on fire (the end of the pipe pointed right at me), and put a torch in the other end. The pipe was bolted to a piece of wood I clamped in my bench vise, and I might have done something like jam some fiberglass wool in between the pipe and the wood---I don't remember.
  6. Printers often print at around 102%, and there should be an adjustment for that in the printing dialog. Just crank the percentage down from 100 to 98 or so. The other problem is that some printers stretch the image slightly. If this is the situation, I would print the length correctly and then cut the print down the middle and adjust the width. Since this then happens (the cutting) in the end blocks, and you are adjusting a shorter distance, width vs length, it won't mess up the outline too much and should be very close.
  7. Generally a cab scraper plane is too aggressive, not sensitive. I have two, but I don't use them. They are a substitute for an intermediate plane. I use a 102 with a toothed blade, then a large sheet steel scraper. The fancier planes are nice, and I have a couple, but I like to keep things simple, and the 102 is lighter and more mobile. Mostly I prefer simple tools, properly prepared. There's less to go wrong and simple worked for the Amatis, etc. But people do like to spend their money. :-) I have a fleet of 102s sharpened for different tasks, including the normal blade, the toothed one in the photos (link below) , and one sharpened so the cutting angle is nearly 90 degrees that I use for planing curly ebony boards. To make the teeth you only need to cut a mm or so into the end of the blade, not cut long stripes the way the modern makers do. A mm cut should last for decades before you need to redo it, if ever. That plane in the photo made 170 violins with just those notches and is still good. The section on ribs in my making a viola essay -- http://darntonviolins.com/making-a-viola/ (page through each section using the arrows on the photos)-- shows the tools and how to use them. When you get to the scraper pix, you'll see that a flat piece of steel can pull nice shavings IF it's well and properly sharpened.
  8. What a bunch of jerks! The man asked a simple question. http://www.thestradsound.com/maestronet/stradivari-forma-by-addie
  9. . . . very well know to everyone here, but not to you, the new guy. That is a possibility you might also consider. :-)
  10. In my world an expansive vibrating envelope of fluctuating tonal quality (as opposed to a simple change of pitch) is one sign of a good instrument, and the less you have to move the finger to get the effect, the better. I don't think endpin has much to do with it. Maybe this instrument is just a lot better than your previous?
  11. I am less inclined to this approach of pulling labels since a friend of mine refused to remove an "obviously fake" label of a non-existent maker from an instrument he was working on. A couple of years later documentary evidence of that maker turned up, then subsequently just three of his instruments (identical) with (identical) original labels. . . . because, I guess, all the "fake" labels had been removed from his work by people who knew better. Since then I have seen a couple of similar incidents.
  12. 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.
  13. The "Cannone" del Gesu has high ribs and no one has ever accused it of sounding like a viola.