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Stephen Faulk

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Posts posted by Stephen Faulk

  1. On 11/12/2018 at 7:11 PM, Conor Russell said:

    John Macintosh, who worked in Dublin till 1840 and then moved back to Scotland to become a recluse, simply bent his linings over his thumbnails, two little thumbnail marks every quarter inch or so. 

    I think if you just press something hard into the spruce, enough to just kink the fibres, it'll be fine.

    I have hard thumbnails, but my nail beds are not up to the task.......there's a joke there somewhere.

  2. I wouldn't ordinarily bother anyone with my lowbrow guitar problems, but somewhere I remember seeing trade basses with crimped liners and thought it might be a thing. 

     

    These liners are about 1/2" tall and 4 mm thick...if you must know Edi. The regular liners I make are identical to cello liners, about 3 mm thick and 20 mm tall...more or less. They are smooth. Most guitar lining is smooth or kerfed. This one I want to copy happens to use crimped liners and while it's not a big deal, but I want to cross the 't's and dot the i's on this one because going to show it to some picky old fart. And he won't buy it, but someone else will. 

  3. I'm thinking about making a copy on an instrument with crimped liners and the crimpyness needs to be part of the copy.  I've only got to make about 6 feet of it so leaning towards the idea of the vise outfitted with a metal 'tooth' to press the crimp...

     

     I remembered that once I saw a tool that looked like a mill that you hand cranked the wood through and a tooth or gear thing pressed the crimp. But I don't need to make a production tool, just a one off. 
    I'll work up something and show it for comment.

  4. Awagami paper makes an injet line of kozo paper - You can find it here. Follow to an online store or in Japan I highly recommend calling them. Emails about sales get missed. They ship internationally through the online store. The inkjet kozo is top quality, and it comes in standard A-4 size which is easy and inexpensive to ship. All big enough for any instrument repair.

    http://www.awagami.com/aijp/index.html

  5. On 4/23/2018 at 10:27 AM, Andreas Preuss said:

    That's actually quite interesting and it might be worth a test to make ultra stiff ribs on a violin

     

    On violins you see occasionally the liners running over the blocks. And to my knowledge all those makers made guitars as well:

    Constantino Celani in ascoli Piceno and some other makers of that region, as well as Cesare Candi in Genova.

    You might want to become acquainted with Alan Carruth the guitarmaker and student of Carleen Hutchins. He's evaluated  testing like that and can talk with great sophistication about the reasons why bowed instrument ribs benefit from being a little flexible vs. how stiffness effects guitar ribs.  I can email him abut it if you like. 

  6. 2 hours ago, David Beard said:

     

    Maybe they controlled this particular outcome with a particular intent.  But it is probably more likely that any tendency one way or other in this feature was just an unintended side effect of some other difference in their work habits.


    Personality, you got......personality.......hahaha 

     

     

  7. Ceramics is exactly like the patterns and cycles James says. It has a natural flow. I also see that , and I see it right down to the way you move the tools over the wood. 

    And the critical moments when you are voicing the top by taking less and less and analyzing were to stop is a time we don't spend all day with. All the prep work, sharpening, buys stuff, talking on the phone, joining tops, backs all that busy work is not spent in the critical minutes of the thicknessing. We do all this other stuff, and then comparatively spend very little time hands on at the most critical part.

    If only I could sit most of the day  and voice a stack of tops and then see how they work, I'd learn a lot. I think this is why people turn to the idea of engineering  as much guess work out of making, because we don't live in that sweet spot of the mindfulness of voicing the top and then seeing pretty quickly what that meant. I'm not being facetious by saying this, but I think 'over experimenter' type makers operate from a place of fear, as much as curiosity. I know some makers who really not makers, because they mostly get off on testing stuff. They are gageteers who use gagets on instruments. Myself, I find it tedious. 

    I learned to make a particular kind of instrument from a teacher who was part of a tradition and I did not question the traditional alchemy. Then I studied up on why it works and learned some empirical sets of values why the tradition works, not I use it, but not as much as intuition backed by experience of trial and error. I've never been afraid to the point where I had to line up a great deal of empirical sound information in order to make something. I've always stayed close to traditional ways and occasionally done some really stupid things. 

    I've looked at this for a fairly long time and I think the over thinking is fear based, and sometimes even causes 'analysis paralysis' - on the other hand some of the people that are down i the weeds if that stuff come out with pretty  interesting discoveries about how instruments work. I think the ones I admire most at the makers who turn out lots of work and try to create sets of data. I certainly have benefitted from them. 

  8. 21 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

    Didnt answer my question, but was very interesting to read.

    One question out of curiousity: Is there any difference in the sound between those types of linings? Or is it rather, what I would suspect, a matter of how quick the job is done? Anyway I remember that during my apprentice days I got hold of a book explaining the technique(s) of guitar making. And if I remember correctly the distance between the crimpings or kerfings are important to the sound of a guitar?

     The sound of different liners is one of those things that gets into anecdotal territory- There are reasons for using different styles that have o do with a few main factors - inside or outside mold? Neck glued to the top? Build body with top and back glued on before neck attachment - and so on depending on which type of guitar is being build. 

    The liner may effect sound, but guitars like violins are super complex and isolating the liner as a component of sound is really difficult to maybe impossible. The debate or conversation around liners usually has to with stiffness of the rim of the body and ribs an dhow that effects the top and back. So liners factor into that, but it's a difficult thing to argue that one way of doing makes better sound. 

    We know some general things like stiffer rib assemblies tend to be a platform that does not 'absorb' energy from the top  and keeps the top working more independently. That effects the top modes in a general way  that we can hear if we are working the other factors of construction to accentuate that stuff. Not stiffening the rim as much and using flexible ribs, makes for another kind of transference of energy to the ribs. Some sound is coming off the ribs and generally more flexible ribs have a characteristic drift to the sound. 

    I was just explaining the different liners types because wanted to mention flat and crimped. I have not seen a violin with liners over the corner blocks, but I have seen celli and basses with crimped liners, but I can't honestly remember over the block liners, but it seems to  stick in mind.  Lot's of makers offer anecdotal reviews of stiff laminated liners that make the rim stiffer, but it's difficult to say if it's better.or even stiffer. 

    I did an experiment where I set up a sample rib of the same material and thickness and glued tentalones to one rib and a beefy laminated liner to the other. Naturally the laminated liner rib was stiffer, and the rib with closely spaced blocks had a bit of flex. Then I glued a section of top wood over each rib, and the glue block rib stiffened up so it was as non-bendable as the laminated liner. Once the rib is locked into place with the top at 90 degrees to the rib, the top becomes a sheer panel and the assembly becomes stronger. 

    Now all these other questions arise about whether corners should be stiff and heavy or stiff and light?  Then other things come into play like where do you cut the line for the rim binding and purfling, and how much liner and block do you leave as the place where the top attaches to the ribs? If you make this stiff laminated rim and then cut into it, thus encroaching on how much wood the top 'hinges' on, what have you done to the sound? One thing that happens is the main top mode drops  and so does the main air mode. When the purfling and binding are glued into the channel cut around the rim to accept them, the modes go back up. I say listen to the modes after the binding is on and see where they are and if they are radically off your calculations or where your design usually ends up you might be able to move them around with by some wood reductive means. 

    But guitar making is simple right? HAHA  The thing I grapple around and fumble and get frustrated with most about guitar making are guitarists. 

    Speed is a factor, people buy those pre kerfed liners because they bend so nice and fit the bent ribs. Liners and tops also have a sonic relationship, but it's highly anecdotal to offer anything definite because globally the guitar is too complex. 

     

     

     

     

  9. There was a guy who developed a guitar saddle out of a kind of surgical aerospace composite graphite material. The way the company came at makers was with a condescending attitude, I think they even pitched a graphite violin bridge here. They price of the saddle was prohibitive and none were offered as learning samples. The product was kept as a proprietary secret and users were encouraged to ship the instrument to the maker for installation and paid $100.00 US for the saddle. 

    Eventually no one liked the idea and it evaporated for now. It was really a problem in search of a solution. I'm always skeptical of these 'genius improvements', but these folks seem to be, by how they are being described, as genuine. I'm going to follow the progress of the product through the testing that has been proposed. 

  10. 15 hours ago, David Burgess said:

    Soundpost setters don't kill violins, people do! ;)

     Sure, but would you not rather see a strict and careful vetting, training and licensing process, and back ground checks before some ham fisted boob takes delivery of a soundpost  setter?  And should not soundpost setters be regulated to designs that will cause minimal damage to violins if used abusively by an angry person who is  perhaps a wind repair specialist who has deep issues with violinists? 

  11. There are different kinds of 'liners' in old guitars. 

    There are Kerfed liners, or Kerfing- it's a gerund, both a verb and a noun.  You can do a kerfing job, and also call the liner 'kerfing' as a noun. 

    Kerfed liners are kerfed with little cuts stopped at a certain depth to render the strip of wood flexible. Old kerfed liners are usually Spruce or Cuban cedar or what ever worked. 

    There are three usual kind of liner in old guitars- Kerfed, Crimped and Flat. The triangular blocks are called 'tentalones' 'teeth' - Those are used for a top down construction process where the blocks are pressed to the top and sides with glue and the back is put on last. The tenalones are almost always found only on the top, but a few weird instances of backs with glue blocks are known. 

    Crimped and kerfed liners are similar, but crimped liners were made with a tool like pliers that crushed a slotted depression in the liner at short intervals in order to make it flexible. I've seen trade celli and a few basses with crimped liners. The Iberian makers in Portugal and Spain would often use crimped liners. But more often tentalones on the top and flat liners on the back. Crimped liners not popular today except for a few old school Portugese factories..alas ..

    Flat liners are almost exactly like cello liners, but not as tall. Maybe 1/2" to 5/8" and 2. 5 to 3.5 mm thick. Usually Spruce, Beech, Cuban Cedar or any trash wood  light and not prone to cracking. The flat liners can also be found on a lot instruments before the mid 19th century in Iberia, but in Germany, France, and any northern area where guitars where made the liners were often crimped, flat or kerfed on both top and back. Triangular glue blocks seems to have been mostly an Iberian thing. Romantic guitars in Russia and non Iberian places were usually not made with tentalones. 

    Lots of early guitars did not even have liners, paper, of  parchment tabs might have been used to connect tops and sides and no liners on the back. 

    Flat liners used one way or another are probably overall most common to all building styles regions and time periods. 

    Everything you ever wanted to know or not  know about liners....
     

  12. The pegbox is really interesting, it has the right moves and design, but slopply cut.  And the robust naturalness of the belly and back arching- it looks very unselfconscious like a lot of Testore work. And it's certainly old...I'd check it out carefully before calling it.  I've seen a few Testore celli and it's not far from what I've seen. I've seen Testore work actually much 'worse'.   There's a Testore cello in the SF Symphony that looks like the back was carved with a dull adze, literally. I would not put anything past them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

  13. My take on Mr.Tony is that he benefited from 120 years or more of professional practice and culture of violin making that had coherence to a pretty good set of standards in Cremona and surrounding area; making a violin that everyone could agree on was in the air. And because regional flavor and design was not watered down by a faster moving world, the violin as Cremonese and other Italian's knew it developed with a high degree of continuity in professional practice. Stradivari somehow learned an extremely high level of fluency with hand tools and entered into the business with a lot of skill, which freed his mind to range over conceptual issues in design, sound and marketing ( It looks like he knew how to kiss royal ass really good.)  The making aspect, his skill was a the part that likely caused him to be organized, he must have had a mind like Henry Ford, he had it seems no shortage of native intelligence as an expert at finding the critical path through the work. That path was likely shown by his wood working ability; he was able to organize wood working to be really efficient. 

    And then he was able to utilize all the discoveries and methods of a cohesive comprehensive school. He did not have to invent a method, he stepped into a school that was already well developed and maybe even teetering towards not being able to reinvent itself, it might have been in danger of begin coming over refined. I think one of his oddities, whether it is a strength or a weakness ( as Goldsmith points out) is that he was in the perfect position to extend the tradition and probably break with it because he seems independent, not beholden to a master other than himself at a fairly young age. He broke with tradition because he did not work under a master until he was say 35 or 40- I also think what Marvin said about the color is very salient. He sold sexy looking  violins to the royals who identified royalty with reds and purples. 

    As for alchemy, I'd have to think on that more, I know what you mean about alchemy,but I think a lot of times alchemy is a metaphorical device, not really a practice.  One interesting intersection between alchemy and Stradivari is that in alchemical texts there is often a missing  key or parts that are written to mislead someone who finds the text. One has to be initiated into the use of a text by the alchemical master who created it. And that's the metaphor of Stradivari with alchemy, maybe the text is written to mislead? The idea that there's 'secret knowledge' is the 'key' that's meant to mislead. 

  14.  

     

    Link to a quick article about the Tsunami violin project. I posted it here in instead of the fingerboard for a reason....the Fingerboard can veer into the snarky ...anyway. 

    This project is interesting because they made the instruments with some  wood from victims homes. And it's a really good use of violin making for a social purpose. I know a lot of makers take on projects that have a social development component, and that's big deal because it's difficult enough to just make or sell instruments. 

    The story of the instruments has made its way into some Japanese school text books, I have a photo upcoming. That's very important because it raises the visibility of the musical arts in the consciousness of the general public. I hope makers learn about the story and share it. 

     

    https://www.nippon.com/en/genre/culture/l10183/

     

    The story has now become part of the school text book curriculum along with issues in politics and science. A plus for violin making!  

    30729079_2012653415719515_5367142886627342594_n.jpg

    30741419_2012653412386182_1774027087953254948_n.jpg

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