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Stephen Faulk

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Everything posted by Stephen Faulk

  1. Someone just advised me to jump in and say something so a bunch of people could tell me I'm probably worng. :D The question more directly is, if you are working to understand a system, what components do you keep as constants? If you want to understand problem in instrument making what parts do you use as a control to compare various ideas you tried out? In guitar making if you keep the outline, body depth, scale length more or less the same you can work on top thickness and how the bridge, top a bracing pattern work together. That would give you enough stuff to work on for a really long time. So I'm asking in violin making for each person, which things to you keep at a constant to use as a gauge and which things do you change and watch? Or is that not a relevant approach?
  2. This is facinating, especially when you read what a person says and then look to see how much practical experience they have over a long period of time. In guitarmaking, the place I'm coming from currently, the advice I was given a while back was find one model you like and build it over and over until you understand it and can make it go. I had to build the same model about 15 times before it began to make sense. It seems like basic things, bass bar size edges, f holes and placement, arching, geometry...the basics are pretty complex. And the models are complex in that a minor size difference in the pattern you choose shifts all the ways that the basic elements work together. So the question is, how can you begin to think about systemic issues unless you commit to doing a particular pattern over and over enough times to understand how it works? Realizing that the pattern is one of the basic elements to work with, it is also one of the things you can use to give your system some type of control element. A constant that gives you something to compare instrument #1 to instrument #6. You can build the first six guitars and think "Oh boy, I have arrived." and then number seven teaches you a lesson it takes numbers 8,9 and 10 to figure out. If everything is up for grabs all at once, how can you figure anything out? And the egghead approach to technologically thinking your way around making instruments six though twelve, leaves me, scratching my egg head. Hooray! I've made enemies today!!!
  3. Graduating the cello back reminds me of a time I had to rent an electric jack hammer with a spade bit to remove several old layers of tile from a kitchen floor. The I returned the jack hammer I said to the old boy who was working the desk. "Wow, that was not fun." He replied "Son, we don't rent fun." Next time I'm getting a grinding wheel with a toothy bit to hog out the main hollow, then finish with the delicate tools.
  4. I've made 1704 varnish several times and used it in restoration work and revarnishing early 2oth century German factory celli I have rebuilt. It works well, I've used the recipe with shellac, oil of spike, elemy etc. I'm interested also in learning to make and work with a less complicated pine resin - oil varnish. Less complicated mens not using super high temp. I've been researching it and was wondering if someone would know where, ball park page, in the Hargrave bass thread the varnish talk might be? The thread is more than twenty pages and I would not ask but I have limited time online due to my location. Thank you if you can help.
  5. Ok, not that it's Earth shattering or anything, but I thought I would show how far I've gotten by my lonesome. Wanted to get a little street cred and not be one of those internet guys that just talks, drives by and never does anything. I did the purfling last week, off the ribs.
  6. Thank you. That was nice. It makes sense, my teacher studied violin with him and worked in his shop during the late 30's. They later reconnected in CA I suspect in the late 50's or early 60's. Kings move to Banning makes sense to me.
  7. Curious, if any leads on information about him. He was my first teachers teacher and I would like to hear about him if anyone has heard of him. He worked in Phoenix/ Tempe area as far as I know in the 1930's 1940's. Would he be listed in a book about American violin makers? ( I dont have access to a library at this time so I can't research it. ) Appreciate it if any leads or thoughts.
  8. Thanks for the reply, I understand this much. There is no "Attach Files" button under the dialog box or on the menu presented after I press "More Reply Options". Oh Well...I guess it's not to be.
  9. I read through all the instructions at the top of the Pegbox forum in the thread about how to post photos from your hard drive and I still can't find the button in this dialog window to select "Browse photos" .....any help on this? I've been waiting for three days for a word about it.
  10. I have some photos of the cello I'm working on, but I can't seem to upload them. Do you have to pass the ten moderated posts before you can share photos?
  11. Have you ever tried Buflex and Assilex? They are woven flexible abrasive sheets used in the auto body industry. I've been using them for a few years now and I have had really good results. They are designed to cut, but not stratch. If you want know more let me know.
  12. Thanks Christopher, I got your email and I'll write to Ryosuke. You're right it is idylic in the sense that I am working full time and fishing when I want....but no tacos or burritos here. The 'taco' have eight legs. ( language joke) I miss my old buddies and such, but life will bring new things along and my old friends will always he there when I visit the US. I just had a guitarist who lives in Korea come visit for a few days and play my guitars, soon I'll meet Jpanese players of both gutiars and cellos and I'll not feel so isolated from live music. I really live in the boonies. Next beginner question: Before I left the US I had bought some varnish, from Ace Hardware of all places, it was soy oil based, I think. I tested it and I was happy to use it for this cello, but you can't ship that stuff and I gave it up when we moved. I have to start over selecting or making a varnish. I've made and used variations of the 1704 ( sandrac elemy, shellac, oil of spike etc. )varnish for many years, but I don't want use that for the cello. I was able to bring pigments and dyes, but curious abvout opinins. Should I try to make a pine resin varnish? I've tried before and gave up because I did not have enough time. I collected shoe box full of pine resin and melted it, but also never had tiem to cook it realizing shippign it would not sit well with customs officials. Or pick another spar varnish? Other than the pine resin varnishes that are bng made today by the expert varnish makers I could see much of a differnce between commerrcial oil varnish "for violins" and some high quality spar varnishes in the marnine supply store. Right now I'm working on dying the veneers I made, we'll see how they turn out. If they don't work I found some black dyed poplar veneer I had been saving. If this was a guitar project I would be be so chatty, but the cello/coffee combinaiton in the morning makes me want to chat.
  13. Hi Andres... Christopher, I don't know your friend, wish I did. I live about 700 miles from Tokyo, which is both good and bad. I've not made any friends in the instrument building community yet here in Japan. I live in a small fishing town called Akune on the west coast of Kyushu. I'm also unfortunately about 275 miles from Fukuoka which has a world class orchestra. A fish out of water as it were, I'm from San Francisco and I'm used to lots of baroque music played on period instruments and the chamber groups that stop in every month. Eventually I'll meet music people near me, I'm hoping posting here eventually lead to someone knowing someone who is in my area. Meanwhile, Juzupe, I've made that gall nut ink before in California...fun stuff. I've also used the steel wool in vinegar and had good results. I'm soaking some steel wool in string rice vinegar now. Hmmm steel wool yum yum. I'm going to try soaking veneer in sumi ( black ink) but I'm going to condition the veneer with something to make it softer first. But like you say, it's an issue to get veneer to dye all the way through. I also have a bow I made years ago I need some help with, do you guys do that here too?
  14. Thanks for the replies. I'm making some samples out of various things I have and I'll see what happens. Problem with being here in Japan is that I can't read the language so ordeirng online from within Japan means I have to ask my wife to translate and then she asks all kinds of questions about how much of this and that I need, then we get pissy with each other, so I try to avoid that. She does not undertand the differnce between the high quality materials and low quality, so it's just better for the time being if I order from overseas when I have money from a sale. I know, I know, that sounds weird. On the other side of that issue, there are really good tools at the hardware stores, but they are not any cheaper here, not by much. So when we go shopping at teh big AZ store I slip water stones and bolts into grocery basket...."Oh my how did THAT get there.." hee hee Then I get the evil stare and I plead, "but I really need that"....anyway. I'm closing an old open loop by building a cello. I started one when I was 17 or 18 in late 70's and then never was able to finish it. I began in a semi professional bow makers shop when I was in high school and I stayed with him for three,four years back then and soaked up a lot of information. I kept in touch with that teacher and worked in that shop over a twewnty year period when ever I visted my hometown. He always wanted me to build cellos so part of it is about followlng though and to be with the fond memories of my first teacher. He set me up with a base of knowledge and skills that my eventual guitar making teacher noticed and took me as a student because of them. Ilve never owned good cello for mysef either and now I bet I can make one better than the coarse student in struments I've played over the years. I also need a break from other guitarmakers and guitarists, I have to do some building for myself. Guitar making is fascinating, but unless you build archtops, which I don't want to make, you only get flat plates for top and back. I've just got a need to be challenged by working with arching that I don't get in guitarmaking. If that all makes sense. __ I planed off some veneers of Port Orford and I have rusty nails and vinegar, I'll see how that goes.
  15. Thinks Jezzupe, very helpful. Binding a guitar and purfling a cello must have some cross over skills, but I have nto done a cello yet. I looked at your crazy and wonder instruments, very cool. I'd like to play one of your cellos. I was introduced to violins by my first in strumetn making teacher andhe was a minor collector and horse trader of Italian instruments, but I like other directions too. I played cello in a group that was two ukuleles, mandolin, bass and three of them sang 60's & 70's Am radio hits and TV theme songs. The stage presence of a non traditional cello would have worked great there. I left my baroque bow at home on those practice nights. I'm in tough spot to get any black veneer any time soon, I live in Japan and I try not to make small orders of materials. I have some Port Orford Cedar strips on hand which was thinking of planing down to make the middle element for the purfling, and then brazenly using thick black paper to make my black lines by laminating the paper to the Port Orford and then stripping out the purfling from that. Becasue I've seen it in Italian instruments, but it seems like such a terrible un politically correct thing to do today. The other option is to find some dye and make black lines out to the Port Orford, or buy Chinese purfling on eBay. Gasp. I don't see myself getting any logwood anytime soon. Other dyes that might work? I've got planty of light colored clear poplarish woods. I see you use other colors besides BWB purling. I have left over ribs of Cavuna which is dark grey and turns darker under varnish. I thought about Cavuna -Port Orford- Cavuna? I get the idea of Italian making and the various materials associated with different families and towns, but I'm more inclined to do the forst cello with something local and easy get.
  16. I've been working on my first cello, which I began 3 years ago and had to put it away for a while. It's back on the bench and I have time to work on it. I work in another area of luthery for a living so I have skills (and some violin making training), but not all of them specific to vioin making. The cello is based loosely on the Strobel book, but I gave it a tiny bit extra width. The top is a light Sitka and the back & sides are Big Leaf Maple. I resawed all the wood myself from some very old lumber I bought from a bass builder. The wood is not glamorous, but attractive enough. At this point I have the back arching almost finished and will continue to graduating it in a few days. I have the ribs assembled and I intend to glue the back to the ribs and do the purfling when the back is on the ribs. The cello is for me to play and it's a learning project, I'm not that worried if it has mistakes or a few mild oddities. I'm more interested in learning about process, correct action geometry and how that contributes to style. I just need to finish it so I can get some good feedback on how to make the next one. Curious if anyone has done it this way or does it this way as a matter of course? If so any hints or insights about going through the purfling process this way would be appreciated. S.
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