Dominik Tomasek

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Posts posted by Dominik Tomasek

  1. 38 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

    It has properties similar to Meranti {Philippine mahogany} , it's good for guitars, never made a fiddle from it, mostly because it's kinda bland looking, but I;m quite sure you could make a good instrument from it, you just have to build it and find out.

    There are very few violins/fiddles made from species outside of Maple/Spruce, they exist, but % wise they are very rare. I think as time goes by we'll see more altspec violins as people see/hear others having some success with them.

    again one of the main reasons I make altspec instruments is because I know that for many different reasons lots of younger people are drawn to "different" looking instruments and that alternate visual aspects are often times a "Trick" that can be used to generate interest in bowed instruments.

    I am very well aware that violins made from alternative wood species are rare and personally I've abandoned experimenting with different woods when building violins. But for violas it is a different story. I have been quite succesfully using beech for the back of my small violas. Personally I do not prefer the sound of quater cut maple back viola. I lean towards poplar, willow etc. That's why I was thinking about using Paulownia. 

    There is nothing left to do but to try I guess.


  2. Dear maestronetters,

    does anyone have any experience with paulownia wood? I have been searching the forum but found nothing regarding using the wood for the back plate, only for blocks. 

    From what I've found out it seems that it has somewhat similar properties as poplar. Am I right, or did I misunderstand? I was thinking about using paulownia for small viola back. 



  3. 6 minutes ago, Nestorvass said:

    Thank you thats exactly what I am going to do. If it turns out to be a disaster no problem, I will make it better the next time. If there was a luthier near me in Athens Greece I would go there in a heartbeat. Unfortunately there is not 

    Well, at least you found a gap in the market... :) 

  4. Dear Nestorvass,

    At first I did not want to attend any of this conversation, but I've got to say something I guess.

    Few years ago I was in the very same situation as you are right now. I was more than very willing to make a violin. I spent hours and hours on the internet looking for information and step by step guides. I also discovered the opinion that David and others have - that it is not a very straightforward task and that it is not particulary easy to make a living out of violin making. The plan to build a superb violin on the first try collapsed rather quickly. I had to give up all of my unrealistic ambitions and start with what I had - a simple template made by Addie and the videos. Althought I had the impression that I am making the best violin in the world, looking back now, it was a complete disaster. But after that, together with studying university and doing some part time jobs, I found a local luthier who was wiling to teach me and only then I realised what I was doing wrong. Almost everything to be honest. Now I am undergoing a formal training with this luthier mentioned above and only now I can say I am becoming a violin maker. 

    What I want to say with this? Go for it - make a violin, either from the poster or from one of Addie's molds. There are many ways to determine the arching heights and thicknesses. Many of them can be found on the internet. On some of my instruments I started hollowing the plates until I found that they are flexible enough. And it somehow worked, at least for the first instruments. But as you go for it, do not be discouraged and more importantly offended by someone trying to tell you that it is not as easy as you wold think. It is not only about telling you that you can do it, it is also about showing you the other side of the craft. Making 4 instruments for 5000€ per year is a nice idea but it often does not work this way. Plus take in mind that you have to buy materials yourself which is a lot of investments. Thus the price of the violin is not only for the instrument itself, it is also for everything what is behind it. 

    Do not think about it a lot and start working. You will realise it is a great fun if nothing else :) I have my fingers crossed for you!

    Best wishes!


  5. On 2/4/2020 at 5:37 PM, ScotPiper said:

    Hiya, Julian. 

    I noticed the date of your post as January 15. But only after I’d written my reply did I recognize  that 2019 is gone.... oh, well. Here’s a belated reply; maybe it’s useful anyway?


    I have a fair bit of experience using alcohol-spirit varnishes with a high ratio of colophony/rosin.

    When applying the second coat, the first coat feels “tacky” and grabs at the brush partway through a long stroke. I think it’s a combination of two things: the first coat is easily soluble in the second coat, and the colophony is drying too quickly on the brush.

    What I’ve done to mitigate the effect: reduce the relative quantity of colophony/rosin by adding seedlac; add lavender oil; keep the brush heavily loaded with varnish; dilute the alcohol with water.

    I’ve also found that high-ratio colophony/rosin varnishes are not terribly durable to abrasion and can be chippy, but also have a nice sparkle a shine.

    I’ve used 1:1 seedlac:colophony varnish a bit; for a while it was my go-to alcohol varnish. With practice and technique it goes on pretty alright. 

    An interesting demonstration is to soak a big piece of colophony in alcohol for a few minutes then pick it out and see how tacky/sticky it feels, and how long it continues to feel that way.

    Dear ScotPiper,

    thanks for those rather interesting informations. Did you have to colour your varnish somehow? 



  6. 9 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    It would be nice to know who to attribute it to, and give them credit. But I also understand if the safest thing to do in the internet age is to remain anonymous.

    I believe that the website is created by Czech violin maker Vojtěch Blahout. According to Google search he is also MN member.

  7. I do not and I do not hesitate to use wood that has knots in it as I find them very atractive. I only try to avoid knots that are not solid and have tendency to move or to fall from the wood. As Wood Butcher says I would try to avoid having them near SP area. 

  8. 9 hours ago, violinsRus said:

    This may be no help, but an acquaintance has an old American church bass with spruce back and belly that I thought was rather unique.   I'm not sure what it would be good for, as it's not likely to work as a modern cello.  but the spruce back is rather interesting, quarter sawn if I recall correctly, and in good condition.  I have never seen that before or since.

    violin Rus, thanks for the reply! I know there are church basses with spruce back and I am also well aware of some cheap factory made celli which also present a spruce back. Do you have any pictures of that instrument?

    I find this story about Testore and his all spruce cello rather interesting thus I am seeking information regarding this particular instrument. 

  9. Dear colleagues/Maestronetters

    Although I know that this kind of topics usually does not have too many replies I am still willing to try it.

    I am please seeking as many information as possible regarding all spruce (top + slab cut back) cello made by Testrore. It was mentioned several times here on the forum, mainly by Manfio. Photos are welcomed as well!

    Thank you for whatever you can share!


  10. The upper label says: 

    Restored by:

    V. Kulovaný (name)

    Pupil of M.Pikart (name)

    Luby u Chebu (city in the CR where violin making school is located, on the very far west of the republic)

    The other one in my opinion says:

    Libor Šefe (Šefl) - Luby u Chebu.

    Although it is hard for me to read it even though I am native speaker.


    The name on the lower label is Libor Šefl, I am enclosing one of his celli in the link below.


  11. Dear Maestronetters,

    reading the topic gave me this thought: How come do the 5 string violins play with it's "short" stop lenght/mensur? I do know that the dimensions of these instruments are sort of restricting the dark viola like sound but to my logic it seems that the problem could be, at least partially, solved by making the body a bit wider and the ribs higher. 

    Couldn't this be the way of stringing the small violas? Keeping the stop lenght shorter and using violin C string? 

    Sorry if I mix things up I just share what comes to my mind!   

  12. 9 hours ago, jezzupe said:

    to further point out my hypothesis, if we look closely at the first pic that is showing the blisters, we see that every single one of them is either on the more open porous spring growth line/delineation,or right next to a line,... and the effect on the back as the maple has different grain than the front, it is showing as more of an uneven orange peel'ish texture , some of which seems to be from application, and some from the under coat being not quite dry...imo

    but the top with every little bubble, bead, whatever you would like to call it, is on a line, which adds some evidence to my summary....for what its worth.

    IMO, inadequate dry times are a very common culprit in varnish problems, particularly with turpentine solvent based varnish, turpentine itself has the ability to REALLY soak into wood pores and stay wet for quite some time, thus wanting to off gas , which puts an exclamation point on the need for a proper ground coat that seals the wood with a dissimiliar base that will hopefully seal over the pores and not be resolventable based on being of a different base...

    beyond the dry times being pushed too close for recoating, the gelatin coat was most likely to thin and thus not that monolithic, which allows the following turp based varnish to fall into the pores...

    also, by applying the coat too soon to the first varnish coat, which may feel hand dry, it is only skinned and the second coat will resolvent the under coat and give the effect that is seen on the back, which is all the more reason to rely on your nose to tell you when something is dry rather than your hand.

    Dear jezzupe,

    thanks. Now I also do think that the probles is caused by not giving the varnish proper time to cure. It does not seem to be caused by the colourant as this would appear right after the first coat. 

    I'll run some tests as others advice me and I will see. Also I will kepp updating this topic if needed. 

    Thanky you all! 


  13. 7 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    Internet diagnosis can be really difficult. Next time I am in the Czech Republic (which I don't expect to be really soon), I'd be happy to get together with you, and we could probably nail this down in 15 minutes or less.

    Hahah, I see, that would be the easiest way to solve all these problems I have. Sorry for being so confusing - this is my first time varnishing and as you can see I am still not completely sure what I am doing!