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Dominik Tomasek

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Posts posted by Dominik Tomasek

  1. On 11/24/2021 at 2:23 PM, Flattmountain said:

    Thank you! 
    id imagine that beech ribs would be interesting as one could simply wet bend them I heard.  

    It indeed is. Using beech for the ribs is perfect. It cuts like butter and bending it is beyond easy. The look under varnish is quite appealing too. I do also have very good experience with using quatered beech for small viola backs. The plate generally needs to be a bit thinner than maple back, but it gives the instrument sort of deeper sound as you can even hear in del Gesú's Terminator for example.  

  2. On 8/9/2021 at 7:37 PM, RobertL said:

    That said damar for me worked really well. Nothing special just winsor and newton.

    Dear RobertL,

    did you use the W&N dammar varnish straight out of the bottle? I once, from no obvious reason but mainly as an experiment, tried to use Umton Dammar varnish (used for varnishing paintings obviously) but with no luck. Although it dried fairly quickly and seemed to be hard enough, I could not touch the instrument as the heat of my hand made the varnish sticky almost immediately.

  3. From what I can see there are two different (?) instruments in the OP. If not I am confused! Anyway I agree with HoGo that the instrument in the first picture has got beech back. Not quatre sawn but beech. I have been quite successful with using beech in small viola backs, they give the instrument quite warm sound but also a bit of a weight. As HoGo says there is a famous Del Gesú violin with beech back and also there is a Paolo Testore viola with back plate of the same wood. 

  4. 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.


  5. 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. 



  6. 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... :) 

  7. 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!


  8. 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? 



  9. 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.

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