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  1. J.DiLisio's Bench

    I've found that Everclear is the best stuff for both stripping failed varnish attempts and cleaning brushes. I was using Acetone and Turpentine for a bit and not only were the fumes unbearable but neither really worked as well. I have yet to try drinking the stuff.. considering what it can do to a violin I'm not sure I'd want it working on my insides! The cradle is something I've been meaning to upgrade for some time. I made it for my first violin and it doesn't really fit archings all that well. I use quickgrip clamps to secure to the table and catch the edge or corners of the plate so it doesn't slip out.
  2. J.DiLisio's Bench

    I just recently obtained some 30yr old red maple with deep flaming. I'll be saving this for something nice..
  3. J.DiLisio's Bench

    I'm pretty happy with the way the ground turned out. There is definitely some burning in on the end grain but nothing too obscene. I had to reheat the varnish and add more oil to get it to a workable consistency and I think having a high oil to resin ratio makes it dry very fast.
  4. J.DiLisio's Bench

    This was an extreme case where wetting and clamping to a board wasn't doing the trick.
  5. J.DiLisio's Bench

    Hello neighbor! It's pretty nice to have a place like International VIolin right up the street. Maybe we could do shop visits sometime.
  6. J.DiLisio's Bench

    Rabbit urine can be ordered online along with just about any other type of urine you would want.
  7. J.DiLisio's Bench

    Ha! By the time the concoction is applied there is no foul odor to speak of. It's really not as gross as it sounds. In Baltimore we have a tradition of horse drawn produce sellers called Arabbers. It's a pretty surreal experience to have one of these guys wander down your city street. I'm lucky enough to have a friend in the Arabber Preservation Society who allowed me to access the fresh stable dung. This is the first experiment I've tried with the stuff but so far the results are pleasing.
  8. J.DiLisio's Bench

    Today I put a ground layer on the Kochanski copy. The varnish really looks golden as it goes down on the gypsum..
  9. J.DiLisio's Bench

    I've also been working on a dark colophony varnish a la Hargrave. I've been through several types of colophony and have been experimenting with cook times and temp. I think I've finally settled on something. Here are test strips from the most recent batch.. The color seems to build up to a decent darkness in three layers. It will look darker on tanned wood as well. I ended up using a bit of madder in the top layers of my last instrument to push it more into the reddish spectrum.
  10. J.DiLisio's Bench

    Here are a few more progress shots.. I made the corner blocks too small on this mould. I have since adjusted. I started this instrument with the scroll for a change.. You can make out the sap pocket patch in the following photos.. I really like the shape of the Kochanski ff's. I decided to keep them asymmetric. The Vieuxtemps scroll is pretty meaty in size but similar in style. Dremmel routing.. My label! I left these plates untouched for a few months and they were warped pretty badly when I came back. Unfortunately the edge consistency has suffered from sanding them down flat again.
  11. Greetings from Baltimore! I'm a self taught, amateur maker currently working on my 6th and 7th instruments. I appreciate and welcome all criticism. Please let me know if I'm doing something wrong! To start off, here are a couple DG copies that I've been slowly cranking out over the last year.. Kochanski on the left and Vieuxtemps on the right.. 1740-41 seems to be a sweet spot for Del Gesu's. The instruments from this year are all very unique in character without being to exaggerated. The fiddle on the left has been treated with a horse manure/rabbit urine concoction and tanned for a week or so. I'm pretty happy with the color.
  12. 1995 Del Gesu Book

    Thanks to both of you for the swift replies. There seems to be a lack of information online regarding this book but it sounds like it would be a worthwhile suppliment to the Biddulph and Hill books.
  13. 1995 Del Gesu Book

    Does anyone own a copy or know anything about the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu - Cremona 1995 book? I'm curious to know if it has full size images and if it features different instruments than the Biddulph book.
  14. Seeking Arching Templets

    Just wondering if anyone uses the half templates as suggested by Roger Hargrave.. It makes sense to me that DG would have had just one set of universal templates that could be used with plates of varying shape and dimension.
  15. Melvin Goldsmith bench

    Melvin, your work is truly inspiring! Your choice of non-standard woods and models are so much more interesting than the typical golden era strad copy. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your projects.