Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About jordanmcdowell15

  • Birthday 09/26/1988

Recent Profile Visitors

1031 profile views

jordanmcdowell15's Achievements

Junior Member

Junior Member (2/5)

  1. That sounds like the most sensible thing to do. The instrument was designed with a particular stop, string and neck length in mind. And I don't think ff hole misplacement should dictate such consequential changes. Thanks for the advice.
  2. Davide, as always, the video is amazing. Thanks for posting them. I can only dream of being as steady and graceful as you. Maybe one day I suppose. I hadn't thought of that yet, Marty. That would be a pain for sure. If it gives problems I will remake the belly. I intend on stringing it up before varnish as I anticipate wanting to make graduation adjustments.
  3. Thank you Christopher. That is exactly what I was looking for. Good to know David. Very comforting. And Jackson... Im sure I need more time and experience in those areas and probably a sharper knife. I use pretty much what you use based on it's description. For the technique, I'm picturing the knife at more of an angle as it comes through the plate, in order to catch multiple growth rings. This is something I haven't tried yet so, thanks. Always learning!
  4. Alright... I made a boo boo. For some reason I cut my f holes in 10 mm south of what I had planned. I was going for a 223mm stop length. Ended up at 233. Oh well... I see that Guarneri experimented with f hole placement and there's quite a bit of variation, so I'm not too bent out of shape about it. This placement did have an impact on the alignment or uprightness of the f holes. I kept wondering why I was having such trouble placing them more upright without moving the bottom eyes too far from the edge. Now, they're leaning quite a bit. I do think this may be detrimental to the vibration of the top plate but I'm willing to complete and replace the top if needed later. I really wanted them to be almost parallel. Darn it. Maybe next time. Does anyone have any input on this situation? Possible outcomes tonally? Should I consider trashing it and start over? Figuring the angles at the heel and the neck length have always been basically handed to me via templates from books or posters. This time, since I'm not copying anything in particular, especially with the new stop length problem, I had to figure it myself. I think the best way to go about this is to draw it on paper. So here's what I've come up with. I would like to know if any of these figures look wrong enough to make the instrument unplayable or at least aggravating. This is a 417mm viola with a now 233mm stop length. I've come up with 2 options for neck/ string length. Obviously I can move the nut placement anywhere in between but here are what I consider the 2 extremes. I don't know which is the more important parameter to stick to. Please advise. Option 1: neck length 142.5mm nut to edge of plate(150 to end of neck block) string length 380mm Option 2: Neck length 150mm nut to edge of plate(158 to end of neck block) String length 387mm. All other parameters are the same 8mm overstand 8mm inset into end block 32mm finger board projection at bridge 37mm bridge height(on paper anyways) Neck thickness including fingerboard 22@ lower end and 20 near the nut Fingerboard radius 38mm Fingerboard length 305mm Tailpiece I have is 129mm so after length will be somewhere around 64mm. String clearance in middle of fingerboard 4mm.. that's 3.5 and 5mm at A and C respectively. I can't quite wrap my mind around the relationship between the fb radius and bridge arch so I hope I'm not throwing myself off there. Am I missing anything? One last question... What do your knives or other tools look like that are responsible for the end grain areas below and above the wings? Either my knives are not sharp enough or I'm using the wrong tool all together. Those areas on mine are quite ragged.
  5. Lol Jim. Good to hear from you. I thought that's what you guys were doing. I do record that particular tap tone and a couple others for my violins with my studio software, but I'm not at all sure how they should compare to this viola. I don't want to rely on that too much of that anyhow. I think I may be better off going off of feel for stiffness for now until I find a tap tone that works consistently. I'll be sure to record a viola version of ashokan farewell. Maybe we can get a rise out of ole Joe Thrift.
  6. Thank you Davide! I agree about the weight. I was following Manfio's advice about thickness but now that I've graduated mine, it seems that I must be using higher density wood. Im glad you specified about where you would remove wood because my guess would have been uneducated at best. I'm at 4mm+ around the c bout edges. Should these areas be trimmed to say 3.4 or so as well? Thanks
  7. I'm about half way through with the sound box of my first viola. Im interested in getting some advice before I close it up, while there's still time to tweak things. I've searched and read many MN Viola making threads and that's where I got my basic idea of how I want to build the instrument. I'm not sticking strictly to any one specific set of plans or model. Now that I'm in the actual process there are areas in which I would like more specific guidance. I bought my tone wood from internationalviolin.com which is what I'm used to working with. I stole some ideas from the tertis model and wrote down everything I could find by luis manfio on the measurements of his builds along with keeping notes from other experienced makers. Here's my first question. Should I remove anymore thickness from the back? If so, where? Here is a graduation map. Hopefully you can read the numbers. The back still feels stiff to me but my only reference comes from my violin builds. The only tap tone I listened for was the one where you balance the plate on your thumb, tap the top bout while listening to the plate vibrate. I probably don't know what I'm listening for. The sustain is not bad and the tone is clear in my inexperienced opinion. The entire channel(just inside the purfling) is 3.5 mm and it has a 2 mm plate/rib overhang. There will be less than usual recurve or scoop at the plate edges(tertis idea). Surely you do not have enough information yet, so Im happy to provide anything else that may help someone give advice. Thanks in advance. Overall length 417 Upper bout width 190 Middle bout width 134 Lower bout width 258(tertis idea) Back arching height 18mm Thickest area is placed at 223 mm from the bottom... Reverse stop position Back weight 185 gm before scraping the pencil numbers(seems heavy) Rib height is a steady taper from 40 mm at the end pin to 35 mm at the neck. Garland weight 78 gm
  8. What is tang? Can't find it with Google search unless you're talking about the orange drink. But since Michael has a 400 year old batch, I'm guessing that ain't it.... I almost set my fiddle on fire yesterday. Not really a varnishing exercise... More revenge for not wanting to except it's new sound post. Anyhow, how do you put the fire out quickly? I've heard sand(oded kishony) but I don't know the details.
  9. Thanks Jim. Andreas. I'll keep that in mind about the patchiness. May even fix it before it sets. This is my 9th instrument. It was time for some experimentation. I'm still not happy with a few characteristics of the overall appearance of my varnish in general...the flames need more contrast, the sheen(after polishing) is too glossy, film not transparent enough...etc. And I'm trying out different methods to see what's what. Thanks, Andreas, for the critique.. It's nice to have someone to tell me what Im aiming at.....things I wouldn't naturally think about, things I've yet to study about. Anyhow, I have 4 more fiddles ready for tops so I'll have plenty to practice on soon.
  10. Thanks Jim. I've been studying varnish recipes. The Michelman recipes are pretty intriguing at the moment. Within the next few instruments, I'll be trying some of them. Not sure I'll be ready to put one on this one. So it will probably be the Hargrave recipe from the bass book. I hope to make it on Friday. And I may antique it a little. Hope you've been well
  11. Last night I cooked an oil varnish. Very small amount with some "dance rosin". Just an experiment really. Seems to be a good all purpose clear. This morning I brushed on a rather strong instant coffee stain. I then mixed a pumice mineral paste using my new varnish(very small amount). The paste was then rubbed vigorously into the pores. It's in the light box now.
  12. I've been doing some varnish/ground research lately and am experimenting with some new techniques. I'll probably post some various images of successful and failed processes and results therefrom with both good and bad outcomes. This is, of course, a running record for me and possibly other learners like myself. I'm rather inexperienced in almost anything involving raw materials. Feel free to critique my methods and products. That is, after all, why I'm here. So far, I've kept it simple and achieved mediocre results at best. My usual sequence would be something like this: Sun bath Coffee Pumice/dilute shellac mineral pore filler 3 or so thin coats of garnet shellac 1 coat Amber or clear IVC oil varnish Glaze with artist oil paint 2 or 3 coats of clear oil varnish Polish On the right is a is white, freshly carved fiddle back for comparison. The process thus far for the fiddle on the right has been 8-10 days in the light box Tea stain (1 family size bag of orange pekoe from food lion in 1 or 2oz of boiling water and allowed to steep for 5 hours. applied tap water to areas of endgrain to limit soaking in then applied tea to the whole fiddle) Placed fiddle in large plastic tub along with a small fan and 1/2cup of ammonium carbonate for about 5 hours. I can see that given more time in the fumes, it would probably kick over to green/black. It's been 20 hours since it left the fuming tub A few questions. Would it be ok or even beneficial to put water in the ammonium carbonate for fuming? Does the AC lose its potency out of the jar? It seemed to have lost some of its smell. Did I make up a new word?... therefrom
  13. Here's a video of Joe thrift's brief summary of violin building on the pbs show "the woodwrights shop". He bends ribs at about the 4 and a half minute mark. Since seeing this method and putting it into practice, I'll likely never do it any other way. Hope this helps. https://thirteen.org/programs/the-woodwrights-shop/woodwrights-shop-violin-maker-joe-thrift/ Season 27 ep 7 if that won't pull up
  14. Thanks mike. The pleasure was mine. Today I set the neck. Glue's drying now. I'll have to send you an mp3 so you can hear it.
  • Create New...