Chris Llana

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About Chris Llana

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    Fallbrook, CA
  1. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

    Flame on #27 looks nicely three-dimensional, even with the small photo.
  2. Chris Llana

    Shining the fingerboard

    Sand with up to 1500 (at least) grit sandpaper, then apply oil, let dry, buff with 0000 steel wool, then apply paste wax, let dry, and buff out with cloth to mirror finish.
  3. Chris Llana

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    After I read this, I thought why would a judge ask the model? Aren't they supposed to be leading authorities, much better versed in violins than the people they are judging? Wouldn't they be able to recognize whether a violin was based on a Strad or a del Gesu, Stainer, or whatever, or a hybrid, without having to ask the builder? Or do they want to know if the hapless builder intended a Strad copy, and the instrument at hand looked like something completely different — that is, the builder was not competent to make a recognizable copy? Would that matter, if the end-product was excellent? Is one of the criterion in judging whether the builder can produce an authentic copy? If that is the case, would building on one's own model be viewed askance by purist judges?
  4. Chris Llana

    Shiny mirror finish?

    Michael Köberling posted this photo previously. He said the finish was up to his customer, and that the Japanese market mostly preferred a polished finish.
  5. Chris Llana

    Alternatives to e string parchment

    A little epoxy soaked into the top edge of the bridge?
  6. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

  7. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

    It seems that figuring out how to repair accidents is often the most effective way to improve skills. :-)
  8. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

    Best looking spruce I've ever seen! Looks like micro-figuring.
  9. Chris Llana

    Power tools for carvin violin back

    OP asked for recommendations for a power tool. A high speed grinder with a coarse-grit sanding pad works well. You need to check progress frequently with templates to make sure you don't go too far.
  10. Chris Llana

    Recording of Einstein playing Mozart

    An examination of Einstein’s brain revealed that the area of his brain cortex devoted to the movement of his left fingers had developed a large fold called the Omega sign, which is common to violin players who have developed fine dexterity in the fingers of their left hands. Piano players’ brains develop the same Omega sign, but in both hemispheres of the brain. So it's apparent that he was an accomplished violinist.
  11. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

    Don, did you consider using Wittner geared fine-tune pegs as an alternative to fine tuners on the tailpiece? Just personal preference? Using the mechanical pegs introduces string friction over the nut as a possible disadvantage (tension can be different on either side of the nut due to friction between nut and string). The contact of the string over the nut would seem to be significantly greater than the contact area of string over the bridge. In both cases the friction may be inconsequential for a violin. It's a factor with electric guitars where string bending pulls some string over the nut—from between nut and tuner, that doesn't all return when the tension is released (there are electric guitar bridges that incorporate fine tuners).
  12. Chris Llana

    Aging Eyes and Seeing Things

    I had my cataract surgery performed at a major university hospital eye center; the surgeon was ranked as one of the leading in the country. That said, it was a teaching facility, and the surgeon trained a rotating parade of residents, who were tasked with helping functions, often unsupervised, and seemed as often as not to be guessing when a decision had to be made. I believe it was one of those followup decisions that led to my first detached retina. Also, the surgery followed the old-school hands-on approach, so residents-in-training could better understand what was happening. There are newer procedures where a computer-controlled machine does all the precision alignment and laser cutting, but perhaps that's not a good teaching moment. If I were to do it again, I would find a private practice. My new implanted plastic "intra-ocular lenses" were single (distance) vision. There are also now lenses that allow you to see both near and far, although they are more expensive. I read that patients with the new lenses were happier with the result than those getting the simpler distance-only lenses. I opted for the basic lenses because at the time I read there were fewer complications and distance vision could be clearer with the old lenses than the focus-able ones, but I've recently seen there are more new models of the ones you can see near and far. Best to discuss the pros and cons with your ophthalmologist.
  13. Chris Llana

    Aging Eyes and Seeing Things

    I had cataract surgery, although at the time the cataracts were not too bad, but I was lured by the promise of 20/20 vision without glasses. Actually got the 20/20 vision, but also got the "rare" complication of a detached retina, something that requires emergency (within a couple of days) surgery to avoid permanent blindness. A year later, vision was blurry again, this time due to posterior capsule opacification, a common (50%) complication to the cataract surgery. This is fixed by a simple, quick procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy, which however also produced for me the "rare" complication — detached retina, again. This time in my other eye. So six eye surgeries. With age, most people develop posterior vitreous detachment. The vitreous — the gel-like layer covering the retina — pulls away and produces floaters, and may also produce flashes (bright lights in peripheral vision), caused by the vitreous tugging on the retina. If it tugs too hard, you can get holes/tears in the retina and a detached retina. If you suddenly see lots of floaters and flashes, go immediately to an eye doctor. My detached retinas manifested themselves as a black semicircle that started in my peripheral vision and gradually grew larger, moving toward the center of my field of view. If it reaches your macula (area at the middle of your field of view, where vision is most detailed, surgery may not be able to restore your vision to what it was). The surgery to correct my detached retinas was called pneumatic cryopexy. A very cold probe is pushed against the outside of the eye while the surgeon looks inside the eye; the probe is positioned where the retina holes/tears are and when triggered, it freezes the tissue all the way through the white of the eye (sclera) to the retina, forming scar tissue which tacks the retina to the underlying pigment epithelium. Then they inject a gas into your eye, which forms a big bubble, which floats to the top. The gas bubble holds the retina against the underlying tissue, so it can heal. Then for the next week or so, you hold your eye so that the detached part of the retina is "up." In my case, upright with the head tilted left. All day and all night, 24/7, sleeping sitting upright. Beats going blind. The scar tissue can shrink with time, wrinkling the retina around that spot. (There are other things that cause scar tissue formation, including pigment cells landing on the retina.) That's called a macular pucker, and it is mostly benign (a small distortion in your vision), but it can have complications, including retinal detachment. If the macular pucker becomes a problem, surgery (delicate) can correct it, but the surgery can also have complications, including retinal detachment. Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures in the U.S., and one of the safest, but it's not without risks. So my vision is now more or less 20/20 after all of this, but I have a collection of reading glasses ($15 over-the-counter) in powers 1.25 (for computer work), 1.5 (for reading paper documents), and 2.0 (for closer needs). Also the usual head visor magnifier for really close work.
  14. Chris Llana

    Recommendations: Face Shield and Respirator

    I've been using this full-face respirator for a few years. Great fit and doesn't fog up. Protects both eyes and lungs. I have both organic vapor and dust cartridges. Costs $150 but how much is your future health worth? How much do you spend for a single doctor visit? This is a size large; they have a medium for about $125.
  15. Chris Llana

    Don Noon's bench

    Congratulations! Well deserved!