uncle duke

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  1. uncle duke

    Extremely stubborn blocks!!

    A mini clothes iron made for neck ties works well, if you can find one. I use aluminum foil across the top without removing the frets. I thought about something after posting and that was the 3 or 4 that I have removed were rosewood, maybe 1 stained bloodwood. Point being is you may have to reset some frets and do some fingerboard refinishing afterwards. Use thin cardboard protector over the guitar top to protect the finish from heat. I don't recall having to use water to create steam. When the frets are too hot to the touch you'll know the heat is working it's way through - be patient. This same tie iron will remove classical guitar bridges glued with titebond II also. Carefully score around bridge first and use a cardboard protector covered with foil - no gaps between protector and bridge. The Radio Shack pen torch/soldering iron used on the wings carefully will work well. Why do I write this stuff at a violin site? Good for the memory I guess.
  2. uncle duke

    Bridge position: What's most important?

    Well, a player should dance with the one that brought them even more so if they started at a young age. One less thing to worry about. As for myself I worry about neck/fingerboard thickness together - left too thick and the vibrato becomes more work. Adjustments to the neck shape should start after the heel profile is deemed acceptable. This opinion is just based upon my own left hand usage. Too big of a heel can cause hand/thumb confusion. As for bridge placement that 325mm placement makes some instruments sound strong - if used, higher up note intonation is what I'd be concerned about along with the notches not influencing me to move bridge even with them. Do I want the violin to sound good or do I want the bridge and notches line up well?
  3. uncle duke

    Bridge position: What's most important?

    I'd say the player is just searching for the sweetspot as compared to the last instrument they regularly used.
  4. uncle duke

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

    It will be the most difficult thing you and your hands have ever done to date. What will be difficult is looking at violin plans, photos of violins, other peoples work, etc. and seeing if you can make your hands do what your mind says needs to be done. Then there's the development of the eyes - what you think "outta be good enough" while making a violin can turn into a laugher/heehawing session for some folks here. There are some here who say they waited two, three or more years before they dared venture into making their first. It is very rare someone can come along and just make a fiddle perfectly the first time - you can be the first, ask questions at every step and don't proceed to the next step until you have approval from whomever may want to help you on any given day. As for you mentioning usefulness. My experience was I noticed if I just stayed here and used my time messing with fiddle making I wouldn't have to worry about the bank account being slowly drained by doing other activities. It very well could turn into a waste of time if you're not careful - just make one.
  5. uncle duke

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

    1. Here's a better explaination: Bagatella math method for a real close DG clone. Bagatella lower corner regions were wider than I wanted so I narrowed the distance crossways. C-bout is more or less his design. Used 1709 Strad arches mostly and supposed neck heel and handle. Ouvry ff holes - they just seem to place rightly on wood and good for sound. Heron-Allen fingerboard dimensions and neck handle shape. Ouvry and myself, along with Viotti for pegbox design and Viotti for peg placement. Finally, my own scroll design which starts out as Viotti but after I'm through I can't say it ends with Viotti. I'll just settle for some sort of Iberian influence for the time being. using tools made in ................Wichita. 2. Well, not a failure, better than I expected- it's only been five days. I'm talking about the raising of the Viotti central belly area higher. On paper I went the cantenary route for a new arch height but the effort wasn't easy because I had to search for the radius I thought would look the best but not necessarily the radius which would work the best. It took a few attempts for something that would blend in with the other four Viotti arching templates without changing them. So I'm at a crossroads now. Next project was going to be a scaled down Tertis model. I don't want to lose what I think I gained knowledgewise with this last fiddle so not sure which way to go now - maybe just flip a coin and the winner will be first.
  6. uncle duke

    Violin finds / treasure hunting

    A 62 gr. Cuniot-Hury Mirecourt is my best find- just luck. Later determined to be silver vs nickle/silver or gold.
  7. uncle duke

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

    I can build a violin with a darker tonal palette than a Guadanini so it's not hard to do. The last I heard Guadagnini's were still l rated as second class instruments. Quadi, realize now that Stradivari worked for the Amati's for something like twenty years before he set foot out on his own - similar to when Mr. Burgess here worked for Mr. Holmes for some time before seeking something else.
  8. uncle duke

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

    But nobody has plans for 1600's Mariani/Pesaro so we can't go that route.
  9. uncle duke

    Nick Allen's Bench.

    Does the 3/8" Kobalt chisel work better than the 1/4" kobalt for you?
  10. uncle duke

    Where did Stradivari get his wood?

    It was already there albeit not for violins. I found an old picture book of Venice with good color photos. So I thought about the galley oars theory for tonewood and took a look through the book. Well, it would have to be a pretty big ship to supply violin maple from oars, unlikely but possible. The smaller vessels didn't appear to have enough oar wood. What I did notice in the book were photos of boatdocks/stair treads and pilings, along with smaller out buildings that could have good wood too. I couldn't tell from photos which species of wood was used so this theory of violin wood from Venice still remains unproven. From looking at maps it appears Venice is close to some sort of salt water source.
  11. uncle duke


    This is a safe way to get started Ken though I realize you probably still glue the belly first instead of the back. I use a piece of 3/16" paneling shaped like a plate for clamp protection for the ribs on the other side. 1/8" thick would be better - note. After the back is dry on the ribs with linings remove mold and do the rest of the work. Then size the blocks, let dry. When you're ready, do what Woodbutcher does and dry assemble the remaining plate using the spool clamps to align everything as good as you can. Then. like he says, remove the three or four clamps and insert the thin blade inwards 2-3 mm with glue and replace the clamps. Long story short, it's less stressful. I picked up this gluing technique from the old 1800's Petherick repair book. He supposedly learned from another repair person along the lines of "why hurry an important part of violin making/repair." I was a skeptic until I tried it. No stress.
  12. uncle duke


    I was just being a wiseguy and I was thinking how could Ken make the amount of fiddles he's made without spool clamps. Here's a cheap way I used. Using a 1" holesaw that has the 1/4" drill bit running down the middle of it and using that 18-19mm thick plywood, drill out 12-13 holes. Then cut them in half, sand smooth and pair them up with a 3" section of 1/4" threaded rod and 2 wingnuts. Make 25 or so amount of clamps. That 3" rod length should work for violas too, not sure. I don't used cork on them or use any covering over the exposed rod threads but I'll learn one day after I put threaded groove marks into soft edge varnish. What may work better is a 1 1/8" holesaw instead of the 1" I used but maybe not either. I used a 6408K Makita electric hand drill.
  13. uncle duke

    Buy New or Fix Old

    What helped me in the transition from guitar to violin was to keep in mind, as much as possible, the location of the C#/Db notes on the E string firstly and soon after the A string C#. Over time, I have convinced myself this issue wasn't just a coincidence - the sheet music doesn't lie.
  14. uncle duke

    Buy New or Fix Old

    1. Surely he/she has found out the lower e string of the guitar and the violin e string have the same pitch and notes. Confusion/adjustment happens when one realizes there is no b string on a violin, it's called the a string. Now he can forget everything about the guitar. I'd disregard the horn/singing comment for the time being unless one becomes a violin maker. Then he will discover that at certain times during the first tuning up to pitch session that the A note on the G string sounds like a few of his old brunette girlfriends from long ago. Hmm, I have no explaination for that...........yet. 2. If C.A.L. has the time then yes, lessons can speed up the violin playing learning process. If he is already a fluent chart reader then for intonation issues he could use lesson 35 -1067 of the Dionisio Aguado classical guitar method. How that would be used is to instill the note pitches learned on that page into the mind for memory using guitar. Then after awhile try the same exercise with the violin. Intonation issues with the fiddle will present themselves.
  15. uncle duke

    Searching Maestronet

    Speaking from the experience of having to be put on moderator approval before being allowed I'll say this. Instead of typing a new topic up and waiting for approval, which can take days sometimes, I would just go searching for what I needed through Maestronet data base. Subjects and comments that I remember from the past are no longer able to be found. So yes it is different from a few years ago. Like the last subject I wanted to read about was when Don mentioned he tried his hand working in a violin shop once. Hmm, couldn't find that this time thru. Maybe I misread it as it being a Dan instead of a Don.