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Nick Allen

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Everything posted by Nick Allen

  1. As much as I love dunking on people in these situations too, that violin will be a money pit. Looks like it could do with a reinforcement patch under the button/upper block platform.
  2. That's just playing with gusto! I like seeing this kind of stuff on my violins!
  3. Do you think that the je nais se quois that the old ones had aesthetically shouldn't be attempted in a more high fidelity approach? Excluding things like distorted catchings and broken ribs, etc. Because to me, it seems like the best examples in the competition room were all (while exquisite) seemed to be an artistic idealization of what an antique violin would look like, as opposed to the real deal. Kind of like the flattering portraits that nobles would commission for themselves.
  4. I think there was a distinct difference in the overall impressions from the new instruments and the antiques. Mostly in the finish philosophy, it seems. The old instruments have blemishes and blots that the new instruments didn't seem to want. Like cracks in the ribs, bad repairs, weird touch up. Not to mention they almost all had a bowling ball coat of French polish that eliminated any texture left. The new ones, to my eye, all sort of confirmed to an idealization of what we want to see in a more artistic sense of an old violin. There were no blemishes and weird features in the wood. Everything was perfectly cohesive. The makers clearly had a vision and made sure everything fit that theme. Whereas on the actual antiques, there were bumps and bruises that not many new makers would dare impart on their own piece. But, to me, the old instruments had a certain quality that, even the best, new instruments still can't capture. Just my opinion, though.
  5. Nick Allen


    I would suggest that you re approach your cleat stock. It's more beneficial to make a tower of clear stock, so to speak. And actually split it off of the tower as needed. This way, you can split off a chunk for two or three cleats, and use this nice bigger chunk to hold while you chalk fit. But the main benefit of having tower stock is that your edges are razor clean and tidy once the clear is finished. And, they are all exactly uniform. I hope you know what I mean by tower. It's as if you had a board that's slab cut, and cut cross-grain off of the end of it, and tried up the long sides of this strip so that a split cross section is the dimensions of your finished cleats. You can use a plane, or a disc sander. Whatever is easiest for you.
  6. But I didn't know that. I took the human nature route and figured more was more. Good to know. Thanks!
  7. Yeah but I'll die faster so let's GOOOOOO!!!
  8. I kind of know what you mean by too resonant. I find that really good sounding fiddles have a sort of damping happening that filters the sound in the most desirable ways. I recently had a nice Gagliano that had plates that thudded when you tap them, but sounded absolutely supreme string up. Overly resonant violins tend to sound a little diffuse to me.
  9. I hope your oils were hear bodied or you had quite a bit of manganese or lead in them. Otherwise, you just perma-sogged your plates. I would suggest rubbing in some metal driers and sunning the bastard for several weeks to a few months to cure that finish. We generally put the leanest elements on the wood before anything else to prevent strange cracking or even shifting of the layers. I had luck with heat bodied linseed and a ton of manganese in the wood. But only a little bit burnished in with a linen cloth. Heat building kind of action. So most of it was buffed off. Then UV cabinet for a LONG time.
  10. I'm so sorry to have saddled you with this job, Chris... It's really something, though. I can't wrap my head around why someone would so completely imbibe the plates and ribs with what seems to be cold-pressed linseed oil. We tried surfactants mixed in with laponite and that seemed to have no effect. The poultice idea is stellar, though.
  11. It really blows my mind to think you've been making violins since before I was born. I see your fantastic videos and get a little sad that I'm not that amazing at this, but then moments like this remind me that the time and work you've put into this is much greater than I have. In 1986 I wasn't even a twinkle in my parents eyes yet. Realizations like this help calm me and put me back into the groove of steady progress over the years. You've made contributions to violin making that no generation has ever had access to in the process over the years. Hats off!
  12. I wouldn't bother with this setup, personally. I just practiced many many times with a knife and setter. Get a dental mirror too. That's all you should need along with the position gauge. It's like Occam's Razor. The simplest means always prevails in the end. So I'd just practice with a sharp knife/chisel and be bad at setting posts this way until you're not.
  13. In my experience, if you glue size once with pretty medium glue (dilution-wise), and really dib in in there with your finger until it gets, you should be good to go once that dries. If I'm not mistaken, as long as you've got a barrier keeping subsequent applications from soaking in before they gel, you'll be okay. But a second sizing is never a bad idea just to be safe at critical spots. I've been sizing basically every joint these days. Crom center joints to rib tops to fingerboards. You can't really go wrong with that.
  14. Those Christ forsaken Swedes. I never trusted them either. But not many things beat a low speed grinder and a white wheel. With some skill and patience, you can do anything with that setup. It's what I use everyday at work.
  15. How else would you know how it sounds?
  16. I love how so many threads turn into what mostly amounts to "I bet my dad can beat up you dad!" Lol. I find the tormek T8 to be the most baller option. If the wheel is dressed properly, it cuts deceivingly fast.
  17. I've been licking soundpost ends and immediately installing them into instruments for a couple of years now. I have never encountered a problem from the tiny bit of moisture on the ends. Or from bridge feet for that matter. I lick both just to make them substantially easier to cut.
  18. Yeah, the cheeks cover the extension for a cleaner look, and extra support. Perhaps next time I can consider just skewing the heel with a cheek on one side to meet the button, like you said. Would probably be easier and I can preserve the original stupid button location for someone else to worry about!
  19. Hmm. I see what you're saying here. For my specific scenario, I've lengthened the neck by 3mm and added cheeks to the sides to restore it's original width before I planed the rough-hewn grooves from the sides. So I'll be reshaping the heel and neck altogether from the old French profile to something modern. The cutout in the top plate is just as off center as the button, and they correspond with each other and a symmetrical heel was dropped in. It seems like the three options are either reset the neck back into it's original place, crooked and off center as all hell, graft it and make a tilted heel to be centered in top and chase the old button, or move the button with a crown and subsequently the whole mortise with it, having a shim on the bass side.
  20. Thank you for your sincerity. I'm just over it with this project.
  21. Are you referring to the relative angles on the side of the heel? If they are complementary or not? Good point. I did add cheeks to the sides of the root, because it was super munged up and was part of the reason why the neck just kind of flaked out of the mortise in the first place. I'm pretty sure I compensated for that. The mortise in the top plate is also as offset as the button, implying that the root was made and set without tilt.
  22. Is there some unforseen complication here? Im thinking about repacking and rebuilding the mortise, with new edge work and possibly a rib veneer on the flank, and setting the neck centered to the body from there. Is this weird?
  23. I forgot to mention that I'm not grafting this.
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