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  1. I happen to be torn between these two worlds - hand tools and CNC. I love hand making of all kinds of things. I did some model making, carving, cabinetmaking, home remodelling and repair of everything made of wood or whatever I get my hands to (dishwasher, digital camera or laptop repair). I made most of my own tools (gouges, purfling cutters, scrapers, thumbplanes etc..) and from power tools I own just old handdrill and a dremel knock-off. I used to visit my friend and use his bandsaw for some tasks or his table router for routing for binding (on mandolins) but lately I find myself doing everything by hand I even cut all teh binding channel with gramil (I made it just to try out and couldn't stop myself till I had two mandolins fully cut for binding...). Form time to time I get some freshly cut billets of wood like plum from our garden or few days ago walnut from my friend. I found myself in sweat again cutting it with handsaw to length and splitting it to halves and working it down to 2" thick planks with axe and rough planed it with plane. Now they are out to season for few years to become body blocks for few mandolins. I've worked quite a few logs this way and while it is very time consuming hard work the feel is priceless. I could just go visit my friend and resaw it on his bandsaw but that would be not such joy. (I must find another reasons to visit him from time to time) On the other hand as math and IT graduate and being very technical guy, CNC and things around it seem just as natural to me as hanplaning or carving. I've got detailed 3D model ready, I've designed many useful moulds, forms, jigs and such in computer and I even started building my own CNC together with a friend (very heavy duty steel frame, not simple plywood or Al profile construction) but I slowed the project down lately as I'm really not sure how use of CNC would affect my joy... I will be the boss of the machine just like I am over my old Stanley plane... but will I enjoy the process as much as I do now? I'm not full-time builder so I CAN afford just doing what I'm going to enjoy. I'm mostly working on mandolins and guitars where traditional use of handtools is not as deeply rooted and CNC is perfectly accepted tool, but for me as human it is pretty tough decision. If I ever start doing luthiery full-time I will probably opt to offering CNC carved parts to those less lucky guys and make my own instruments all by hand and enjoy the process. It is more of a philosophical question than that of the end product. I think if well done customer just cannot see the difference between fully hand made and CNC made (other than the precision though some humans are able to work to the same precision as machine and also you can leave enough finish handwork so the result is not sterile - know Ellis or Collings mandolins?). For me the line is where you change your product to make it simpler to make by machine. Most CNC mandolin producers don't use traditional dovetail and use tenon instead as it is much simpler to machine that on necks.
  2. Wood ID?

    Sure, that's why I wrote it was my first impression. The wood is common and often pieces like the one in OP used for packaging or stickering just to be thrown away. The color streaks and grain matches well.
  3. Wood ID?

    Rubberwood. At the lower part you can see dark large pores. My first impression is rubberwood as I have few pieces just like the one in OP, they came from shipping crate from far east but you can see it in many wooden kitchenwares.
  4. From outside of classical violin. One of the best mandolin players of all time Chris Thile is also left handed but plays "normal" instrument, Yiou are learning completely new things with both hands so unless someone is completely "lefty" there is no reason to get left handed instrument for kid (there are no lefty pianos...). I know very good banjo player who after some problems with tendons (pain after while of playing) swithced from normal to left handed (he is right handed) and within year he was as good as ever. I believe the music is in your head and hands justfollow what brain says. To the OP. Mandolins also have asymmetrical bracing but generally moone converts the bracing, just the setup. My friend bought hi-end steel string guitar that was converted to left handed (he had it converted bact to normal after he bought it) and it sounded the same in both setups...
  5. Titanium neck heel reinforcement

    Back to the topic... what about bamboo for the inserts? It has been used for backing bows (archery) because of its tensile strength. I can imagine packing hemp cords soaked with hide glue into the gap that Mark has (before inserting the wedge) making it as strong as hell. Many possibilities....
  6. Started on my violin cradle

    I often use natural fiber (flax, hemp, cotton) cord wrap instead of ferrules. Just wrap it tightly like a bow is wrapped and soak with thin superglue. My old camper axe got the treatment when handle split just behind the head when I was out in the woods. I just wicked in superglue (I try to always have some with me) and wrapped with strongest cord I had (hemp). The handle is still on the axe now some 15 years later... I've repaired many wooden arrows just doing simple tapered scarf joint (glued wit superglue) and wrapped with thin sewing thread coated with superglue. Never broke arrow at the same spot again.
  7. Titanium neck heel reinforcement

    Mark, I fear that the void you left there is actually making the heel more vulnerable. The goal is to insert the dowel (or whatever material you choose) as close to surface as possible so it stops the stretching of the weak side. Your neck has hollow right there. I would suggest drilling right through the hole and insert dowel. Or if you have tapered reamer to fit the hole (perhaps guitar bridge pin reamer) I would just ream it and insert long tapered pin. Even if you stop cm or so from heel it will be better than empty space.
  8. separate violin plate joint

    If the back is still unworked and wide enough to sacrifice sawcut then saw through joint with thin blade (tablesaw gets cleanest cuts, you can use bandsaw with fence if edge is parallel to joint to get reasonably straight cut). You can use steam, you will have to let the wood dry for some time.. and the wedges may distort a little. If the back is under construction then some of the sophisticated repair techniques can be exercised... O once split part of back joint during scraping and managed to tek the two halves completely apart without damaging the joint surface and reglued them back together using pillars and clamps. Result was just as invisible joint as before but I was working quickly to avoid any possible distortions in wood if left open for aday or few. I have bass top joined that has visiblel glue line on one side that I want to re-do... probably will saw it even if I will have to add larger wings to the bouts... I once opened such bass joint with steam and knife just 15 minutes after gluing the wedges and it was nightmare - HHG can set quite fast to strength- I even got some splinters pulled so I had to plane away as much wood as tablesaw would remove...
  9. Large sheets of sandpaper?

    I use better grade Norton wide sanding belts (good local store will sell you any length you want). I've got 80 grit glued to kitchen sink counter top cut-out piece with white glue... I've been using it for everything for 15 years now including fingerboards or guitar bridges and the dust just falls off when I whack it with edge against floor. Vacuum cleaner makes it look like new even after sanding ebony or rosewood. This rough grit take material really fast and you don't have to press hard so there's less chance of rounding edges. When I lever ribs, the weight of the form plus assembly is enough and I just supply the movement (in ellipses).
  10. Chinese factory student instruments vs. junk

    Thanks for tips! Currently the setup is approx. 3,5mm to 5,5mm at end of fingerboard and 0,2-0,3mm at nut. The fingerboard "relief" is approx. 2mm I guess that could be ballpark value for those floppy strings. All strings play cleanly so I could possibly go even lower. I have no idea about weigth of the bow. How much is ideal? Strings respond very well, the low C perhaps a bit less so, but on this size the tension is extremely low.
  11. Hamberger Adjustable Soundpost for Violin

    I don't make violins so I'm not against any new materials, just if the weight of the post is not too far away from traditional post. (even not assuming that added weight is bad) You know most violin folks are not willing to go too far from he old path.
  12. Hamberger Adjustable Soundpost for Violin

    I can imagine they would weigh several times more than conventional post with all the CF and metal? Isn't hat a problem? One can easily make wooden post with swiveling feet out of ordinary post for experiments with temperamental instruments...
  13. Chinese factory student instruments vs. junk

    I did some more adjustment yesterday, today is my son's first lesson :-) I must add that even though the fittings are just black stained maple, the pegs work surprisingly well. I thought the board will be just perfectly straight along and strings will buzz when set bit lower but I found there was decent curvature along the board to clear the vibrating strings, I just added a bit scoop under the C string, that could use more curve. Also deepened the nut slots and reshaped the ends of nut as it was basically bar with rounded ends and strings 1mm above board. I fitted the bridge feet better and now it's ready to be abused, errrr, played by the youngster... :-)
  14. New fingerboard material

    Anyone tried some of this? https://www.rocklite.co.uk/ Aimed at guitar/bassguitar market but I see they can supply custom sizes and it is made of modified wood, not compressed paper.
  15. Fake certificates on ebay?

    Folks on aliexpress will supply you with boatload of geenuwine Guariuses if you wish :-)