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  1. Casein glue and ground

    Perhaps you are using too much acid and do not clean the casein enough so when you add the base it reacts with the free acid and creates the bubbles. Also sometimes is MUCH easier to make stuff like this in several small batcher rather than one large. Washing big clump of casein may require few times more effort than washing few smaller.... You can try adding dry lime to water-casein mixture. And keep adding till it dissolves.
  2. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    What about violins made out of realy old wood? There are/were violinmakers who bought wood from destroyed or restored historical buildings for their violins. BTW, does the "dead" heartwood inside living tree undergo the hemicellulose degradation as well?
  3. Casein glue and ground

    Casein is the precipitate after you add acid to milk. Basicly quark is the casein that was not yet dried (may contain adiitives or preservatives or traces of other stuff from milk, read the package). I'd prefer making my own from fat free milk adding vinegar to precipitate the casein, then rinse with clean water to get rid of excess vinegar and then filter off the casein. You can dry it for future use or use it now. Once you add base (lime water) the casein dissolves, you only add enough lime till the lumps dissolve into smooth solution and then add water to consistency you want... For gluing use it thicker, for ground very thin in several applications just like some makers used hide glue. Remember that base dictates properties of the resulting glue/ground, it can be more or less water resistant etc..
  4. woodworm - how can I be sure it's inactive?

    I heard there is a company in Prague (Czech republic) that offers gamma-ray treatment to kill all buggers in historical furniture... Something like that would be safer than any home recipe.
  5. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    I had similar experience. Years ago, I sealed endgrain of freshly cut maple wedges with thick paint (brown - it was all I had at hand at the moment) - what a mistake! It worked well and prevented cracking but the paint was sucked sooooo deep into the pores, 50mm in places. I am lucky that mandolins I'm building are typically darker brown at perimeter (sunburst) and the brown dots are not visible after finishing.
  6. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Together with pure luthiery we need to understand the whole guild system of the day. I'm not sure how exactly it went in Cremona but I believe you couldn't just "put sign on your garage" and start making fiddles, even for the mere pub musicians the guild would go after you, even imports were likely very restricted to masters accepted by local guild. You would have to become part of the guild (and holds for most other "jobs" back then). You would start as aprentice for many years in a master workshop, then a journeyman for several more and then you could become Master and work on your own - if you had the money to start your own business. I guess most of the journeymen and young masters just worked for a big shop like Strad's for most of their life and only produced few under own name (maybe even fakes made from shoplifted parts?) and perhaps majority of their instruments were so similar to the shopwork of the boss (Master was responsible that the output was up to his standards) that their real provenance got lost with their label... I guess there may be some "ordinary instruments", but they would be "crude homebrew" made of whatever was at hand, so nothing we can use to compare to the real guild products.
  7. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Ain't that basicly what Fritz et al. did? And the old violins didn't win. Of course you can pick certain 8 of the best Cremonese and random sample of modern then old will likely "win". The more tests we will have the clearer the view will be. I wouldn't make a strong statement who will win. The zero hypothesis should be set at "no significant diference" until someone proves it. Even if all collectors, dealers and virtuosos say one thing or the other. And even if there are minerals in the wood of the old Masters doesn't prove anything with sound. Few times a good pro player tried nice instrument with label of old master in front of me (though not Strad or Guarneri) and explained how wonderful, aged, rich etc. the sound is BECAUSE of <insert any of the typical theories or secrets>. Of course I knew he instrument was by no means original, just good copy by late 20th century Czech master... Players are often biased just by reading the label. I own late 18th century violin made by relatively obscure maker (not italian). It's nice loking one with that old patina etc., but sound-wise it really sucks IMO (average sounding as-is), when tested by players they don't look too impressed until they look inside and read the year... after that they quickly turn the page start trying to show me the "old qualities". Placebo effect. I try to trust my ears, not others' and for what I never heard or will hear in person I want good dataset.
  8. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Small sample is not always too critical if the results are VERY specific. Like I had tone bars measurements off two Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolins ("Strad" of mandolins for those who don't know) and the heights were exactly same on both (to 10th of mm). It's hard to get them measured so from sample of 2 mandolins out of ~250 in existence you can guess answer to question whether hey were tap-tuned by removing material from the bars or built to numbers.... When I calculated (or beter said estimated) probability that 2 random examples will have same (to 1/10 mm) thicknesses of both tonebars (bass was diferent than treble bar) I found it would be way below 2% with typical ranges of stifness and density in mind. Anf if I took smaller range (better selection process) I found out that the probablillity maxes at 5% when the range is diminished to extremely consistent wood choice (which was clearly not their best effort as tops often had each half from different tree (and glued up with arbitary edges -inside or outside of tree together). Comparison of other fiddles may be interesting only in case he founds similar traces in tem, If he doesn't it shows nothing at all as the minerals may be result of unintentional treatment of one certain wood supplier. Nothing Strad could control.
  9. French Polish materials

    1. All kinds of shellac, even used waxed on gunstocks. also seedlac. May add tiny bit of benzoin, sandarac or other resins for elasticity if thicker layer is built or polished over oil varnish. 2. Used to use medical grade 90%+ ethanol (expensive) but found out the bioethanol sold as fuel for stackless fireplaces can be found at 99%+ alcohol content with minimal trace of denaturant (no methanol) and it works even better (especially dissolving the shellac can be at least twice as fast as with 90% alcohol) and doesn't stink like many HW store alcohols. 3. Started with linseed and olive but currently like mineral oil best (IKEA - oil for treating of wooden kitchenware) 4. Sheep wool (felt or pieces of old sock) in well worn and washed T-shirt material
  10. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    I think we are de-railing this thread a bit... I'll try to be short. My take on the whole is simple one. Cozio, Vuillaume or others cannot be blamed for creating hype, I believe back then the hype was well deserved as old Cremonese violins were clearly superior to rest of world production (as a group, individual instruments may stand out). We know that shortly after Strad, Guarneri and few later makers there was huge decline in violin production in Cremona that led to lower quality of production. Even during the golden era violins produced outside Cremona school were clearly of lesser quality. Cozio recognised that and his work was important even though it perhaps started the "snowball". Villaume was businessman but I believe he was genuinely interested in the Cremonese instruments, not just as part of good business. It took many years till the best makers were able to create consistently violins of comparable quality but by that time the Strad hype was too strong and monetary value started taking over the whole business. If we take the money out of equation, like in blind testing, we can find out there is likely no significant difference between production of best modern makers and Strad. I'm not thinking they (Strads etc) are less valuable than they are - value these days is based upon offer and demand - but they became ordained to status that no one can equal them even in sound production and the secret theories just feed it. The best modern makers demand (and deserve) being evaluated (I'm not thinking of money here) by same standards as Cremonese. I wil just add that my main field is in archtop mandolins and situation there is SO similar it's funny. The holy grail mandolins were made during a golden era of 1922-1924 and then the production declined for almost 50 years when Bill Monroe brought the instruments back to light with his bluegrass music. Demand grew but no one could produce mandolins of same quality as the originals (they were factory builds but built to high standards) so they got status of vastly superior instrument... These days we know almost all about their construction and methods and materials and makers build instruments that are clearly superior in visual and at least equal in sound quality but many folks just keep on repeating the old phrases of superiority of old ones because of lost art of tap tuning or perfect finish recipe etc... Of course prices of originals skyrocketted and that's what counts... Similar can be seen in market of old Fenders and many other instruments. It's all result of typical behavior of humans... Even though I may sound sceptic and actually I'm not violin maker I love to read anything about Cremonese violins, especially when the research is thoughtfully and clearly carried. And I value every good bit of research that sheds light on any aspect of the first golden era of violin making just for the sake of gaining knowledge. I admit I am a violin nerd...
  11. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    I would add to number 2 that sometimes the speculations they state "too publicly" and assertively can work against them and their real results. Remember Nagyvary? While his measurements and chemical analyses may be correct, he publicly claimed he found the secret and can replicate the Strad sound too many times on public sites/ magazines which killed his reputation among serious (read: critical thinking) violin makers. I consider this "problem" way too wide just for one scientific field, we need multi-science approach just to define the problem axactly. When I read one paper on violin acoustics (I can't remember which right now) in the very first paragraph author boldly states something in the lines of that "Strads and Guarneris have not been equaled or surpassed ....", and that we need to find out what makes them so special.... etc. (now I think that prase was in the Hill book as well). That makes me think how can he base his research on unverified (or even unverifiable) statements. Status of Strads is influenced not only by measurable merits and can hardly be evaluated in such strict manner. What we need ot find is if there really is significant difference in "Cremonese" and other quality violins other than historical significance. Until we have clear and widely accepted (of course there will always be group of folks who will not agree) answer to this question any other search for "secrets" stands on thin ice especially if author expresses that he found THE secret... (not pointing at Bruce here, but there were numerous others who did it)
  12. re-gluing the fingerboard

    Same here. I've never used it (because it's not available here), but once you learn to work with HHG there's no reason to go that route... BTW, it was Frank Ford (well known name in guitar repair) who referred he had made some mandolins in 70's entirely with Franklin LHG and had no single failure ind inspected one of the mandolins recently and no sign of joint problems there (he was lucky enough to use fresh botthe each time). And joints on mandolin are well covered under finish and not exposed like joints on violins with worn finish in contact places.
  13. re-gluing the fingerboard

    The Franklin LHG was mostly blamed because it went bad in bottle without warning and the joints failed. The bottle didn't have date of production but recently I heard it is printed on the bottle and within 3-4 months it should be good. The aditives certainly can make it more sensitive to moisture which would be problematic on bare violin necks that get in contact with sweaty hands etc. But since it doesn't come in various strengths as needed for top/back centerseam or fingerboard or top to rib joints (as per David Burgess article in Strad) it's not very useful in high level violinmaking other than gluing in the makers' label.
  14. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    Sagan standard = winning every cycling world champion title for few years in a row? But back to topic. Assuming that the research results are correct and there is something in the wood doesn't prove that Stradivari did something. Even comparison with other makers of the era will not answer why there are the minerals. When we look into historical context, back then the guilds had pretty strict rules and perhaps the luthiers got their wood from woodcutters who did some treatments to their wood supplied to luthiers. Another possibility is that cremonese guild of luthiers had their own method of treating the wood against pests (with their output one can guess they had quite a stash of wood...), of course there is possibility that they did this for tone but it is one of many hypotheses that cannot be proved no matter how you try. There are countless other possibilities like water from Cremonese well (or just Strads own if he had it) was contaminated (minerals-rich) and during build the minerals from water got into the wood with glue and cleaning off the glue etc. So even if other makers from across the town or from other towns from the same era won't have similar results there is no proof of any theory how it got there and whether it was intentional in the first place. It's interesting to see what IS in there, but I doubt chemical or physical analysis can answer WHY and WHEN it got there and HOW (or WHETHER) it influences tone. Any such claim is pure hypothesis... Perhaps historical research could bring more valid insight. I don't remember exactly, but I think there are no such claims in the paper, just bunch of numbers, and what is Bruce's own personal opinion here on MN (or in the Strad article) is not part of the paper so ther eis no reason to quastion it's scientific merits. PS: I'm math and IT graduate and did PhD in math analysis so I understand scientific approach and statistics.
  15. Tape to prevent 3d position sweat spot

    Clear plastic tape, but get it done by luthier who knows which brand is suitable. For removal again visit luthier or you can pull varnish. Look here: https://trianglestrings.com/applying-removing-rib-protector/