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Everything posted by donbarzino

  1. I agree that most antiqued varnish is poorly done and doesn't look very convincing but to antique is the logical next step when the initial attempt at straight varnishing goes awry.
  2. We should start a directory that lists these false 'violinmakers'. Felix Ponziani of Cleveland, Ohio and William 'Jack' Fry of Madison, Wisconsin are two that I have run across.
  3. As long as the pegs hold well that's a very minor problem that is probably not worth messing around with until it gets worse. You could try some peg dope compound or soap and chalk to take up that extra space and push the pegs back out a little.
  4. The large thick flat areas you have left for the upper and lower blocks could be interfering with the usual mode 5 vibrations.
  5. It is almost impossible to copy del Gesu's style from the confines of a tidy shop and a well organized life. I suggest you copy Del Gesu's life style of excessive drinking, drugging and late night carousing and enter your messy disorganized shop only when you desperately need to crank out a fiddle for money.
  6. Glued in reinforcement has been used for only a few decades in guitars. Metal truss rods have been around a bit longer but they are usually free floating in their channel not laminated. I believe all woods share more similarities than any wood does with graphite fiber and even then there are some long term problems with the long term shrinkage differential between maple necks and ebony fingerboards.
  7. I don't think that laminating in any material with very different long term shrinkage properties and short term temperature and moisture expansion coefficients from wood will enhance the long term stability of the violin.
  8. If overtones are defined as sound vibrational energy emitted at frequencies greater than the fundamental frequency of the note being discussed then most of the sound of the violin is composed of overtones. So I would say overtones are all important to the sound of the violin. The lower notes on the g string are known to have almost no energy at the fundamental frequency and are hence literally nothing but overtones.
  9. I would recommend clamping a 2x4 to each side of the plate across the widest part of the lower bouts and then pushing wedges between the bass bar and the 2x4 until the arch is popped up enough.
  10. Beeswax is the most common additive but I suppose any wax or oil could be used to adjust the frictional properties.
  11. Most bow rosin is based on colophony but with various additives to adjust its properties.
  12. donbarzino

    Sycamore Fiddle?

    I have built a few double basses with sycamore backs and ribs. American sycamore is resonant enough but it has noticeably lower resonant frequencies than European maple and tends to favor the lower harmonics and produce a darker tone color. All those hard flecks make it quite difficult to produce a smooth surface. It bends easily and is very crack resistant with its interlocked grain.
  13. It was pressed flat when it was glued together all those years. It sprung when it was taken apart. I don't see the problem with forcing it back to flat especially on a lesser instrument. IMO you are more likely to do damage messing around with moisture than by just clamping it.
  14. It doesn't have to be perfectly flat to be glued back together, the ribs and top will pull it flat. Many violin makers intentionally fit their plates [usually tops] to the ribs with a gap that is forced tight when glued. They call this springing the joint.
  15. It was probably willow linings that bent so easily for you. I have also had difficulties bending spruce.
  16. My location and shop situation is very similar to yours and I have been storing my tonewood in unheated spaces for many years and then bringing it into my climate controlled shop a year or so before I need it. There was an article in the Strad years ago by a French scientist who thought that temperature and humidity cycling were a very important part of the seasoning process.
  17. Back in the 70's I worked at an old well established downtown music store in a large mid western city where they imported large quantities of instruments such as yours, each with a small label stating in misaligned typewriting ' made in communist czechoslovokia '. My job was to moisten each label with a cotton ball held by a long forceps and then peel each label out and replace it with a larger, well printed label stating 'Anton Schrotter Geigenbaumeister made in Germany '. I believe I still have a stack of those labels tucked away somewhere.
  18. Bronze has a considerably higher density than aluminum so it takes longer to heat it up but it holds the heat for a longer time.
  19. An early mentor of mine came to America with little more than the clothes he wore after escaping communist Czechoslovakia. He made his first violin on a kitchen table using a butter knife and spoon resharpened in various ways. He ended up selling that instrument to Yehudi Menuhin. After many years of research and many thousands worth of fine tools I have not succeeded in making a better violin.
  20. I believe the values of classic Italian violins have been artificially elevated and kept aloft by wealthy investor cartels using shill purchases in the relatively small auction market much as has been done to the work of a select few modern artists.
  21. I try to match the grain orientation of the wood comprising the neck.
  22. There are so many other aspects of the violin that influence the tone more than the varnish and all of these aspects are not likely to be the best on a inexpensive white violin. Perhaps if you purchased two nearly identical white violins and varnished one using conventional materials and the other with Urushi then you would at least have a interesting comparison.
  23. I remember seeing in an old photo of the inside of the Guarneri workshop, taken just before its demolition or remodeling, that it had a beautifully domed ceiling. How many of us have domed ceilings in our shops ? It seems that the denizens of the classic era had the distinct advantage of being surrounded by handmade curves in the much of the architecture surrounding them. By constant exposure to curvatures one can become quite a connoisseur of them. Denizens of the present age have the advantage of being able to observe the endlessly varying curvatures of the female body as displayed by the current fashion trend of tight leggings and thin stretchable fabrics if only they would take the time to look.
  24. I think of 'punchy' as quick to respond and that is what I think you would get from a shorter and hence tighter afterlength.
  25. Afterlengths are usually made to be in a simple numerical relationship to the stringlength, such as 1/2, 1/3 ect. so that the fundamental frequency or some harmonics of the afterlength will correspond to some harmonics of the open strings not being fingered. Your maximum possible afterlength will probably be determined by other physical exigencies of your body design. Other variables you could experiment with include 1. attaching small weights at selected points on the afterlength strings to lower their frequencies and 2. keeping the afterlength strings parallel to each other to loosen things up for the bridge rather than having them converge at the saddle as is conventional.