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Thomas Knight

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  1. I am beyond puzzled on this one. Everyone agrees Duiffoprugcar model. Dendro showed 1692 and 1696 on the top halves and matches everything from mid 19th C Derazey to 1711 Stradivari, Guarneri, and many other Italian greats. Seems this old Alpine stock was used in France post 1790 so it is a mystery who made it and when. Internal construction is as Jacob described as French BOB with what I believe is willow blocks and linings except the newer neck block which is spruce. So here is where I am asking for help. It does not resemble Derazey to me at all. I have read Vuillaume made some and had Buthod making them and Derazey had workshops making them for him as well. Absolutely no stamps anywhere. The construction is unique enough in that the linings are sharply beveled and done after installing the linings as tool marks are on the ribs and one of you experts such as Jacob, Blank Face, Martin Swan, etc may immediately know the maker. Mitered center cbout. And enormous, at 368mm lob, 172 upper, 213mm lower, ribs 31mm. Nearly a Viola. The neck and scroll are not original I am certain. Probably a bearded man's head, but who knows. Has a previously repaired bassbar crack. Button graft and crown are so far off to the bass side--6mm off-center. Would you redo it with proper centering or not? The appliqujes are perfectly centered so it is the graft that is way, way off. It also looks like a postal crack but it is not, just lines scratched into the underside at the post area in 2 places. Would it be prudent to dig out and patch it regardless? Mutch of the edge will need halving as it is way too thin in some areas. Some experts have thought not Vuillaume or Derazey or their workshops because of the outline. Any input from any of you will be greatly appreciated. It appears older, at least to me, than 1850.
  2. Poly is oil based and puts out toxic fumes when burned. No firewood for those violins. Plenty of other uses for them. Just think of them all. Ping pong paddle, badminton, cricket, tennis, or cut off the neck and add a mast and sail--a waterproof toy sailboat, etc, etc.
  3. Yes, the well known AVA (Association of Violin Alcoholers). They include a special 12 step program. Their recidivism rate is rather high :-)
  4. I agree with you on every point. I am not so sure a shop like John Wu would have a step up covered in poly. Poly has a look all it's own, the 'wet look' of oil based poly. It was this original topic where Violadamore taught me about Cashew varnish. I am enthusiastic to learn and so grateful to the masters on this forum who share their knowledge. I have since realized two student level violins I was refinishing had cashew varnish and it is near impossible to remove with anything short of scraping which thins the plates and ribs which is seldom a good idea. I have also recently encountered water based varnish on a Chinese violin. Smells like a mixture of poly and spirit and is quite durable but not the oil based poly I encountered before.. I have only seen Urushi on Japanese instruments. Maybe the Chinese are tinkering with their own formulations? I agree that refinishing is hard work, and can have disasterous results. As for the OP, he must do some tests under the fingerboard to determine exactly what it is. If poly then he would likely be better off selling his and buying another instrument.
  5. Good questions. I will have you do a few tests to make sure it is poly like so many Chinese are. Aws for stripping, it depends on the quality of the violin itself. If very well made and of good wood then stripping the poly and applying a thin coat of oil or spirit will allow the violin to vibrate much more and will result in a better sounding instrument. I have stripped numerous poly instruments. It takes a good amount of work but the result is worth it on some instruments. Send me pics at atsturbo@aol.com
  6. Hi Guido, thanks for the response. yes, i agree on the 1. I grew up in Italy and Luxembourg and saw the numbers. To this day I cross my 7 when I write them, a habit I cant break. The first letter looks like a European J, I think I see Jan. What makes it possible is violins in the white were exported from almost every country to others including to the US. I have done my research and have an extensive library of books. The only thing I considered was if it indeed is an import and varnished here, then what is the country of origin? The name and date could be when they finished it. By the late 30's the outer mould made up a considerable number of makers from all across Europe. So I looked at the corner blocks and believe they are beech, and the linings appear to be spruce, while the upper and lower blocks are spruce. The pins under the purfling narrows down the search a bit. Most of the American violins I have seen or owned are quirky unless the person was trained overseas and then sometimes I can see that the origin is Saxon, Mirecourt, etc by what the top ,masters on this board, especially Jacob, have taught us. This was not someone's first or even tenth violin. It is too well done. From what I have learned about a large number of American makers is a great deal of them imported violins and finished them here. I have a friend who in the late 60's and 70's worked for two well known large shops in the NE USA and an importer named Martin Brinser would bring by several dozen unlabeled Italian instruments in the white and the shops bought them all and varnished them. He still has one. That is why he thought this may be an earlier example but before WW2.
  7. Hello MN members. I have a very nice unlabeled violin of unknown origin. I have had it for years and it has been looked at by a few well known experts with none giving an absolute answer. Decades ago it was listed in my insurance appraisals as Northern Italian amateur $4500 in 1998 by a well known appraiser. The top was off at the time and he examined the interior work. Recently three more looked at it. One thinks a very good American, another thought possibly Italian pre war, and a third thinks Milan workshop bought in the white and varnished here in the States. The last one had an orthoscope and examined it. The neck block has 1939 in pencil, and then someone's illegible name written over the date in a different pencil by a different hand. Cbout linings go into French type corner blocks slightly longer at the upper and lower bouts but outside mould for certain. The f-holes are nicely fluted, the scroll volutes go to the pegbox, substandard neck button repair, locating pins under the purfling, no beestings at the corners Arching rises immediately at the purfling and quite flat at the bridge feet and is the same on the back which also appears to me to have been refinished--maybe when the neck button was done? I appreciate any input. My scope is unable to get really clear pics.
  8. My goal is to one day hear the top luthiers on this site say 'well done, that is good work'
  9. Hi Jerry, I cant argue with you at all. I am nearly 66 and have owned about 6000 violins and handled more than double that. Classically trained as a violist and played with the U of Miami Chamber Orchestra at 11. I stated collecting in the early 70's and didn't know a Suzuki from a Stradivari. I just bought all I found under $25. The photos on this instrument were awful but I saw the 5-ply purfling and figured it may be a Seidel. Buying instruments was an addiction for me for decades, however since I started training I have bought only six and did well as four of the the six were high four and low five figure instruments. I am learning and getting better.
  10. Hi Jacob, your Seidel thread was the first I read. Very informative as all your articles are. This thing is nowhere near a Seidel in quality. I want to thank you for coining a new phrase as I have my 'wicked ways' on this poor, unsuspecting instrument. Chris Isaac wrote a song about a 'Wicked Game' his love played with him. I shall have that tune on the stereo as I work on this.
  11. Hello MN members, I am hoping one of you can help me confirm the origin of this violin. Yes, many of you will ask why did I procure this nightmare, but I have a soft spot for the unusual to the great consternation of the classically trained luthier I am apprenticing under (for the last year). I believe the scroll is very well done, so that that makes it a keeper. He thinks it a waste of time. Is he right? Of coarse he is. I know Professor Saunders would throw it in his rubbish bin, but I am stubborn. Maybe I should carve a new top? OK, now that the laughter and ridicule has died down, the numerous lessons given to us by Jacob Saunders, I want to see if his efforts and teachings are finally sinking in this thick skull of mine. I believe Saxon late 19th C, BOB construction with inserted corner blocks at the time of construction, the scroll looks Markie, but with fluting going all the way into the pegbox. Five ply purfling may be what some older posts referred to as used by some Saxon makers. I think it is a carved out bassbar. The violin has been regraduated and at one time had quite a bit of writing on the back that is now impossible to read from being scraped off. Even the ribs were scraped and thinned. Then revarnished, the top halved and then new wood added to the neck block area (horrible work). Single screw used to secure neck to block. Arching confuses me as flat between the f-holes which have been widened on the outer parallel area giving a weird shape to them. Arching is round on the bottom, and rises just inside the purfling. Linings dont match with some much newer than others. I see three different lining materials. On a final note, I would like to thank all of you who have suggested in the past that I should leave the work to be done by experts. You motivated me to go study under an expert and I am learning many ways to do things correctly. No machines, no shortcuts, etc. Some of you may not realize your influence on others, so I am grateful to everyone on MN.
  12. More history on Herman Muller, one of the repairman on this instrument. He was active in Berkley and the Bay Area of San Francisco 1890's to 1910 from what I found so far, having rebuilt a famous Amati for August Henrichs, the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Orchestra, after an 1898 fire and extinguishing flooded the old Lucky Baldwin Theater and basement where all the instruments were stored and had 8ft of water in it. The owner sent a young man in to swim and get the world famous Amati, and Muller took almost a year to fully restore it as it had come completely undone from the fire and water to some 68 parts including old repairs. So the FA Glass violin was repaired by Muller around 1890-1910.
  13. Thank you Jacob Here are the plain text: https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/341418-violin-id-fa-glass-brand/ Friedrich August Glass senior? - Page 4 - The Pegbox - Maestronet Forums Here is a pic of the FA Glass 2 stamp Blank Face had provided. The middle line is exactly the same on mine, but the button has no upside down V or the emblem under the F A G
  14. I cant get the links to the previous threads to show. Can anyone else see them?
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