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About TimDasler

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    Orford, New Hampshire
  1. Secrets in the wood (Stradivari's maple)

    It does seem like some of these minerals could come from sweat, as previously mentioned. I was going to make a Sodium joke but, na.
  2. How do you "dirty" up a new instrument?

    I was taught to use some pigment mixed with water based ink. Don't mix it so much that it is uniform. Uniformity is part of what makes it look contrived. I don't antique, but without a touch of dirt it just didn't look right. At a glance you probably wouldn't even notice that there's a little dirt on there. If I were antiquing I would pay more attention to what Don is referencing here. There is different dirt in different places. Somewhere in my notes I have some commentary from a maker suggesting that there is dirt that has hints of grey, green or purple depending on where it is. Notably the upper treble bout is hand sweat and dirt while the chinrest and lower bass rib are face and neck sweat, which is subtly different. I think much of the instrument is a grey/black/brown non-uniform dirt. It may seem like overkill, but it's the difference between the fake dirt leaping out as being 'painted on' and looking aged and natural.
  3. Bridge for an Amateur Cellist

    Not much to go on, and I"m am not certain that I understand what you are hoping to get out of this instrument. A French bridge will tend to be warmer, than a Belgian. A Belgian may also have a little more focus and projection, but it's not the best choice for every cello/cellist. There's so much room to adjust the instrument with the soundpost, though, that you can usually make either bridge work well. A taller bridge alone will have some additional damping in the upper register due to the extra material above the heart. Leaving that area somewhat thicker (within reason) can damp the upper register even more if that's a problem. I often leave this slightly thicker on cheap instruments because they tend to be a bit brash and that little bit of damping in that range makes some difference. The photo of your bridge makes me think your neck angle is too low. You mention a new fingerboard or neck adjustment, both of which would help this issue, and require a new bridge. You should take the instrument to a well qualified luthier whose judgement you trust to address these issues. As for a loud cello being a problem in your apartment, there are practice mutes that are large bits of metal or rubber that cover the entire bridge. You'll be able to hear yourself, but outside the room you'll be barely audible. The rubber mute will be less damping than a brass mute.
  4. Basic Acoustics Resource

    I was taught to consider density when choosing arching height. A low density piece needs the support of a higher arch, and ultimately it will be easier to get to your target weight and flex with normal graduations. Conversely, a more dense piece should get a lower arching, which will also make it easier to get to your target weight and flex without going thinner with the graduations.
  5. String height (gap under) at the nut - violin

    For beginners I tend to go especially low, but I've found that more advanced players need a little more resistance and have complained about difficulty with articulation if the heights are too low. I don't measure, but I set them at roughly 1/2-3/4 the thickness of the string (E strings are set at 1/2-3/4 the thickness of the A string). I set beginner fiddles a bit less than 1/2 the string thickness.
  6. Tailpiece string spacing

    Yeah, in terms of the narrower range of acceptable dimensions for violins, I chalk that up to a larger sample size over time (more violins and more violinists) and the fact that it is the only instrument in the family that isn't constrained by the size of the player. Since some instruments seem to like an atypical adjustment, though, I always measure everything whenever I do an assessment. I keep those adjustment notes whether or not I change anything, and if something goes awry later I can get things back where they were more easily. No matter how far from "correct" it is I note exact location so I can get back there if need be. If a post is well fit to an odd position I will sometimes cut a new one rather than modify the existing one just in case someone came to that unusual location by trial and error. Helps to know if it has been to a good shop before me.
  7. Belt sander guilt

    I've heard that using a sanding drum in a drill press can cause issues with the chuck because it isn't designed for that lateral pressure, so a bad chuck may be the result of using the drum.
  8. Tailpiece string spacing

    Take a look at some setups on fine cellos and you'll see that after lengths are longer. While short tailgut seems to be favored for violins, viola and cello will have more space between saddle and tailpiece.
  9. adjusting instruments for sale

    I've never regretted spending the time to tweak something to a person's liking. I generally use my judgement as to where they are in the process. If they're likely to buy something soon, and there's something that they're interested in I'll do a tonal adjustment, try different strings etc... If they aren't that close to a purchase I usually have the talk to let them know that there are some things that can be done to nudge an instrument tonally in another direction, but I'd want to wait until they're closer to a decision. At very least adjustments of shop instruments have succeeded in impressing the player so even if they end up purchasing something elsewhere they often come back to me for the adjustment and further repairs. One player actually came in with 4 instruments for adjustments (including the one he bought elsewhere) after I failed to sell him an instrument. He was impressed enough with the time I spent with him that wanted me to re-work everything he owned, and sent his friends as well.
  10. Belt sander guilt

    I'd second the oscillating spindle sander. Lots of material to remove on bass bridges, and it gets you to a decent starting place a lot faster. When I worked in a shop doing setup in an assembly line there were oscillating spindle sanders mounted in the bench so the spindle rose out of one corner, and took up no more space than a coffee mug. The cyclone dust collector was in another room, and it was all hooked up with automatic gates so you just flipped a switch and the spindle started going, but was pretty quiet since it was under the bench. In any case, we roughed out feet of all bridges on that, and it just takes away the rough work. If it makes you feel any better, name your power tools Francesco, Omobono, Carlo, etc... For me the power tools are only doing rough work anyways, so I feel no guilt about it. As long as it doesn't hinder your quality or come so close to the finished mark that you are limited in your options for finish work I think there's nothing wrong with using power tools.
  11. Violin ID? (#1)

    CA glue is sometimes used for filling ebony with glue and dust, but not in glue joints that are meant to be reversible. So if you dress a board and have some tear out, then you can do the CA glue and dust method. I also use a drop of very thin CA glue in the string slots of bridges that have had strings cutting through them. This hardens that local area and reduces the degree to which strings cut in. CA glue is never for crack repairs. PVA (wood glue) is not reversible in the same way as hide glue. Guitar makers use it for neck sets and repairs, but in the violin world it is forbidden. The reason they can get away with it in neck sets is that they have a different design, and they can pull a fret to insert a needle and steam the neck pocket. It also has a steeper angle on the dovetail, so the creep factor is not a problem. For violins, though, PVA glue is not used for crack repair or neck sets. I have heard some people use it for cleats because it's ability to creep actually allows it to adjust to the shrinkage of the plates, but it is still strong in resisting sudden impact. It also isn't likely to become brittle and allow the corner of a cleat to lift eventually. One very well respected restorer that I studied with had started using Elmer's glue for cleats because he had seen so many cleats cause buzzes over the years when a corner lifted. I haven't heard that sentiment expressed widely, and I think he's still in the minority for that use of Elmer's glue. Some people also use it in lieu of casein in the purfling channel because it will fill gaps beneath the purfling, the creep allows for it to adjust to the differing shrinkage rates of purfling and plates, and the presumption is that it will be less likely to allow purfling to come loose and buzz over time.
  12. Violin ID? (#1)

    I'm counting at least 9 patches 2 of which appear to go under the bass bar. Between the cast, the patch removal, and chalk fitting that seems like a lot of work to me or do you have something else in mind?
  13. Violin ID? (#1)

    Yikes! those patches are going to be a lot of work to repair. Of course if you're looking for practice it's as good a piece as any to practice on given it's condition. As for books, the IPCI book http://www.ipci-canada.org/about is excellent. At $1,400 I've opted to loan it from the library rather than purchase it, but it's worth making the time to check it out. Should be available through interlibrary loan. When I searched for it there were many universities that had it.
  14. Neck Thickness

    Based on what you're describing in terms of the overall process I'd suggest checking your neck extension. Ideally it would be 28mm measured at the mensur on a new violin allowing for 1mm of settling. I wouldn't want to deviate from that very much. If you set the neck with a thick board and are ending up in the 25-26mm range after taking a bunch more material off, then you may be in for an adjustment to that angle before long. You can make some amount of adjustment in the planing of the fingerboard, but if you're way off, then you'll need to do something else. 25mm is the lower limit of what is workable, and you may want to use a low heart bridge.
  15. Bass bar tuning

    I wasn't advocating for the ultralight concept, just referencing an article with more detail about the concept of how to balance weight vs. stiffness using the bar dimensions. I was actually cautioning that although Joe is a very well respected maker and must have believed in the new bar dimensions he described, it is outside the main stream and some have suggested that he abandoned that idea. Overall I agree that it is usually best to pursue the practices that have persisted.