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About LethbridgeViolins

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 08/25/91

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  • Location
    : Cambridge, ON, Canada
  • Interests
    Lutherie, special-effect-makeup, food, art.

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  1. Just for fun - violin ID

    I can't help much in terms of the mystery bump (aside from the slim possibility that it's just a very abrupt/lazy graduation) or the violin's age/origins, but Miami-Dade county's public records list a "Carl Friederich Lotze" living at 799 N.E. 70th St, Miama FL 33138 in 1951, so your wife wasn't far off (The cursive 'z' gets everyone.)
  2. Liquid hide glue

    My first violin was built using liquid hide glue. (The big bottles were on sale, and I have no formal training to warn against it.) It dried relatively fast and pretty hard, so I assumed all was well. Got it strung up and hung to settle, and within a matter of 18 hours the neck popped off and the top started to lift. It could have been a bad batch--or the southern-Ontario humidity, but I decided not to risk it and now only use liquid hide glue to affix my labels, and use the pearls or flakes to do all my actual assembly
  3. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    If you're referring to the del Gesu 'Ole Bull'/'Cannone' hybrid, you're 100% right. That was my first (and possibly last) experiment with potassium dichromate oxidation. (I'm not fond of the greenish cast). The Strad I just finished was briefly ammonia fumed (only about 40 minutes), then tanned in a light box, so the coloration of the unfinished/worn sections is a much more neutral grey than the photos would suggest.
  4. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    The saffron and turmeric act as colourants, indeed! From my (admittedly limited) experiences so far, the harsh yellow of turmeric mellows out significantly once the oils saturate it, and eventually mellows to something between goldenrod and hansa yellow after some time in the light box, while the saffron is somewhat more colourfast (though after some time in the lightbox its marigold undertones become slightly more prevalent). With 1.5 grams of good-quality turmeric, the varnish comes out of the pot SLIGHTLY yellower than the final cured product (pictured above), but 1.0 grams dried too orange for my tastes. Feel free to experiment! I'll see if I can dig out my experiment swatches from the workshop tomorrow.
  5. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Gladly! I'm not a man of many secrets. On that particular fiddle it's applied in 11 agonizingly thin coats over a hide glue ground, but it's equally lovely over an egg-white or shellac-based ground (though I haven't tried it with any other formulas yet.) This is a very transparent golden-amber varnish with hints of marmalade as it builds up. You could technically omit the copal and increase the amount of pine rosin to compensate, but I'm a sucker for the smell (and added hardness) of copal. It's a very old-fashioned formula so it's a bit slow to dry, but it's proven worth the wait for me--so far. 1.5 grams turmeric, pulverized 0.5 grams saffron, pulverized 4 grams Pine Rosin, crushed 2 grams Copal , crushed 25mL Turpentine PLUS 120mL 60mL linseed oil plus 5mL of walnut oil Place the first 4 ingredients in a cast-iron pan. Pour onto it 25mL of turpentine, and simmer over a low heat—covered—for 15 minutes until all constituents have dissolved. Once this has slightly cooled (I aim for 60* Celsius), add 60mL of linseed oil plus 5mL of walnut oil and mix thoroughly before adding 120mL of turpentine and mixing again. Once cooled (to 25*C or so), strain through a fine sieve (or pantyhose) and bottle for use. Noteworthy is that the slight red-brown hue you see is a result of traces of iron oxide transferred from the cast iron pan in which it's cooked--should you prefer a double-boiler or pyrex, I'm sure you could replicate it by adding a dash of iron oxide powder to the recipe.
  6. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Thank you! That's just about the only useful skill I picked up during my cabinetmaking minor. I'd be happy to share my recipe, if you'd like it.
  7. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Not many--I usually just trek out to my workshop and marathon through each step of the process. Is documentary photography something I should start making a habit of? (I'm new to this whole kit and kaboodle.) I'm getting there, at least! My ff's, corners and scrolls still need a bit of refinement, but I've got plenty of time to get myself there.
  8. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Thank you! I'm getting there, one build at a time.
  9. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Here's my latest. It's a copy of the ex-Hochstein Stradivarius of 1715 (and my first Earnest Strad copy). PG forma, Italian spruce, Romanian Maple, un-dyed ebony, and my first attempt at antiquing. I'm somewhat proud of this one, and my instrument photography gets progressively better.
  10. Flood Damaged/Moldy Instruments

    Dealt with a mouldy 1929 Dötsch Violin about 11 months ago-- I took the back off, dusted all unvarnished surfaces with borax powder, allowed it to sit for a couple days, then brushed it off, wiped it down with a cloth dampened with a 10:1 water/bleach solution, allowed it to air-dry then re-dried it in my UV box to kill off any remnant spores. 11-months mould-free with no measurable warping.
  11. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Here's another I've just about finished up: it's intended to be an amalgam of Del Gesu's 1744 'Ole Bull' and his 1743 'Il Cannone'. Oil varnish, bone nut, one-piece lower rib, and my first attempt at handmade Pear/Poplar purfling--the spruce is from the Fiemme valley in Italy, and the maple is from the Carpathian mountains in Romania.
  12. This sickens me

    As much as I am adamantly, morally opposed to senseless slaughter of any animal (especially one as vulnerable as elephants), I don't see what's to be gained from destroying antiques in this manner--eliminating or destroying ivory trinkets isn't going to magically revive the elephant that was killed in its manufacture. Canada hasn't yet taken the "destroy all ivory" route--the import and export of ivory is banned, and any ivory taken after July 3rd, 1975 can't be sold or possessed, so when I use ivory to tip my bows, it needs to be reclaimed from pre-1975 sources (I usually use tops from old piano keys), they can't be shipped outside of Canada, and need to be accompanied with appropriate CITES paperwork for both the pernambuco AND the ivory--as SHOULD any instrument containing Ebony, Wenge, Rosewood, Mahogany, Cocobolo or Lignum Vitae--in order to prove that it was sourced responsibly and sustainably.
  13. Taylor Lethbridge's Bench

    Yeah, it came out a bit opaque/hazy on this one--it was my first time using Dragon's blood as a colourant, and I went a smidge overboard. The maple's not deliberately stained--I used a steel wool/urea wash to help the figure pop in the spruce--but in this case the maple had absorbed so much incense smoke and grime over the years that it already had a bit of a burnt-in look before even adding the ground or varnish. Thanks for the kind words!
  14. Top Plate Thickness Concern

    My first violin had a whole thumb-sized section (near the bottom of the bass-side C-bout) that was .6mm thinner than the rest of my top--it sounded less-than-ideal, but it wasn't a structural concern. The first one seldom goes flawlessly.
  15. Peg reamers- Spiral or Straight Fluted?

    I started out last year with only a spiral reamer--a cheap Chinese one, at that. It did a serviceable job, but tended to leave the holes rather coarse--I've since invested in a quality straight reamer, and while it takes a little more work, the smooth pegholes are worth the effort.