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Everything posted by Woodman

  1. There is plenty of pegbox to ream to the "modern" standard of 1:30 taper, no bushing necessary. I have that reamer. That is what I want to do but I hear some say "preserve the instrument as much as possible". Mostly, the guy selling the "irregular" 1:20 taper peg hole reamer. The smaller ends of the peg holes will get slightly larger, then the two holes trued up with one another. Modern-standard pegs should grip slightly better, with more surface area. I've converted the peg hole size of one violin of value which went to a student; it did not make sense to send her daddy a fiddle for which pegs were not readily available from the local catch-all music store (more rural area). The others were old violins, pre-1900, but valued under a few hundred dollars. The players never asked; they want instruments well set up, easy to tune, without slipping pegs. The "converting" term? I'm taking a peg box with holes to fit 1:20 taper pegs and "converting" the box to accept modern pegs of 1:30 taper. I do not know where I picked that term up, but it sounds far less a big deal than I was lead to believe.
  2. The few times I've come across the stubbier peg taper, I've dealt with it. Once by converting. Otherwise, I have worked with the existing peg holes. This Sebastien Kloz (copy) will want a new E-peg, preferably all four pegs, plus a touch-up to true up the peg holes. I'm 1:20 reamer-less at the moment. The pegbox was damaged, cracked and repaired in the 1800s. The neck is reset (my first mortised end block), the top is wonky sizewise, etc. So I'm not looking at a mid-high four digit instrument here. But it will still be worth something to someone. She's very light, should sound great, and will have a nice setup. Is there a financial ramification reaming this pegbox to 1:30? Ethical consideration? Is it just "not done" when it can be avoided?
  3. Thank you, all, for pointing me in the right direction. The bridge has the single word in block letters "FRANCE'. No country of origin on the fiddle. This is a nice resonate violin, maybe worth $300 to a student (Although another issue I forgot is that the pegbox was cut so hurriedly that there was barely clearance under the pegs for the string to wind smoothly) I am putting some pics up in case there is genuine interest, but it is nothing special. It has decent resonance and would be a step up for a friend's daughter. Tone-taps a C#, though. The bass bar is carved into the top. You can see how clean the interior is. There was a very nicely-made slim ebony nut in the case, I found, when the job was done (the ledge is narrow, and the G peg is nearly directly under the nut). I am glad I missed it, because I had to make one and my blanks are thick. Using my 1" chisel, I 'discovered' a new way to shape my rough blank far more quickly than I had been doing. Sorry, no 'after' pics :-)
  4. I think the violin was played for about ten years and then broken and stored for decades. Its provenance as a family heirloom is established. The inside was remarkably clean, and that threw me off. The peg holes were tapered 1:20 but overall the violin seems newer. The pegs and end pin are not ebony; the endpin actually split under pressure - never saw that happen; I thought it was a broken tailpiece wire when everything went flying. The neck mortise (if there actually was one) is glued to a square block and the ribs fit into slots in the block. It looks like someone installed an ebony fingerboard but that is where the improvements stopped. The end block / neck were freely wiggling and the top/back partially detached. From the grime, it appeared to have been played for about ten years before being leaned into or squeezed - damaged - after which it was stored somewhere very clean. I can take a set of images but was thinking someone might look at the string packages and definitively say "Pre-WWII" or "Mid-1930s" or "Pre-WWI", etc. The discoloration of the wax envelope should help one with more experience date the packaging.
  5. These strings were in the case of a violin recently brought back to playability. The violin has a Giovan paolo Maggini brescia 16 label, lined but not blocked. Cheap pegs and end pin. First I was thinking c.1925 but read these violins were popular 1880-1900 German workshop products. Hoping to possibly date the violin better via the string packs. Any ideas?
  6. Some people use tinted cyanoacrylates to fill voids in ebony. I have in a pinch, fill the wrong slot on a nut, but prefer powdered ebony in hide glue. A sharp knife should be able to get under the head. Micro nippers or fret pullers as well.
  7. Yes, a lower D&A on a bluegrass ("BG") bridge. Makes double-stops easy between adjacent pairs of strings. But as string slots wear, the D&A getting slightly lower is a pain. These bridges are frowned upon by 'concert' and orchestra directors / teachers.
  8. I tried a few things and eventually arrived at the most tedious, time-consuming method. I scraped it out with the corner of my rectangular card scraper. This was after my first glue attempt, which I took apart, dissatisfied, due to mis-allignment and inadequate preparation. It's glued up again and seems like it is solid all the way around. We're grooving'. We're "in the groove" Geez, am I dating myself with that phrase? :-)
  9. Woodman

    Spool Clamps

    Thanks, I figured it'd act as a solvent. I'd spray into a rag, run the die head cutter up the threads to straighten them out and cut off embedded glue, then give a good wipe before reassembling the spool. Arduous work. "Free" clamps come at a price. Silicone and Cutters bug spray. At the outdoor music jams, any bug spraying was done far from the music players, and always downwind.
  10. So I should stop at 600-800 grit? Smooth but slightly matte finish?
  11. I've got a similar question. Can spirit varnish break down and become soft/sticky/gummy due to impurities in the original mixing? Or would it always have had that quality?
  12. (I'm an amateur, and I know practically nothing). My interest is in refurbishing older unplayable violins, turning them back into players for trade musicians and hobbyists. C. 1905-1920 instruments are the oldest ones I can usually afford but sometimes I get one or two from the later 19th century. When I see a scroll hurriedly cut, file marks on the peg box, tremendous wear on the violin, and multiple, even near fatal repairs about the instrument with wear marks over the repairs, I *think* I know what I'm looking at. I'm looking at a trade instrument which was played and played and handed to another generation who played the crap out of it. It sounded good enough to be repaired over and over. There was a depression in Europe in the 1870s; the US wasn't doing too well after the Civil war. I'm not sure what the violin-building industry was doing. But a pair of fiddles came into the 'shop' last year, and I swear they were from this era. From the overall look and the smell. The same smell of a c.1859 building left to decay in which I've done a bit of work. They were both played, literally, to death. One was roughly swapped into a left-hander and played hard before returning back. This one here was in such bad shape it nearly did not get even 'wall hanger' status. But together it eventually went. And sounded like crap. Then I found, under tremendous grime, a varnish clear coat someone applied after repairs (in the '20s?), and after I removed this 'top layer' of varnish, the original tone began to open up. Perhaps not the tone you'd hear at the Academy, but maybe closer to the pit orchestra at a play or the trio at a restaurant (before recorded music, there was a lot more work for the trade musician). This violin went to a restorer of pre-war Martin guitars. Pre-Spanish-American War Martins. For instruments of higher quality, I'll look at the top grain. I'll stay away from any instrument that looks like someone was practicing their varnishing techniques.
  13. Woodman

    Spool Clamps

    Beautiful job! New hand-made clamps with nice clean threads! A luxury! I was gifted a box of 50+ clamps and finally had enough of the old stubborn threads. Disassembled every one and threaded an Irwin die-head along the shaft. With a shot of silicone spray to lube the cutter head and protect the new metal.
  14. This new ebony fingerboard I scraped for scoop and sanded with 220/320/400/800/1,000 paper (they were out of 800 when I last stocked up three years ago). Then used MicroSurface buffing pads, 1,500 grit to 12,000 grit. There is no oil or sealer on it, just the wood. I stopped putting sealer on ebony about a year or so ago. Sometimes finish gets removed and you end up seeing the grain and figuring of the wood. All of the instruments I work on are student-grade, maybe the nicest being a $1,500 late 19th century German fiddle.
  15. 1st estimates are 3mm overstand but fine projected height. Do I want to shim under the neck heel? And the goo? The top's orange glow is coming out but some black remains embedded. Coal oil? Rosin, sweat, and schmegma?
  16. I wonder if you are not far off. A 19th century violin kit? The back lip (but not the top) has a groove in which the ribs sit. Like Assembly-101-for-dummies? Or is this a not-uncommon practice, cutting a channel for the ribs? A tonal /structural thing? I've glued more than a few back separations but this is only my second back-off job; the other, I recall no groove. I am ready to glue the back to the ribs except . . . My dilemma: the groove is filled with glue ... I'm studying neck angles and such, seeing how 9˚ will be achieved, and am readying myself to make a new neck block ...
  17. While visiting the shop of a violin/mandolin maker, a guy came in with a violin in a paper bag. He wanted to sell it and the shop owner said that he sold instruments but did not buy them. I took a look and paid $40, which was the most I would gamble. The top was loose, as was the back, but the sound post was standing. There was a pattern of dirt/dust on the post, blown in from the f-hole. The pegs seemed original and grabbed wonderfully. There were gut strings on the fiddle. I'm thinking it is c. 1905-1920, leaning towards the earlier date. I glued the top and back here and there, swapped in a few new parts, put on Kaplan Vivo strings, and let an experienced player try it out. He was all smiles and bought it on the spot. Later he confided the violin seemed to have a similar Barvarian spruce top as his $50k Sderci. I was able to get the fiddle back by offering him an even older violin, maybe 1880s. This violin was then handed off to a high-schooler who treasures it. She insisted on Vivo strings again when it was time. Next month I will make a new bridge for her, more of a concert bridge (vs. a fiddling-around bluegrass bridge with its lower D & A), and believe we may be going with D'Addario Kaplan Amo strings this time.
  18. In general, I plan on doing as little as possible to turn it into a player. The gal who will end up with this violin will be thrilled with its age & provenance. The bass bar will not be touched. I can get 5" up into that top crack, and even 3" will be enough to me, to get the top more tightly together. I'm not sure why the repair tech did not get the top tighter. Maybe someone glued the saddle crack without removing the top; down the road, with the top off, another put on the two cleats. The gunk looks authentic. A definitely interesting pattern where the chin rest was removed. There is damage to the varnish under the chin rest, probably the result of many a sweaty pit?
  19. Saw blade marks, indeed. Straight on the upper/lower bouts. Mysteriously curved on the C-bouts, but that would make a circular blade of rather large radius. Also inside the peg box (sorry for the fuzzyness; cheap camera or cheap luthier, not sure). Like I said, the pegbox seemed to clean up easier than I would have expected.
  20. Yes, I'll do all of the work. It looks like the 'repair glue' completely disintegrated. The top has a crack aside the bass bar - you can see two cleats along the bottom edge - which I'll want to recrack. It has flex and the joint is not tight. The top, of course, is in two pieces. The back seems whole. Some lining is a bit loose. The block at the neck is my only obstacle - I've not yet done a neck reset. But I've plenty of wood and can make what I need. Here is my latest woodworking effort, a ¾ missing part of its lip:
  21. The inside of the pegbox is varnish. A dampened q-tip cleaned it up far more quickly than I would have expected.
  22. Thank you both! I noticed the name difference but didn't know what to make of it. A copy of a replica? I've had two Jon Bapt. Schweitzer Copy of 1813 violins come through my hands, which (I'm told) were produced 1890-1905 as replicas, and have seen Schweitzers labeled "Copy of 1814", which I think of as fakes of the replicas. So I wondered if something like that was going on here. The name on the inked repair notation does not come up in BRITISH VIOLIN MAKERS BY THE Rev. W. MEREDITH MORRIS, B.A.
  23. The 'pre-owned' posts I've gotten from a premier shop are 8-9 growth rings in the 6.0-6.5mm diameter. This seems to be the preferred sound post. Even tone-deaf Woodman can hear the difference when removing a student-grade 3-4 growth ring post and setting a better quality post (yes, it is probably the fit as well, as I really take my time getting it comfortably set). Can sound post wood be too dense? A 50-ish year old slab of Adirondack I cut up for mandolin tops (all gifted to another) yielded some waste areas with better than a dozen growth rings per 6mm. I never made a sound post with this wood, as a friend said it would be like a bar of cast iron.
  24. This violin came to me in its coffin box with neck detached. The rest of it pretty much fell apart as soon as the chinrest was removed. Someone inked a "repair note" on the top, there is some penciling on the back, and of course, the label. Can anyone guess to the actual period of manufacture? Thank you.
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