Stephen Perry

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  1. I imagine I'm on my own more or less. I heard the Castelbarco Strad last night - that was a simple sounding instrument, but rather lots of volume. Dancing with the Betts. Goosebumps. I suppose a strong recurve and middling arch might do. I can rough and then work in from both sides, in and out. Thanks for the thoughts!
  2. Simeon Chambers sold me some very light Aspen and a very light top. These ring nicely. They've been sitting around. He said they'd make a great parlour fiddle. I don't doubt it. But I don't know what fiddle to build! Suggestions? Tempted by a high arch, high recurve design. Outline and size I don't know. I can wing the arching, if I have a vision, using Beard's 2/3:1/2 system and setting the channels appropriately. I just don't have that vision. Neither do I really have a clear picture of a big Strad model or a cute del Gesu or the S red violin . . . Something that sets off cleanly, with a very sweet tone, and not needing to be loud. I'm a bit stumped. Knowing what different arching is going to do doesn't baffle me, but has me pondering. Concepts? Thanks!!!
  3. One of the things I really enjoyed about target shooting was being "in the zone." Where I could feel the sear break, the striker hit the cartridge, and sense the time from the start of burning until the bullet left the muzzle. A few magic times I saw the twinkle down range from the bullet. I thought it was from the rifling imprints, but now I suspect it was from early flight yaw. In that state, I came to realize that a very crisp sear break and short lock time (from sear break to the ignition) was crucial to absolute accuracy, and something that gave me great joy. A worn sear would bother me, until I set up a jig and polished it back to life. Never could see the difference, but I could feel it. That zone is where something important happens with violins. The strings a bit stiff to push down. The bow bites, there's a tiny stall as tension rises in the string, and BANG, the note sets off with almost no delay, explodes into song, or quietly builds, at the direction of the player. That seems so important to me. In sound, as in Japanese painting, the white space strikes me. Whatever the musical sound coming out of the beast is, I want that sound. I don't want noise in between the sounds. I want to hear the bowed tone, the ring, the wood singing. I don't want to hear disharmonic noisy junk, clunks and squeeks and groans. Just the pure musicality of the thing. A bird sounds so much better in the winter woods than it does on a busy street. I've heard players bring beautiful sounds out of crappy instruments, but not overcome a soggy lock time or a noisy fiddle.
  4. I just looking at this instrument last Friday. Nice pictures - they don't capture how rough the instrument is in carving! But very useful. I am struck by how varied DG violins are. Thanks for posting!
  5. Fellow asked me to make a violin after Scarampella for him. I know almost nothing, but have seen a few and can likely find one nearby (N. Virginia). Other hints and advice very welcome. I know there's a book, but it is likely expensive. Maybe the Library of Congress has something. Thanks much.
  6. Wonderful information. Glad everyone has good results. The surgery seems so effortless to withstand. My one cataract simply yellows everything a bit (the other eye is fine - got sunbaked as passenger for much time during my Egyptian adventures). Nowhere near enough to fix, and stable. The simple shift in color is easy to accommodate, fortunately. My mother had some fancy varying focal length lenses put in. She hates them. Wanted to not need glasses at all, but does. She might be getting diffraction or something from the varying correction. Just a slight problem, and she is a whiner sometimes. I'll contrast this to my surgery and recovery. I had a pterygium on my right eye. This is a growth on the white. I didn't notice it, and at least two professionals testing for glasses missed it. I am annoyed about that. My astigmatism shifted and I noticed a tongue of weird stuff growing on my eye from the inside corner. Got hooked up with a great surgeon. The surgery wasn't difficult, but discomfort, much more than with cataract. Part of my white was removed and a slice from elsewhere on my eye put in place. Stitches. Removing the stitches was with tweezers and me simply holding steady. Bizarre feeling. I got new glasses. Then new glasses. Then new glasses. I need new ones now, and it's 4 years later! My cornea and adjacent white keep adjusting shape. Drives me batty sometimes. We're all so fortunate these medical procedures exist! I'd be blind in my right eye without my surgery, and clearly, others here have benefited immensely.
  7. Think I got them done. The fast/rough one for slicing feet has a bit less fine an angle, the others came in at pretty tight. None are all that hard, none are super knives, but they'll mirror finish cut maple now and feel more consistent from one to the other in cutting. Once I got to resetting the angles I found all kinds of in-a-hurry madness in the fine details of their shapes! Thanks for the suggestions & info.
  8. As a brief note, I have good flat planes up to No. 7 in metal. Ended up truing one of my great grandfather's wood planes with a forge-welded blade, only used for joining tops & backs. Quite quick to get to a single shaving thinner than a cigarette paper the whole length. Minor need for adjustment. On a shooting board. Well worth setting something up and leaving it alone!!
  9. It's a tough task at $300. Really need to trust whomever you're getting it from. Kind of less than break even for most shops, given the work in setting up. Brand less important than reliable source. "OK" would be the most you can expect! Shar might be OK. I know small town shops that have used $300 fiddles that are OK. Asking teachers whether students are moving up in violins works, get the one that's been outgrown.
  10. Yeah, I have one that's a bit steep for sure, and none that seem all that fine at the moment!! I have junk bridges, maybe I'll simply work finer until the cutting feels good. I like simple no-test methods, but this might be a try until right thing. Thanks!
  11. I cut a bridge today and noticed my motley collection of knives have drifted into a mess of slightly different edge angles. Any suggestion on optimal angles? I have very narrow and pointy up to somewhat wide, curved edge, and a bit chunky. Thanks for any suggestions. I clearly have to set them up a bit, and might as well have a rational plan!
  12. Thanks all. I'll take all this under advisement. I work so hard for even across and up and down and blah blah. A bit disappointing, to say the least!!! Some very good points above.
  13. I had a client reject too instruments because they were too resonant: "The thing that I find doesn't work for me is that both violins have so much resonance (for want of a better word). I realize that this may for many people be a highly desired characteristic, and given that both your violins have it, I'm sure it's the sound you were aiming for. I can only say that it doesn't work for me for playing fiddle tunes. I've reluctantly come to this decision based on playing both, along with the loaner I have, and having a good fiddler (who is also a classical player) give me her opinion and let me hear the instrument played." I am used to this kind of response, and am unsure of how to remedy this. I have no idea really where too much resonance would come from, or whether there is something I might detune to reduce this. Thanks much for any help.
  14. Mr. Darnton has precisely the same experience as I do with the woodcraft stone. One of my favorites. For regular gouges, I use the green chrome compound on a buffing wheel to polish the inside (if it's messed up, I have slip stones and then abrasive paper on a suitable dowel to get the junk out - lots of my tools are my great grandfather's and need restoration prior to use). Following the woodcraft stone, I go straight to stropping strokes on maple with compound on it. Just to get that edge polished. With gouges, if I can't get my technique smooth they end up a bit irregularly polished or whatever, but still work. I keep the maple & compound stuff right by me and touch up while I work. I used to use a leather wheel in my drill press to polish and keep touched up, but I sold my drill press when I moved. It was a bit scary, regardless!
  15. Major and minor bridge adjustments can have a substantial effect. The trick being to determine enough is done, lest one go from OK to great to blah! I know enough to eventually figure things out well enough, but am no master.