Stephen Perry

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  1. So much depends on technique. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't! Pocket knife I strop on my pants or a newspaper, in the field. Helps. They get set pretty steep, 40 degrees (20 each side) on Arkansas stone with alcohol, left that way, but improvised strops to bring to sharp when needed. Kitchen knives get the steel, then a stropping motion on a cutting board, very light. They only need abrasive sharpening if other people use them. Which happens. The shop is another matter. For utility use, I have a long leather razor strop from long ago, charged with green compound. And a ca 1900 razor hone / strop for straight razors, stiff. I level the hone on diamond every once and a while. The other side is impregnated with something oily and must have some super fine abrasive. This is the original charge, going strong after 100 years plus!!! I also have smooth maple with green compound, but I have misplaced it. And of course, 100 other sharpening things! No matter what the condition, I can bring a knife up to toasty sharp in short order. It's mostly technique. I can't describe, but I'm sure Davide has an incredible video on stropping.
  2. I'm glad to hear Michael is still kicking. I worried when the shop disappeared. He came by my shop once, now many years ago. When I was on the lake in the old country store. I've wondered how things change, what to measure, all that. You've got me thinking more about wood treatment. I've had lots of conversations about it with various people. Most notably with Scott Zimmerman (familiar to general music industry insiders) who during his time with Fender had the chance to experiment. If I recall correctly, it was electric guitars fitted with necks of submerged maple that the top end professionals liked the best, instantly. This wood had the greatest resonance. Believe that was the term he used. I wonder whether your treatment system, or perhaps other treatments, might give greater resonance, and whether than might make violins better! Anyway, interesting post.
  3. It's a guided channel scraper to get the curve up from the channel towards the center of the plate. I saw a video long ago of someone using this type of thing. I would 1. lose it and 2. figure out it wasn't required.
  4. Not exactly on point, but on piano (and probably other fixed pitch keyboards) different keys have different feels (to me at least, when I could still hear). On recorder, keys creating lots of cross fingerings have complex range of tone color, more than simple keys without complex fingerings. This I can hear, and the sweat pouring off the soloist might indicate the key really is tortured! On guitar, I imagined that some keys would tend to excite the unstopped strings more than other keys, but I couldn't tell any difference. As to what is dark v. light, I now admit to having little idea what people are referring to. So many opinions.
  5. Find a junk fiddle, pretty it up a bit, then put it in your good case. Make sure it has several bad cracks and the neck is out. Get up one morning and scream. Cry a bit. Express a random wish that the house could be heated.
  6. This is what I do. If I can get a good view of the wood once the surface is cleaned, I try to match the reflection direction and character to make an essentially invisible repair. It's actually worked a couple of times!!! Tragically, I find this type of work fun to do, which might well be some mental defect.
  7. The whole thing came together. I ended up using fingers and sound to graduate and adjust arching, top and back, nudging into compliance. M5 on both ended up lower than my "targets - but I have a pretty hefty edge. Once I got things where I liked them, I had pretty much a band / bullseye in the back and a very slightly reverse graduation in the center on the top. Pondered and bent and tapped and thought into submission. The arching ended up a bit flatter with broader channels by a tiny bit (just seemed to want that). Anyway, the violin (in the white) is very stiff under the fingers, responds rather fast, and has a more or less neutral and surprisingly even tone (considering it isn't varnished and is brand new settling in). The top end is really there, all the way up, but I suspect it needs the ground and varnish. It's a bit brash, which I've noticed with violins in the white before. The back goes from about 4.7 to 3.5 in the waist, and down to 2.2 in small areas of the lungs that were stiff. The top is from 3.3 to about 2.5 in small previously stiff areas. I spent a good deal of time feeling and working on the transition into the rib gluing surface. Flexing, feeling, scraping. I came to the conclusion that the arching and graduation around the corners is totally critical and somewhat difficult to pull off, but eventually the flex feels "right" and the top really seems to wake up. I am pondering all this, and consider myself a least confused at a slightly higher level! Regardless, it's a much better violin than I am violinist. Once it is varnished and pretty I'll have to find a real violinist to try it out!!! I managed to run out of materials, so they're on the way. Robson's balsam ground and some varnish I know will dry. Next project is making enough room for a garbage can UV chamber. This going from 1400 square feet of toy space to 120 sq ft is difficult. I have learned I can lose things very effectively in 120 sq ft. Thanks for your interest.
  8. Oddly, the tops I don't generally have issues with. I am thinking this back must be rather dense. I had some dense wood, and this might well have been some of it. Wish I could find my notes and such. I started two of these, and have the top and back of the second one, but no rib garland. Probably in a box in Chicago still! Anyway, it's getting there, but is thinner than I am used to. I am going very gingerly. The back seems much more sensitive to adjustments on the outside than the inside as far as liveliness and ring. I hadn't noticed that before. Thanks all
  9. I've gotten it mostly where I want. To answer Leister, the arching is convex about 1/2 to 2/3 out from center line to bottom of channel, then very slightly convex, almost flat, but easily seen with grazing light or a ruler. The wood seems to really like this. I'm not sure how stiff it is in terms of numbers - still pretty stiff. Graduations are across the waist, 3.5 mm to 4.6 mm, upper and lower bouts are thinnish, 2.5 to 2.7, but feel immensely strong. This is fairly dense wood for me (although I don't see my spec sheet in the working box, so I hope that isn't disappeared). Mode 5 is 340 hz. Weight is 117 g. The back seems very strong, and doesn't really seem too thick. I'd hoped for a bit more give, but maybe it's fine and dandy. Final cleanup and edging and such will take it below 115 even with no additional forays into reducing thicknesses. I'd really like another 5 grams off - I don't believe I've had a back over 110 g before, but this wood is different. Scrapes to an almost glassy finish and sings very nicely. Quite a bit harder than the maple I've been working with. I cut the back out in outline form in 2015, so I'm missing scraps and so on. Suggestions still HIGHLY welcome. I'm going to head back to the top - which has the arching nearly finished and is rough graduated. Thank you all.
  10. Just some thoughts, while taking a break from playing with arches myself. The above quoted concern seems well taken. The first step sets a point 2/3 out from the center at 1/2 of the rise. Everything inboard is convex, as indicated by Mr. Beard and set by this equation: "Set the channel. Use '1/2 fall in 2/3 run' workshoo rule to guide carving of main part of arching (central 2/3 from peqk of arch). Smoothly lend shape between channel and main part of arch. This gives classical arcging shapes in their full range of variety." The issue I see Mr. Kasprzyk pointing out is the magic zone between the inflection point and the channel, which is outside the equation and requires one to smoothly blend. So the equation works for 2/3 of the arch, and requires eyeballing for the rest. According to Mr. Darnton: "Cremonese" style lives in the area from the inflection out to the very edge." Looking at pictures and instruments and sections and templates and then banging out a fair number of plates, I certainly cannot refute Mr. Darnton's observation. This is the very area not addressed by Mr. Beard, an area Mr. Darnton points to as key. Certainly, the more-bulbous arches that are so easy to generate do not produce the character I like and do not resemble the Cremonese work. The Sept 26 picture posted by Mr. Darnton of a modern violin with the convex part running up to the channel illustrates the issue superlatively. Another effect of the 2/3 rule is that half the rise from the reference point (bottom of the channel, for example) is 2/3 of the way out from the center line (or whatever is selected). This looks about right for Mr. Darnton's second illustration, the modern violin, but not at all for his first illustration of a Cremonese violin with rather wide channels. If one considers the interior section from this 2/3 point as convex and that outboard of it to be convex, and the area inside to be a pretty arch (Mr. Darnton indicates it to be of less importance, and I can generate that interior arch well enough to match whatever math curve is popular by eye without looking at or considering the curve - they're all roughly the same, by violin standards!), then all the 2/3 : 1/2 rule does is set the inflection point. The whole focus on cross arches might be ignoring one way of making a domed shape, by scraping outwards from the center, rather than uniformly laterally from the center line. The violin shape is a shell, not simply a series of lateral arches. I have no solution to resolving the system, except to point out that the location and shape of the channel and the system of locating the inflection point and setting its height might well be all that's needed to make a nice violin arch that looks much more like Mr. Darnton's Exh. 1 than his unsellable Exh. 2. The longitudinal arch simply arising from the process of forming a convex shape between the channel and the inflection point, smoothly transitioning to a convex shape inboard of the inflection point. An inflection point based system would need to accommodate the ends of the arch.
  11. Arch is about 14 plus a little. Channel bottom inside the purfling, with room to deepen and move inward a little more. Bouts are about 2 mm inside purfling, about 1 in the waist. Edges are 3.5 in the bouts, 3.7 or a bit more in the waist. So it's fairly beefy (easier to remove wood than put it back on!!!)
  12. Normally I end up with pretty thin channels, but I was careful, and now I have a 120 g back. With a good deal of graduation left. Trying to figure out where to start. Channel bottom thickness in the bouts is 3.0 to 3.1. C bout 3.4-3.5 - So there's a good deal of wood there, and the channels would tolerate a little bit of deepening without messing up the arching. I have wood left to accommodate that. Lungs are 2.5 to 2.7, still feeling somewhat stiff Center is 4.9, too thick laterally still, the center line is pretty nicely established grading to 3.0 mm and then back up at the ends. I have the bullseye starting to come in, but it's still a bit hefty, not much though. Suggestion on where to start getting the weight down? Mode 5 tap is high (I didn't measure - just BING high). It's rather stiff in the center. The bouts are just starting to loosen up, and I suspect the stiff edge is having an impact, but that might be a good thing. Thanks all.
  13. Could you perhaps describe your philosophy/thinking/method for generating an arch? The section is one piece, how do you get the whole thing to hang together? What are you aiming for? What checks do you use?
  14. I'm happy to just be able to get some of our modern ways of thinking out of the way. Thinking in an XYZ rigid system, for example. Even if something happens to get some evidence behind it, there's no way to know what another is thinking, even with contemporaries.