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Everything posted by Shunyata

  1. Potassium nitrite is very hygroscopic. Agree with putting it in a shallow plastic container to dry out, but would not put in sun since UV is what makes the substance work for wood treatment. I think the nitrite is stable up to about 500C, but I wouldn't try heating it myself!
  2. I was using linseed oil as my lubricant, which is slower to dry. And my technique was maybe off the mark. I was liberal with the oil and added more at the first sign of stickiness/resistance in the rubbing. I was moderate in the application of shellac, but definitely nowhere near dry. In general I looked to see that I was getting consistent application of finish without having to work to get coverage. From the comments it seems I was using way too much material. And that partly explains why I was seeing a faint "streaking" where the finish wasn't laying flat. Also I was probably putting coats on too fast and melting the soft underlayers... which would also create physical streaks. As always... You all are excellent teachers. Thank you so much for your assistance!
  3. Michael... I tried this recipe and your technique with a hard cotton cloth. It all works wonderfully and produces exactly the patina I was after. Thank you. I put on multiple coats a couple of hours apart. I think this was maybe too fast... it took the varnish several days to fully harden. Is that your experience?
  4. I'll let Ivan Galamian know that he should stop talking about the difference between arm vibrato and finger vibrato. :-)
  5. Thank you for this info Michael! What do you use as an applicator? The tradition cotton wool pad with a hard cloth seems problematic. I know some furniture makers just use cheese cloth to get into small crevices. Thoughts?
  6. Some people have elite violin ability and others do not. Stands to reason that something is different about these people. Why would anyone think that difference only has one manifestation (violin prodigy) rather than multiple co-occurring impacts (finger structure and control)? Most elite mathematicians have a ring finger substantially longer that their pointer finger. (True fact.) Both features (mathematics reasoning and long ring fingers) are the result of a specific biochemical condition during fetal development. Long ring fingers and extreme mathematical ability occur together for a physical reason. One does not cause the other.
  7. So what cut donyoy use for French polish?
  8. RELATED QUESTION: What "cut" (weight of shellac to volume of alcohol) do people typically use for instrument spirit varnish?
  9. For planing ebony an adjustable throat on your plane is a HUGE help. I use a cheap Wood River block plane, extremely sharp, with a 1/32 inch throat opening for ebony. This setup pretty much eliminates pull-out and chipping.
  10. A few weeks ago, my neighbor (in her 70s) came to me with two dusty cases with violins that had been her grandfather's. She said one was his practice violin and the other he used in a dance band that he led. She wanted to make them presentable and stable to pass on in her family. Both violins were fitted with exactly this chinrest! And you could see where the rests consistently damaged the varnish where they were attached. :-( Since someone will probably ask... One was a badly damaged built-on-back violin with toille decals, an ill-fitted replacement top that had been white glued, with significant arch collapse and a homemade replacement neck. Its value was only the interesting narrative of all the different things that had been done to keep it playable. The other violin was an 1890s Guarneri "conservatory violin" in great physical shape, and in need of significant cleaning. I didn't string up to full tension, but what I heard seemed quite promising.
  11. I have very sharp, well-shaped tools. My original question was about what techniques people use. Davide (whose work is a never-ending source of inspiration and education... I would love to see and play one of his violins!!!) has provided a well-rounded answer based upon his approach. Other responders seem to say that technique matters little, you just need a feel for what you are aiming for. My work on a soap block should instill this understanding. But I will definitely follow Davide's technique. Again please accept my gratitude, Davide, for all of the teaching you have shared with me.
  12. For digging the volute more, it sounds like your cutting direction is starting to become more tangential... following the curve of the spiral. (My cuts in the very top picture are radial, cutting from the edge toward the eye.) Do I understand you correctly?
  13. Amusingly, I am working on a Del Gesu copy right now.
  14. Yes... the sides of the volute, not the fluting.
  15. I cut the flat spiral first using a saw, then undercut (as described above) and save the outer fluting for last. But I use gouges for all of the outside fluting. I am interested in hearing how others handle undercutting. We have several votes for radial cuts. Any other techniques?
  16. The Madder Rosinate was the biggest offender. But shortening the time between coats seemed to mostly resolve the issue. Maybe some melting of the previous coats helps.with adhesion. My results looked like the OP, and I can't imagine any silicone contamination in my shop. It is a long way from the laundry room and fabric softeners. :-)
  17. I bought from violinvarnishitaly.com
  18. I have had that issue too, especially with certain batches (purchased) of varnish. More or less solvent didnt seem to matter in my case. I found that thin layers and especially not letting the varnish harden too much between coats solved the problem reliably. I have no idea what the explanation is.
  19. I shape the channel by cutting radially, starting from the outside edge and cutting toward the eye. It sounds like you are cutting around the circumference, following the shape of the circle. Is that right?
  20. In this picture you see that the spiral channel around the volute is much deeper cut and forms a U-shaped trough. I want to be able to do that.
  21. My undercuts are relatively flat as shown in the picture. And with this shape, chamfering has to be very light or it doesn't look good. I would like to aim for a much deeper undercut like you see on Markies or French instruments. But I don't really have a feel for how to do this. Does anyone have a general suggestions for technique other than get in and try? I plan to carve a bar of soap to get a feel for the geometry. But dealing with the grain and fine details carries its own challenges.
  22. Thank you for your encouragement GoPractice. My rehairing efforts have been more the result of desperation than motivation. I moved, my new location is 3hrs from a good luthier, and my good bow had become unplayable. I figured that if I had the patience and attention to build a good violin then I could learn to rehair. I got some great pointers from this forum, bought inexpensive hair and a $20 bow to practice on, and measured my work against my bows that were professionally haired. I quickly found that subtleties matter a lot (just like violin making) and it took more than a dozen tries until I was happy that my work was sufficient. The YouTube videos by Nehr were extremely instructive - as was having professional work to compare against. Then when I switched to my good bow and good hair there were a few new things to learn. Now I am very pleased with my work. As a bonus (as word has gotten out about a local, amateur luthier) my circle of string playing friends (friends in need are friends indeed :-) ) has been dramatically increasing.
  23. Use a little carnauba paste to polish the neck wood. You can buy this as a wood polish. Stay away from automotive carnauba waxes as they can have soaps or solvents in them.
  24. Being an engineer by profession, I started with a quantitative bent toward violin making. There are a few first order principles (<65g, not too thin in a couple critical areas, etc.) that make a huge difference. Past that, the nuances of each individual piece of wood become significant factors and experience is essential for assessing and responding to those nuances. One thing I had to let go of is the notion that wood or plates should "ring". Indeed, violins are not bells!
  25. Thank you Mr. Darnton! So my observations are not pure poppycock! What is the effect of finer versus coarser hair. You would tend to have more fine hairs with less tension on each hair, but cross section on each hair is smaller so they would still be very "springy" under the lower tension.
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