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Everything posted by Shunyata

  1. I'm not going to work that hard, then deliberately make it imperfect at the last step... period. And good finishing is just as much work as good carving, show it proudly. If someone wants to deliberately ding up their violin after I give it to them that is their business. But they wont get another one from me! (I generally give them for free to talented young players without the financial means for a nice instrument.)
  2. ...and this is what Mr. Noon tried to tell me all along, but I wouldn't take his word for it.
  3. I started with certain faith that plate frequencies had to tell you something useful and waived aside every suggestion the the contrary. I have renounced that faith. I just built two violins with wildly differently pitched plates. Both sound very good with no difference in tone that I would attribute to plate tuning. In fact the one that is most "wrong" from a tuning standpoint sounds best. What DOES consistently make a difference is plate weight and careful, barrel shaped arching. The better sounding violin has these two characteristics more right. Plate tuning may have some meaning after you get everything else right, but I am a long way from that!
  4. I have noticed myself that the A string is the least tuning-stable. So the A string gets a lot more tuning and stress. But i have never broken any string, except when I sometimes have a brain freeze and crank the E peg, thinking i am holding the A peg. :-)
  5. I am not a glue expert, but my father who is a period, fine furniture maker has spent a lot of time looking into glue joints. His advice has always been: 1. Clamp tightly to maximize contact. Voids weaken the joint. 2. If there is no squeeze-out when clamping, you run the risk of a dry joint. If you need to go lighter on the glue for aesthetic reasons, size the joint surface first. (How you size depends upon the glue being used.) 3. Always size end grain surfaces. I am no expert, but I can't see any way a neck joint could fail if it was glued properly. That is a very robust joint architecture.
  6. Thank you Davide. You are very helpful as always! I will probably stick close to my current approach. I like about a 3mm overhang, so thicker plates look better.
  7. I see a variety of thicknesses noted for plate edges, and sometimes different for belly and back. My purchased violins have a range of thicknesses. What thicknesses do people use; what is good practice; are there reasons to deviate? What is your opinion of my builds (tend to be on the thicker side): 4mm in lobes. 4.5mm at points. 4.25mm in C bouts Same for belly and back.
  8. I use two 30W LED UV floodlights - designed for party/dance floor use. No idea what the spectrum is, but they work great. Varnish is hard to the touch after 3 hours, and definitely ready for next coat after 24 hours. Got the pair on Amazon for $60 and put them in an old kitchen cabinet lined with foil. With vertical venting, the cabinet stays under 85 F temperature.
  9. If I had understood what an obsession violin making would become, I wonder if I would still have started?
  10. Thank you for suggesting that I relax and give matters some time. I put new Thomastic Vision strings on this violin. First time using them... usually play on Evah Gold. The Thomastic strings have a brittle tone character that could be contributing to my perceptions. Will stick to my Evahs going forward!
  11. It has been strung up 2-3 weeks. The sound post clears the bridge foot by about 3mm, maybe a little less. I might try squeaking the post back slightly...
  12. My latest build sounds the best of all I have built... very responsive, good resonances all the way up, strong G, even tone color everywhere. I am very pleased... except for one thing. The tone has a slight sharp edge to it, almost a metallic note. It is completely passable but the violin is not subtle. I would like something that seems sweeter, without the sharp edge on the tone. My instinct is to go thinner on the plates next time. Is that right? Any other suggestions?
  13. That's what I get for spouting hearsay. Usually my uncle is meticulous about that sort of thing. Thank you for setting the record straight.
  14. Sycamore is toxic to humans. Wear a mask when sawing or sanding this wood. My uncle is in a,wood turning (lathework) club and knows some who have had health issues routinely working with this wood.
  15. These photos and discussions are helpful. It looks like the upper edge of the pegbox walls are narrowed next to the nut so that the pegbox is widened next to the nut. And if you only narrow at the top, you retain the overall structural strength of the pegbox. Using my eyeometer it would estimate a 4.5mm wall, thinning to 2.5mm (along the top edge) next to the pegbox. Does that seem right? Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. These subtleties make a big difference in the final product!
  16. That's a good point (and embarrassingly obvious). How wide of pegbox is typical? Where are string holes typically placed on the peg?
  17. How do people shape the pegbox to prevent the G and E strings from digging into the pegbox walls? I have a Johann Glass violin where the inside surface of the pegbox has been flared outward (gives almost a flower petal look that I don't really care for). Looking at photos it seems like some makers widen the string channel (thin the pegbox walls) near the nut. Is that what is actually going on? Templates typically have slightly curved pegbox walls. Does this figure into the equation?
  18. Never thought of that... but I always complete construction before the violin ever hits the light box. :-)
  19. I Use an old kitchen cabinet lined with foil and LED UV lamps. ($60 for a couple lamps, and the cabinet was free.) I allow for bottom to top airflow with vents. Never gets above about 85F so humidity control isn't an issue.
  20. How much does the finished violin weigh? I will check when I get home but some of the other weights: Back 119g Neck 70g Fingerboard 67g Didn't weigh the garland, but rib thickness was 1.1mm and height 30mm-32mm. Blocks are fir. (Won't do that again.) I am still finishing the varnish, but I can give you a weight without fittings easily enough.
  21. Well I completed construction on the violin in question. The final top plate weight without the bass bar was 85g. The final thickness was 3mm in the center, the lung areas 2.2mm to 2.4mm, and I kept the perimeter at 3mm, a little thicker in the C bouts. There was some additional thickness in spots to create L-R assymetry in the graduations that I use to manage tone. Despite suggestions that this wood was too dense and likely to wind up a student brick, the final build was very resonant, nice even color and with lively response. I am happy with this outcome... and also learning that there is no substitute for trying and seeing for yourself. I suspect that many of the things we "know" about violin making are "precepts" that tend to keep us out of trouble, but aren't "true" in and of themselves.
  22. I am a lefty that took up violin in my 40s (and violin making in my 50s). Zero issues - other than it sounds like a cat getting its tail pulled when you first start. (A few months later it still sounds that way, but its easier to pull its tail.) The role of handedness in a violin is not a thing. I also play flute, piano, and guitar. No handedness thing there either.
  23. Another poster mentioned Osage Orange wood. My father turned my carving mallets from this wood. It is very hard and very dense with a beautiful orange color. But the grain is also rather stringy, like Ash. I think dyed Hickory would have a texture and appearance more like ebony. Hornbeam Ironwood even more so, but good luck shaping fittings out of Ironwood - a steel blank would be easier!
  24. Michael, your comments make great sense to me. I recall advertisements in Scientific American back in the 70s where a cardboard manufacturer made bridges out of cardboard and drove cars over them. These bridges featured delicate elegant arches. Get the shape right and the material doesn't matter too much...
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