Craig Cowing

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About Craig Cowing

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  1. I bought the Marston church bass from SingingTree Tonewood. I'd love to hear about any info on Marston.
  2. Do you have a David Marston, Jr. in Hampton NH on your list? I have a church bass made by him and I can find absolutely nothing on him as a luthier. The instrument is dated 1836.
  3. I would avoid anything painted. The paint is undoubtedly hiding low-quality laminate. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with laminate as such, but these instruments always look suspicious to me. Start local.
  4. I lived in Newport, NH for six years and knew John.
  5. I really think it's American sycamore. It would make sense, coming from Philadelphia. Sycamores are everywhere down there.
  6. I would agree that wood dust in general isn’t healthy. I have to wear a respirator when I’m in the shop or I will be sick all night, as if I have a really bad cold. I’ve done a lot of turning and the warnings about dust tend to apply to hard tropical woods like teak and ipe. Ipe in particular is quite hard and is full of silica which is really bad for the lungs.
  7. That's my thinking. Prescott was certainly using them by that time.
  8. American sycamore is a Planatus species. European sycamore is an Acer pseudoplanatus ( a maple). European sycamore may have toxic properties, but American sycamore is used for cutting boards and other things that come into contact with food, apparently because it doesn't have an odd taste. I learned that American sycamore is best used when quarter sawn because if it is flat sawn it shrinks quite a bit when drying, but is stable quarter sawn.
  9. I just looked at a few images of quarter sawn sycamore and that's exactly what it is. Thanks!
  10. The documentation comes from the label from Klemm inside. The specific wording dates it to 1834-37. What would you suggest as a date?
  11. I only took a closeup of the back because I'm pretty sure about the wood for the front. The wood for the back is what puzzles me. I included a photo of the front to give an idea of the overall shape and size.
  12. I'm putting a smallish cello back into working order for myself. It's ca. mid 1830's, sold by the Klemm music store in Philadelphia. The body is just a hair shorter than 4/4 but the body is narrow and the neck is shorter. Total length is 47 " so I am treating it like a 3/4 instrument. The front is probably pine, and the back is either poplar or willow. I don't believe it's maple. I'd be interested in thoughts on what the back is made from. I don't know if it is European or American in manufacture. I understand that poplar and will tend to give a warmer, darker tone. Would a Belgian bridge be good to provide some balance in sound or would a French bridge be preferable? I'm putting Helicore strings on it. It has geared pegs rather than wooden pegs. This setup appears to be original, which I could see because I removed the plates with the pegs to take them apart and clean and polish them, and I could see the original finish under the plates.
  13. I've bought a few instruments from him and they're great!