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  1. Come to think of it it looks like a small skew chiesel with a knurled metal handle. Is the tip particularly good steel or you just like the size/heft of the metal handle?
  2. Thanks Jacob! That gives me a pretty good idea of how much work this cello would need. Road kill is a very appropriate title... I thought it a risk in purchasing; the bow is at least decent for my amateur playing purposes. Glad to know it could be a decent student instrument. Here's more pics, for what it's worth. The back seems in pretty good shape (just one crack, decently repaired). Yes, there are several (3 or 4) out of register cracks on the ribs; the overhand on the lower bouts is minimal (both front & back). The front has a lot of, um, interesting features. There's two 'holes' (insect bores?) near the center seam (upper bout and c-bout), plus at least one spliced in bit of wood... I can get close up photos later. I'm tempted to work on this, slowly and methodically (understanding the likelihood of bodging some bits). It would be a thorough education in repair (I may know a shop or two willing to advise on occasion). Once the libraries here restart full interlibrary loan services I'll start studying the books--anybody have particular recommendations?
  3. Yeah, tons of glued out-of-register cracks on the table. Along with some poorly retouched ones that are also sunken a bit. And the table edges are chewed up. The ribs look pretty good--the overhang is just nonexistent on portions of the lower bout (front & back). Forgive the limits of my cellphone's optics... Ha, I'm surprised it isn't one entirely for the poubelle! Maybe it was worth the $300. I did take it to one of the local shops after cleaning up the neck--he suggested a few hundred USD just to reset the neck. (I hadn't noticed the crack yet then). Jacob--would you be willing to share how many (hypothetical) hours you'd guess worthwhile putting into some of the repairs?
  4. So, um, anybody want to advise on how to stumble through complicated repairs? Mockery, in good taste, also welcome. I picked up a cheap cello & bow (no photos) & soft case (promptly discarded) from a local antiques/collectables shop--this already attests to the value of the thing. Yes, it should just be consigned to become decor/discarded. But in the mean time what fun might I have "repairing" it? It played decently but when I removed the strings (tailpiece and endpin swap) the neck was loose. It easily tipped forward/back & button cracked on the sides, so I pulled it out and cleaned things up. Seemingly not the first time... Label reads "Reconstructed by Benjamin J. Roy". Reference material on hand is Weissharr & Triangle Strings tutorial, plus half the assortment of the necessary tools. Anyhow, looking closely it's a mess. Aside from a neck reset the second most worrisome bit is an open crack in the table, on the upper part of the bass f-hole (not touching the bass bar). The crack seems clean and takes a little force to open (at current humidity). I did not notice it prior to relieving string tension and removing the neck (most of the apparent cracks are glued up). Is there an acceptably good technique for gluing the crack without removing the top? It's possible to place a cleat near the sound holes from the exterior? Or should I just risk the table disintegrating during removal along with the temptation to mess with the sunken cracks once the top is off?
  5. Speaking from cello playing experience (built-in fine tuners on wittner & akcusticus tailpieces, heavy generic fine tuners, and stradpet titanium), I really like the feel of the Stradpet Titanium-on-brass. Incredibly smooth and easy to turn. In comparison I had the threads strip & bind on the wittner tailpiece once, and they seem to need regular maintenance (yearly clean+relube?) to stay easy to turn. The stradpet hill-style violin fine tuners aren't expensive direct (aliexpress), either.
  6. As an amateur cellist, a physicist, and wannabe luthier I'd say Marty's analysis is a good first approximation. Caveat to his tension calculation: only works for an identical string (ie, doesn't work if the linear densities of the long & short strings are different); great for seeing how the tension might change. But there's more to strings then just tension. A quick survey of Warchal's and Thomastik-Infeld websites shows some suspicious trends. Tension doesn't change with different winding materials (density of Cr is 7.14 g/cm3, Al is 2.7 g/cm3). The difference in tension between string products is negligible (often <1%) compared to different gauges within a product (up to 20%). So my guess is that a different property is at play, only somewhat related to tension--elasticity, perhaps? Either that or some of the data is not accurate... There's a lot that'd go into making a more complete recommendation. For instance, is it actually a 14" viola or a restrung violin? How old/used are the strings? What's the quality of the instrument? What's the setup like--bridge position/quality/cut, soundpost position/tension/fit, fine tuner weight/number, tailpiece size/weight/tailcord hole setup, tailcord material/length, etc? These details are much easier to see in person at a glance than describe via text. For a cellist strings are more expensive so simple/easy setup changes can be more cost effective. For violins/violas the opposite seems more true. Ie, throw a little money at a new set of strings and see what happens? If that doesn't do anything go to a good luthier.
  7. Have you considered strings for viola de gamba? Or gut strings--much easier to get semi-custom thickness/gauge at whatever length (just ask the maker about allowed tension/pitch or do the tensile strength calc yourself). I've an alto violin/vertical viola (20" back, string length ~425mm) for which I'm lucky to have a stash of x-long vla strings, plus an oddball gamba string selection... Tuning the strings too much differently really messes with the tension and thus sound/playability but is kinda interesting.
  8. I,too, broke a cello peg once. I took it to the closest string repair person (cabinet maker/woodworker professional, 'luthier' side gig). He glued it back together with superglue--didn't hold. I tried pegging the peg back together with a metal pin in it but that didn't work either (bad technique). There was another fellow in the little town professing to have the right skills--he tried to shape a new cello peg on an adjustable violin peg shaver because most of his tools were elsewhere... Eventually I had a music shop fit a new peg (the regional luthier was out of town during my trip to the larger city), plus a little reaming to give a non-sticky fit. Just the one peg, and I think I had to supply it (to mostly match the other pegs). Moral of the story? If a cello peg breaks replace it--the skill to get a joint strong enough (in ebony/rosewood/etc) to resist the forces that originally broke the peg is on par with that needed to shape a properly-fitted peg and address other fit issues. And also, heart-shaped pegs may be more fragile...
  9. If it were my case & my time were free, I'd be tempted to cut some hardwood to glue to the top of the slider, with a hole sized for a ring of some sort.
  10. More Strad posters are on the list of things to procure. Searching their wedpage for 'measurements' or 'scans' in the lutherie posters category helps find the detailed ones, thankfully! @Michael Darnton--Such pessimism! I much prefer the question, What could go right? You do have to give the fellow credit for finishing & publishing a book, though The twenty or so pages on that pinned form thread will be interesting to sort through. And the threads on arching setups... Aside from giving the plate outline, is there much interplay between arching choices & a particular form?
  11. A while ago when I was a tourist in Paris I stopped by the Musee de la Musique--enjoyed walking around, seeing all the varied instruments & whatnot. Their bookshop had an interesting title, Manual de Lutherie by Paul Altenburger. A fairly simple book, but it has measurements for drawing templates for a violin, viola, & a cello (including plate thickness & some arching details). The attached pdf has the violin (Stradivari 1692 Short B model) and the viola (Maggini 1610) inside forms drawn up. So my questions--are the drawn forms reasonably accurate? The Maggini viola is way different from the Archinto poster that I have. I also have Courtnall & Johnson (which doesn't contain form templates). For someone's first attempt to make some okay violins/violas (or just isolated fronts/backs/necks), would I likely end up with useful learning experience? Violin_ViolaTrace.pdf
  12. This looks like a really interesting book, bound well & printed on nice paper! I would make you an offer on it, but the french originals are available free online...
  13. From your OP, it sounds like the local performing cellists didn't have much to say about the phenomenon (ie, not important enough to even notice?). Is it something you are/have gotten complaints about?
  14. A problem or a fault? Nah. Remembering vaguely the four other cellos I've played extensively (<$3k/student instruments), I think all of them did that. But it's pretty easy to manage (ramping the bow weight down a little more gradually, or just not hitting the last 5% of intensity before the sudden bow release). Usually doesn't sound very good (for me) anyhow. If the strings were rattling with only moderate pressure in double stops, then I'd think it a problem.
  15. I can get my cello to do this--but only when digging into the strings (very strongly) and immediately lifting the bow off. It's just a rattle or two, nothing too annoying. I can't get the strings to rattle/buzz against each other while maintaining bow contact. As far as I know (as an amateur player), this is not a common technique. I would guess tighter spacing on the bridge could make this more problematic. Some references put normal string spacing at the bridge as 46.5-48 mm (center-to-center).
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