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Andrew tkinson

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    Craft history, String instrument making and trying to have fun and learn stuff by combining these two interests.

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  1. I am not an expert on this but I sometimes enjoy trying to play 'variations' on my violin sometimes, on tunes I really know well. A tune such as "Early one morning" is one I like, starting with the unaltered tune first then playing arpeggios and scales that fit in with the chord changes that are already in my head because of the familiarity of the tune. The more you do this it can be applied to other tunes that you know well. I used to play the cornet as a child (I've recently started again and am getting slowly better) and heard Arban's cornet version of the Carnival of venice and recall this and other cornet tunes which would start with the 'straight' tune and then go on to make increasingly elaborate variations to test the player and impress the audience. Althought these cornet tunes are not improvised their variations, to me, give a nice demonstration of playing different stuff over a set of chords. With Jazz and any improvisation I think you need the tune and chords 'in your head' to improvise freely and musically. I am probably talking nonsense though, so as compensation here is Maurice Andre playing a great example with his own amazing cadenza at the begining. Edit. I tried to put a link in here but it wouldn't work but if you type "Maurice Andre Carnival of Venice" into youtube you'll find it!
  2. Hello Gary, Thanks for posting the picture of your father's tools. I find the sidways cutting gouges especially interesting, a bit like a spoon carver's hooked knife, I imagine they will be good for carving in inaccessable places? I like making my own tools but I am a bit rough and ready and find my hardening and tempering a bit unreliable, but at least I get plenty of sharpening practice!
  3. Hello Mike, Lute makers, I believe, used to prefer the grain orientation like this for their bars/struts and could use soundboard off-cuts for them. Everything looks great to me and I look forward to learning from you when you do your your varnishing.
  4. Hello Evan and Ken, I really like the idea of the iron and dowel. I am not an expert but I hope you don't mind me joining in this bending iron discussion. Here is a picture of the bending iron I have used to bend four sets of violin ribs so far. It is just a thick bit of steel bar attached to a handle, I was trying to think of what a maker in the past could have used, heated over maybe a charcoal fire and thought having a bar on a handle would be easier to use than a long bar heated and held in a hole on the bench? I heat it up on my gas cooker and bend the dampened ribs by holding them on a flat piece of wood heating them ith my iron and pulling them gently upand moving the iron backwards. I also used a smaller bit off bent bar (If you cycle a lot you often find these potentially useful types of bars lying in the road) for the tighter curves on this violin. I do admit that my ribs are quite plain wood though. I think I saw a bending iron a bit like this in a book on some Italian violinmaking family and made up my version from this and from a lute rib bending iron I made based on a Turkish Saz makers rib ben ding iron I saw in a book. There are some more pictures of my bending iron in action on my 'thing' in the contemporary makers gallery.
  5. I was talking to some friends the other day and they laughed when I told them the wood I made my chicken from was from the local Churchyard, they suggested that there must be no trees left there as I had them all. Just to prove them wrong here is a nice autumnal picture of the old churchyard, showing one of the big old lime trees. It is surprising how many things you can make from a small amount of salvaged wood, when the things are small boxes and musical instruments etc This photo shows the cross arching at the centre of the two sound boards in a relatively final state. The arching on the right looks very deep, it is less 'arched' in the bouts but I hope I can get a soundpost to stay up. In future violins I will try to consider the Fronts and backs a bit more as a whole for each violin so they relate to each other more and fit together more visually in terms of the outer appearance of their arching? Here I am using a small wooden plane to remove material from the sound boards before sawing their outlines I like to keep some clean shavings as I find them useful sometimes to use to 'burnish' the wood surface of things I make before applying a finish. I plan to try this 'shaving burnishing' on a violin before I varnish it to see if it does anything useful or interesting? I found the small wooden plane worked but was slow and tiring to hold so I finished off the wood removal with an old scrub plane. It works quickly and can take heavy shavings assisted by its iron's curved edge. A wooden plane can take heavier shavings because, as an old instructor once told me, "... the coefficient of friction of wood on wood is much less than that of metal on wood!" I think he was right, metal planes need candle wax on their soles to help reduce friction, wax also helps on wooden planes but wooden planes can be less tiring as they are generally lighter in weight. I do admit, however, that metal planes have many of their own advantages. Here are the two soundboards after much wood removal. I got out my homemade Stradivari thickness caliper and calibrated tapered wedge, to measure the thickness in places durng the work, so as to avoid removing too much wood As a rest from mentally tiring violin work I finished fitting my, now dry, axe handle. The head has been repaired at some point, it seems to have been re-steeled and the handle eye/socket welded which seems to have interfered with the taper of the opening, so wedging the head onto the handle may be a bit of aproblem? My first violin has been hanging in my kitchen window since I put strings on it last July. It needs some tidying up before varnishing but here is a photo showing (admittedly in artificial light) how it has attained a bit of colour from the general kitchen ambience (not much cooking but it does hang above my teapot?), me playing it a bit, and the weak rays of the sun, through the North facing window. For comparison I am holding a scrap piece of un 'weathered' spruce next to my violin. The front has coloured more. I have been putting off varnishing it as it sounds ok to me and I am worried about making it worse? Back upstairs, in my little workshop,here I am starting to saw around the outlines of the soundboards I was working hesitantly so I put my glasses on (I do most things with shop bought 'reading' glasses) and found I could work more confidently and saw closer to my lines. These are my special workshop glasses, shown here, they are, according to the optician, office glasses, varifocals designed for people who have to look at a computer screen and at paper documents. They are my first prescription glasses and I wanted something that I could use for working generally, at arms length and for close up work such as marking out and carving. I got the 'designer' frames cheap as they were 'last seasons' and I asked for a strong frame. The downside of these glasses is that they seem to make straight edges/lines look curved! Here are the soundboards sawn out - inside view Outside view. i am pointing to a small knot which I like because it caused the soundboard to be very cheap! I may not like it as much when I come to carve the outside arching! After all this violin stuff, for a rest, and because the upcoming Wedding party was in six days time, I started work on a small wedding present for two friends. I have made a few wooden boxes over the years and developed a construction method which suits me and my small pieces of churchyard sourced wood, A few years ago I made a small box to give a friend when he got married and they seem to like them so this will be wedding box number four. Each box has been different, this couple have a small flock of chickens and they very fond of them so after puzzling for a while I thought " I'll make them a small box in the shape of a chicken!" Here is a picture of my sketches along with a piece of very twisty limewood from ... well you know where its from ... the local churchyard of course! Sawing the wood to length, a rough chicken outline can just be seen I decided to make two boxes as I wanted to make another present, to send to someone who let me stay at their house when my hotel cancelled my booking the day before my trip. So here are the two pieces or should I say 'nuggets' of chicken wood after being trimmed with another axe (I got three axe heads from Germany, a couple of years ago and have now made handles for two of them!) The top half is sawn carefully off the box piece and then both 'meeting' surfaces are planed flat. My experimental bench and its holding devices of weges and pegs seemed to work well at holding the very irregularly shaped box lids and bottoms Here the two boxes have had their meeting surfaces planed flat enough for my purposes.The arrows are indicating the direction to plane to help avoid tearing the grain Next I sketched a couple of chickens on the wood. I then marked out the box compartment in the bottom half of the chicken and cut the pencil lines with my marking knife I used a brace and old shell bit to drill out some waste wood. I made a pencil mark on the drill bit at around 3/4" to watch when drilling to help me drill to the correct depth I then used a mallet and chisel to excavate the box One lower half of chicken done! I then took some sections of rib wood left over from my present two violins and cut off some small pieces These are then chiselled and trimmed to fit inside the box compartment The pieces are numbered to fit where they go and the corners are mitred with a chisel The pieces are then tested for fit in the chicken When the the pieces are all fitted I can start to mark out a corresponding opening in the upper half or lid of the chicken The makings are drawn in pencil and then marked slightly undersized with a knife The lid can then be drilled, a bit shallower this time The waste can be chiselled out roughly and then I test the two parts together offering them up to each other and looking in to see where wood needs to be removed and chisel away bits from the ends and sides of the top opening until the thin bits of wood go nicely and not too loose fitting, into it Here the lid has been fitted but not yet excavated to full depth. Care is needed when excavating the top as it will be shaped, chicken shaped in this case, so you have to think ahead about how much material will be left after carving to avoid cutting through! (sigh!) Next I glued the small thin pieces of wood into place using my hot hide glue (I Hope it contained no chicken hides!) Here I am cleaning off the glue and have sprung a small rib scrap into place to clamp the thin wood against the not -too-straight sides Here are the boxes and their lids with their thin strips of wood glued into place A small bevel is then chiselled on the thin wood strips to help make the lids go on easier The tops are chiselled down to sufficient depth so the two parts fit nicely together and now the fun starts! Here I have drawn my chickens on the boxes Here I am sawing my chicken out. The idea is that the two parts are held together by the internal bits of wood and all shaping is done from now with the two parts together and I aim to get the joint between the two parts not too obvious It's alive! Well, not quite. I know it looks brutal but the carving can now begin! The chickens are not yet fully conscious! I am using a lage flat chisel to take off the corners etc. Care is needed, working like this against a wooden stop, as the work can rotate under pressure and the chisel can find its way into your thumb (as it did twice, recently, when I was making my small plane) To met is very advantageous to not be screwing and unscrewing an irregular item such as this in and out of a vice as this slows down things and if the workpiece is loose it can be looked at in the round very easily. I should think of some better stops for working irregular shapes up against or when things are a bit unstable, take lighter chisel cuts? Here she comes, cluck cluck! Carving the tail Nearly ready! Eyes done. A bird in the hand? (You've seen her already) And, two birds, not in the bush but on my bench! Here shown in open box mode Sadly I made the top excavation on my second chicken too deep and carved a small hole through to the outside! The "Messiah" of chicken boxes? Unfortunately I felt I couldn't give this, slightly faulty, little box to anyone. I have glued in a patch (see below) but am quite happy to keep it for myself and look after it! This reminded me of the famous 'Messiah' Stradivarius violin. It too has a patch in it, on its soundboard and there are some who reason that this imperfection was the reason why the violin was never sold and remained in the workshop! When I die people may wonder why I held onto this particular chicken shaped box, and when they look closer they will see the small repair and understand! (Unless, of course they read this and will already know the truth and understand the mystery!) On a more serious note at least I still had one box to give my friends at their wedding 'do'. I applied a coat of shallac and here I am rubbing it over with fine steel wool and my favourite wax polish. It is made with real turpentine, I think, so smells really nice! Here she is after waxing, the Messiah chicken stands modestly in the background All that remained to do was to use some of the waste wood and whittle a pair of small eggs. Here they are in place with the initials of the happy couple carefully drawn on. On the night they seemed to like the little box and after a few beers I even ended up dancing at one stage! I hope this chicken box digression and Messiah comparison is not a step too far! But if you've learned nothing else from this post at least now you now know for definite, you should Never count your chicken boxes before they are carved!
  6. Hello, I sincerely thank you all for your interest in my woodworking adventures and accidents. Shelbow, I am puzzled as to why this, My third page is soooooo long and takes it a while to load? Is it because I have made such long posts and a page is determined by number of posts? Chiaroscuro, I have to admit I was considering doing an integral bass bar but when it came to carving my soundboards I have to admit I forgot about this option and hollowed the fronts in the same way I did the backs. I must admit you've got me thinking about how I would hollow a front with a bass bar in the way of my gouge creating its own arch? Now you have reminded me of this option I am considering making another soundboard with a carved soundbar to see how it would compare but on reflection I wouldn't want to be gluing and removing a top just to compare sounds so I think for my next violin I will choose one of these body shapes - probably 'Uncle Toby' (the one with the blocks) and make a top with an integral sound bar. I am really pleased to find a few people interested in my untrained meanderings and experiments and Any suggestions for other things I could or should try would be most welcome! I realise I am lucky to not have to make my living doing this so can experiment and have fun. I do make my living, working part time, moving things, tables, chairs and amplifiers etc around which can be repetive and does strain my hands but at least it is in an interesting music venue with nice views of the Tyne and Newcastle.
  7. I'm glad you liked my chicken as she will feature, high in the pecking order, in this, or tomorrows, post. I have made a little progress in my violin making since late July. It is easy, when a thing - such as violin making - is difficult, to look for things to do other than that thing! So, here I am starting to make an axe handle, for an old side axe head acquired from Germany via e-bay. I thought I would try some Holly that I got when a neighbour decided to replace the hedge between us with a fence. I ran down and managed to save the pear tree from the chain saw, very near the boundary, that either I or my mother had grown about twenty or thirty years ago, from a pip. Here the handle has been roughly chopped to shape, I used another german axe and a small English axe (I have too many tools so like to try them out). The bulbous handle is copied from French clogmakers axes and I think is supposed to help balance the short handle and head? I then put the handle aside to dry a bit more before final shaping A while later I plucked up the courage to resume my violin making. Here I am planing the ribs and blocks etc down to final depth and so assembly is flat and will lie nicely against undersides of the flattened soundboards. I have made the taper of the body depth (bottom rib deepest tapeirng down to a bit less depth at neck) along the whole length Here are the two body assemblies lying, looking like they are sunbathing, on their overlength soundboards. Here I am sawing some of the extra length off what will become the neck end of the soundboard I then planed the sawn edge nice and straight and smooth as I will be holding this end against the neck root when I mark out the outline from the assembled rib structure I then made a pencil line down the centre joint on the inside of the soundboard and here I am making a small mark on the rib at the violin endblock to help me align it with the centre line on the soundboard I went for a walk and was pleased to see another decorated postbox in my area. I looked on the internet for more of these and have discovered they seem to have been appearing all over the UK. You can find a lot more if you type "Pillar box toppers" into google. One of my favourites has a mole half-emerged from a small green knitted field to be seen here https://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2021/02/03/retired-police-officer-vows-to-keep-towns-spirits-high-with-post-box-toppers/ Back with violins, here I am sawing the end off a thin nail to make a locating pin to use during the marking of the soundboard outlines. I filed the point to a finer point and made a couple of pins from this nail Here I have inserted one of my pins into the pinhole in the neckblock, this hole was created earlier by my 'neck alignment stick' when I glued the neck to the back. I carefully aligned the centre line on the top and neck and keeping the planed edge pressed against the neck root pressed the top against the pin to make a mark on the underside of the soundboard I then used a fine awl to make a locating pin sized hole on the mark I then used my 'neck alignment stick' to mark a locating pin hole at the bottom block end of the soundboard. Here I have placed the neck block end on the pinhole in the soundboard and then, lining it up with the pencil marked centre line, I marked the bottom block end pin hole using the pin in the alignment stick. My aim was to make two locating pin holes on the underside of the soundboard that correspended in placement with the ones already in the neck and bottom blocks and to use locating pins to help hold the body assemblies firmly when tracing their outlines. (I realise now when writing this I could have just placed my sharpened pins into the neck and bottom block holes and marked the soundboard pin positions directly from these but at the time it seemed to make sense to use my alignment stick and it did allow fairly easily see the mark was on the centreline without having to peer between the ribs and soundboard etc) Anyway, with the pinholes all made, the pins in place and aligned nicely, I could then use the small spacer washer method to trace the soundboard outline from my ribs with the pins holding everything in place there was very little risk of things slipping during marking Here the pins and pinholes can be seen and the outline derived from the ribs and here are the two quite different outines Crackpot Carving Inside first? For some reason the idea of carving the inside of a violin first seems to make sense to me. (I feel that working on the outside first and then having to hold the wobbly arched top while hollowing the inside, while at the same trying to avoid putting marks or otherwise marring the nice outside arched contours doesn't seem to be ideal. However, I do admit I am no expert on these matters and am just enjoying experimenting and making things.) Here I am starting to mark out the inside of my soundboard Here I have marked out the area to be carved and the two parallel lines delineate the area I will carve first to establish my 'long arch'. I read an article by Torbjörn Zethelius on the 'inside first' method and recall him describing the central area of arching or as he termed it the "loaf" so have taken from his article in my own simplified way and my parallel lines delieate my version of this 'loaf' area Here I am getting some arch depth measurements from a Strad poster. I made marks on my soundboard corresponding with the poster where the cross arch sections occur - shown above on the poster. I then measured the depth on each of the cross arches and pencilled them next to the corresonding mark on my soundboard. These numbers were the maximum depth I was aiming to carve at the centreline at these points. (I am not explaining what I did very clearly but I think the photos explain things quite well) Here are the two soundboards marked out ready for internal carving and the two plans I used to mix and match a little, as neither of my violins were modelled from them to derive my measurements I took my big gouge and my simple depth guage thing and was ready to get started I gouged out an area next to my depth markings While gouging I tested frequently for depth having set my depth guage to the correct measurement, working cautiously towards to the correct depth Here I have gouged down to the correct depths (or a little less than the maximum to allow for some 'human error'?) at the five places shown on the strad plans. I made a pencil mark at the bottom of each excavation so I could aim to preserve these marks during the next carving steps Here I am excavating between my pre established depths, preserving the pencil marks and aiming to produce an even shape along the whole excavation. I try to let the way the gouge works and cuts determine the cross arch shape. Take smooth contolled cuts, keeping the bevel surface on the woodsurface, (dont raise the handle too much?)the bevel helps govern the shape without having to check it too much at this stage? After the gouging I used small planes and gouges to extend the arching out from the central 'loaf' area towards the pencil line markings As I worked I frequently checked the shape of the arch by eye using a piece of straight wood to cast a shadow. Here are the two internal arches roughly shaped Then I smoothed things out a bit more with a scraper again often checking the contours by touch and by eye to make them look nice and even Here the internal arching is about ready, by my not too exacting standards, on this soundboard. and here is the long arch Here are both of the soundboards. I have worked the arching just until it looked 'nice' and was smooth and quite symmetrical. I have probably made my arching quite strange and unconventional but these are my 2nd and 3rd violins and I am sure my arch estimation will improve as I see where I've gone 'wrong' on these violins? I've been meaning to make a new frame for the rear garage door and finally thought of somewhere within walking distance, as I don't drive, that sold wood of a reasonably substantial cross section. Here I am starting home with two large pieces of softwood on my shoulder. It was a bit of a squeeze along that path next to the road I am off the road now but it is now nearly all up hill, up the Tyne valley from Dunston(I have changed shoulders) Underneath the A1 (main road to Scotland) I noticed an interesting looking butterfly and struggled to get a photo, I was determined to get home without putting my planks down Here I am crossing the road to go up 'Duckpool Lane' I was amused to see a cheeky fly was hitching a ride on my planks! Here the planks can be seen resting near my back door A few days later I sawed pieces off for the doorposts and head. Here they are on my bench in the garage I started to work the rebates on the frame first using an old plough plane to make a narrow groove to delineate the width and the depth of the rebate I then used a chisel and mallet to roughly form the rebate I then used an old 'Badger' plane to finish the rebate. I enjoyed making the wide, thick shavings. Here it is again on one of the long doorposts. I am not used to working on such - compared to violins - large pieces of wood! The frame sections rebated, I then sawed them to width Back onto violins - nearly! I decided to try to make a small wooden plane to use on the rough arching. I have read about some luthiers using small scrub planes to do rough arching and wondered if I could try making a curved or 'compass' plane to use on rough arching? I suspect it may be hard to control but thought it was worth a try. So I made a drawing and selected a small block of beech, a small piece of some I got from a large fallen branch in Dunston woods in the 1980's along with an old narrow (But too long really!) plane iron purchased via e-bay Here is the block after sawing, the smaller piece, cut in the same grain orientation as the body, will be used for the wedge I used an old brace and shell bit to start the excavation of the body. I am using my small experimental bench top, pegs and wedges to hold the workpiece, as I do in my violin making 'experiments' Here I have turned the block over and am using a smaller shell bit to drill out the plane mouth. i should have taken a bit more care here! Here I am using a relatively modern coping saw to open up the mouth. In keeping with my 'old style' low tech methods I wanted to use my small homemade narrow bladed saw - like a keyhole saw - but I couldn't find it! Never mind! After some chiselling, here it can be seen, the iron sits in place Next night I started on the wedge first sawing it to width the planing it to width and thickness here I am chiselling the taper on it Here the wedge and iron are in place Here is the wedge after a bit more shaping and fitting Meanwhile, in the garage. I need to work mouldings on my door frame. Here I am using an old wooden adjustable rebate or 'moving fillester' plane to form a couple of rebates to form the fillets of the moulding. I don't often do work like this so some of my old tools take a bit of getting used to. They know how to do this work better than I do but as some of them are are around 150 to over 200 years old and deserve a rest, I think they resent being woken up by me, used clumsily, then ignored for years at a time? A narrow rebate plane is then used to remove the corner before finishing with the old moulding plane Old moulding plane in action Here is the old plane and the ovolo moulding it has just cut. This plane is probably well over 200 years old as is indicated by the wedge shape, chamfers and type of name stamps (unfortunately the maker's stamp is unreadable on this plane). I have been looking at some of my old wooden planes and am amazed at how precise the old planemakers were, working entirely by hand in beech (In the UK) and sometimes boxwood. Back upstairs in my little workshop, I wish I could approach some of the precsion of the old plane makers! Here I am chiselling the curve along the plane sole Then I chiselled the traditional British smoothing plane 'coffin shape to the body, cutting my thumb twice in the process, finishing the body off with a chamfer on the upper edges and halfway down the ends Here the plane body is nearly finished, the chamfers are finished with gouge cuts on most British planes so I've tried to do it here I then hammered my own roughly filed and engraved makers stamp on it. My adopted name of "Old Enoch" was the name of a real character, a country carpenter from one of my favourite books - The Village Carpenter by Walter Rose. Here I am planing a hollow across the grain into some spruce scrap. the plane works ok but will need some fine tuning. I may try to make a toothed blade for it? Here is the finished plane after a coat of linseed oil. It may not work well, I'll find out later, but it does look quite cute! I hope the lack of violin making is acceptable, I have side tracked a lot and sadly it is getting late, so The Chicken will have to wait until tomorrow! - I wonder if that could be the next title of the next James bond film?
  8. Hello. Thank you for your very kind comment. I haven't a turkey to offer you in thanksgiving but I hope you'll accept this picture of a small wooden chicken instead?
  9. I have to admit that, being tall, I have often bumped my head on door frames etc which possibly affected the clarity of my writing style! It wasn't my grandfather but George Sturt's grandfather who believed you couldn't learn to make a wheel without "chopping your knee half a dozen times a times. I also do not believe in the idea that wounds are are sign of skill or experience. I am a beginner in violinmaking but I am interested in old tools and craft history and was trying to join in this tool mark discussion from that perspective. My own grandfather was a mechanical engineer who also was a good pianist, who had his own small part time dance band in the first half of last century. I remember my mother telling me how she used to sometimes bandage his poor damaged fingers when he used to come home from work. His engineering job did not help him in his piano playing efforts! His brother my mother's "Uncle Herbert" was the bands violinist and apparently used to often get them into fights because of his hot temper. Anyway, I am as usual digressing and will leave this discussion of tool marks before I risk acquiring another bump on my already bumpy head!
  10. I wasn't sure if I should post this in this thread or in the recent one one on Injuries but here it is. I find it quite interesting that in the past that tool marks on the worker themself were sometimes seen as evidence of their skill. Also craftworkers were often marked, shaped or changed physically by the repeated use of some tools or their working practices. I am glad that I am working wood today and am not subject to some of these harsh conditions and expectations endured in past! (I expect that workers in many other parts of the world are still subject to similar working traditions and conditions?) In his book The Wheelright's Shop, George Sturt writes that a wheelwright ".... should have won the skill that came from wounds. For it was a saying of my grandfather's that nobody could learn to make a wheel without chopping his knee half a dozen times". He also describes how during his " ... father's last illness a hard place on his waist, puzzling to the doctor, was explained as due to spoke-shaving". (Working a cart wheel spoke while braced between his waist and the bench or some kind of spike) In the old days when millstones were dressed by workers using very hard metal picks apparently the miller would ask to see the 'metal' in back of the workers hand. When dressing the stone sparks of hot metal from the tool would embed in the workers hand and if there was a lot of metal there it was seen as evidence of long experience and, hopefully, skill. I have read that it was often claimed by wood machinists that a person couldn't be a good machinist unless they had lost a finger or two. A few years ago I attended a wood maching course and at one point the instructors told us in all seriousness that "if anyone tells you you can't be a good wood machinist and still have all your fingers they are lying!". I was quite surprised they felt it necessary to say such a thing in the late twentieth century. Often injuries would be, and still are, caused by workers having to work quickly. I attended a talk on the High Wycombe Chair industry and the speaker showed a slide in which two men, smiling proudly, could be seen, one with one wooden 'peg-leg' and the other with two 'peg-legs'! The speaker explained that these men has lost their legs while working at large bandsaws. The large bandsaws had big spoked wheels for the blade to run upon and the lower wheel was in a trench below floor level which had a small board over it. The sawdust would quickly collect in this trench and cause problems so to speed things up the workers would remove the small board and this helped keep the job going but meant if they slipped or were careless as they were in a hurry to try and earn a decent wage, they could catch their feet in the spokes of the lower wheel of the bandsaw. At the same talk he described that in High Wycombe you could tell if a person was a "Chair framer". Chair framers would assemble the chairs, working much of their day at a very low bench drilling holes for chair legs etc. After a few years working like this according to the speaker some of these workers could not straighten up and could be seen "standing, bent at the middle, in the queue waiting for a bus" I have cut myself many times, broken my big toe by dropping a sycamore log on it amongst other things, but sadly in my case my skill level has not been enhanced!
  11. (Apologies for going off the toothed blade topic!) Hello Mike, my arching is probably quite 'eccentric'. I have up to now been mainly concerned with experimenting and learning how to use and make tools to make a violin. I have deliberately avoided thinking too much about design and concentrated on the 'mechanics' but realise now I would have avoided a few problems if my outlines had been thought out a bit more and if had used less irregular shaped wood. I like the idea of doing arching from the inside first so have done that on each of my three violins. My back arching was determined a little bit by wood I used - harvested from the local churchyard so I felt I had to try to use it! - my two backs are shown here before I started I carved the arching and used some measurements (seen here written on the back next to where they occur) for depth of arching at the centre of the back, off some strad posters along with my simple depth guage/stick thing I then tried to make the internal arching look nice to my highly untrained eye here are the two hollowed backs showing the arching So my strange external arching then followed what had been set by the internal arching. ( If you want to see more, or larger photos, I have posted lots more on my very poorly structured blog, here https://oldenoch.blogspot.com/2020/07/i-still-cant-bake-my-oven-is-still-cold.html in the Post which has a photo of a trumpet at the start. I am still posting photos here but since joining Maestronet have been putting my stuff on my thing in the 'Contemporary Maker's Gallery' as my blog was not being viewed much) My lack of experience and tendency to be too easily pleased have resulted in this strange arching but I have learned a lot, well a bit, from my mistakes and for my fourth violin I plan to take more care with design type matters as an integral part of the making process. Back to toothed blades! I have read that hand cut files were valued because their irregular teeth did not 'track' so helped them work better. I think I may have read that machine made files were improved by altering the machines to make the teeth less regular? Similarly with hand cut rasps the irregularity of the teeth makes them work better. The Dieter Schmidt fine tools catalogue says " Hand-cut rasps function differently from machine-cut rasps. They cut faster and leave a surprisingly smooth finish thanks to the excellent surface quality, extra sharpness, and slightly irregular layout of their teeth. "
  12. I am probably not the best person to listen to as I am perhaps too easily satisfied with my own toolmaking efforts. But I made this toothed iron by using a hammer and cold chisel to form the teeth on an old blade which was a bit useless as it is a bit soft but the softness of the metal was advantageous when chiseling the teeth and it works quite well as a toothed iron. The uneveness of the teeth arose quite naturally (rather like Austin Powers teeth, I am English after all?) as I chiselled them judging the spacing by eye. Perhaps a finer spacing would be better? I made the blade seen in the top left by filing grooves on the unhardened blade (sweedish knife steel bought from Dictum) and it works well but I probably need to reharden it as it is a bit soft
  13. I am a novice violin maker but do have some experience of coconut milk extraction. Maybe you didn't use your screwdriver on the correct place. The coconut has three 'eyes' which seem designed by mother nature to facilitate opening with a large nail, or screwdriver Were you doing "screwdriver antiqueing" ( a term I have learned from maestronet) on your coconut to imitate the finish on the old Cremonese coconuts?
  14. I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of Kennedy doing Hendrix as I prefer Hendrix doing himself but I would defintitely be interested to hear Kennedy's version of this Four Seasons? Would classic FM get confused?
  15. I have to admit that drilling my hand was the least of my worries. I reckon some supernatural wood dust - my sycamore came from the local churchyard - must have got into the small wound and, see the photo of that same hand I use on my posts, after a few days a small wooden man started to grow from the wound! He actually is the author of all I write so please do not direct any anger at me if I seem to write nonsense! Talking of my local churchyard, I noticed this gravestone last year, I know it is not a violin but it shows both toolmarks (setting out lines) and a mistake in the positioning of the word "Aged" (accidentally lined up with the numbers) and then corrected. To me the whole thing is made more interesting and special by having these marks and the mistake but I suspect the family of the deceased were not too happy and the poor letter cutter working most likely on site, so having no way of escaping from his error, must have been very very embarassed! I wonder if when it was done it was filled with some kind of plaster and stonedust mixture which has fallen out over the centuries a bit like the varnish rubbing off parts of violins and revealing some tool marks? I went to a talk a few years ago given by the head of the Stonemasons working at Canterbury cathedral. I thought it was really interesting when she said that she had to tell her stonemasons to try to work a bit more 'freely' when doing restoration carvings. The modern day stonemasons work, because of their training with an emphasis on accuracy and precision at all times, was often too precise and regular in appearance so didn't fit in well with the medieval work. The medieval workers were accurate when it was needed for structural things but when carving decoration they worked more freely.
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