Andrew tkinson

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About 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. Thanks for the comment Mike. I will also try to make the upper part of my lion head a bit smaller in addition to the good suggestions you have made. I have got started on the real necks for my two built on the back violins. I made some drawings to work out the angles of the rib slots in the neck block and the width of the 'foot ' on the integral neck block etc. I am trying to make the neck angles similar to modern necks using my Johnson Courtnal book. I aim to use "historically informed" methods but would like to make a couple of violins that most players would find ok? I found some sycamore from my small store of churchyard wood and cut it to two lengths required for necks with integral top block Here they are after some more sawing and planing One of my self inflicted "historical" difficulties is to use single iron (no back iron/chipbreaker) wooden planes. For finishing these necks off I resurrected a plane I made a few years ago but had not used much. It was not working well, the blade was chattering making it difficult to use and causing a very poor finish so after some head scratching I took some wood off the upper parts of the wedge to direct the wedge pressure more evenly and better nearer the cutting edge of the blade/iron which made it work well. I decided that having made the plane about 15 years ago it was about time I pinned the tenon of the front handle to fix it permanently on the plane. Here is the handle before drilling and drawbore pinning Here I am using a brace and shell bit to drill the plane. The same drill was used to drill a hole on the handle, positioned so as to make the wooden pin tend to pull the tenon into the mortice. Here I am shaping a small cleft piece of beech to make the pin Here is a view of the 'drawbore pin' being tested for fit before assembly I then hammered the pin firmly home, I didn't bother gluing it. The pin passes through the tenon on the handle and into a blind hole in the plane on the other side of the mortice. The positions of the holes must have been ok as the pin pulled the handle nice and tightly onto the plane The pin is then trimmed off with a chisel. Here are my two homemade planes reclining in their roughly made splendour! The smaller one was made first and has been used a lot. They are based upon a plane which was left in 1597 on Novaya Zemlya by an expedition to find a Northeast passage, led by Willem Barentsz I then took my very badly made homemade stamps and stamped my newly finished plane with my customary mark. I have been planning for about 18 years to make a better stamp but it is a bit beyond my skills and I think this uneven stamp has a certain character? I hope it is ok for me on a violinmaking forum to make these tool digressions? Anyway back to my violin necks, here they are after making out with my cardboard template from the Johnson and Courtnall book but slightly adapted with an integral neck block and 'slipper' foot for the trhough neck construction By the way, it is probably obvious from my ramshackle approach, but I am to a great extent making things up as I go as I can't find much information on this type of construction so if anyone reads this and has some ideas I would welcome any comments and suggestions? I then drilled the peg holes with a small shell bit, drilling just over half way from both sides to in the hope of keeping the holes nearer to the right positions in the pegbox walls. These drills having no centre point need a bit of coaxing when starting to keep the mark in the centre of the hole. I am hoping that any inaccuracies of position may be ironed out when I ream the holes to fit the pegs. Here the centre mark can be seen temporarily preserved as the drill starts cutting around it. I really like these shell bits they are easy to sharpen on a stone, I like their simplicity. Here is a view showing the neck block during drilling, held using pegs and wedges on my small experimental bench top and the small wooden square to help me keep my drill perpendicular to the face of the wood. To help me judge when I had drilled half way through I put a pencil mark on the drill bit and drilled up to this line Here both peg heads have been drilled. One of the scrolls will be transformed into a Lion type head at some stage, hopefully I can keep the doghead influence I seem to suffer from 'at bay'? Hand Drill! Here is a view of a shell bit just in case anyone may not have seen them. Rather foolishly, but quite characteristically I managed to run the drill but lightly into my finger as I was holding a neck using the brace and bit to clear out the waste, the small crescent shaped cut can be clearly seen nicely illustrating the gouge like shape of these drills! Straying from historical practices, as I did not have a comfrey poultice near to hand, after taking this picture I went directly to seek my tube of antiseptic ointment!
  2. Joeph Pujol better known as "Le Petomane" was, it seems, blessed with a natural gift which allowed him become a professionalétomane Apologies for straying from the original topic
  3. I am always awestruck when I see such beautiful and precise work as this and realise that although I will never be able to do work this good I need to get off the computer and into my workshop as soon as I've typed this! (I will probably cut my finger again, within the hour?)
  4. Next on my practice lion head I started to excavate the pegbox to see if I would be able to get access to the A string peg underneath my animal head and to see how it looked. I wrapped the head up to help avoid marking it when pushing against a piece of wood during gouging I cleaned up and deepened the cavity to approach what I thought looked a reasonable depth and here I have poked a small gouge throught the uppermost peg hole to see if i could get a string under the chin of the beast and I think it should be ok. I can imagine the tongue would easily be caught on something and be broken in use. I thought I may as well roughly flute the rear of the pegbox, again to see how the transition from mane to flutes looked and it seemed acceptable to me, maybe it could be extended up a little more to blend more gradually with the hair and on a real neck I will work a little less roughly Here are my two practice carvings side by side. I decided to fit the limewood trial tongue into the first head and it seems to set him off nicely! I have learned a lot from making these, my carving has improved a bit from the experience. I have also learned, once again, how, when involved in making something I sort of am on the 'inside' and get wrapped up in the little project and in that position it is easy for me to be happy with things which are not really what I set out to do. When you have spent time and effort on making something it is easy to become immune to the faults and resist stepping back to cast an 'outsiders' critical eye on project. Often a little while away from something can refresh things and looking at my practice heads I can see apart from improving the carving and lion-ness I need to reduce the size of the head, especially the breadth up the upper part to make it look better on the top of the pegbox also the fluting and transition of mane to pegbox could be made smoother etc etc. However, I am still pleased with the limewood and, especially, the Logwood tongues!
  5. Hello Mike, I made that saw about 18 years ago. I am almost certain I drilled the holes with a brace and bit in the saw first and then whittled the blade holding pins from lilac wood so they were a stiff fit in the holes. The tight fit helps stop the blade slipping and possibly the slighty out of line hand drilled holes may help in some way. May be a bit of violin rosin might help things? I have always liked the idea of carving heads and I like the idea of usermade decorated tools. I carved the female head on one side and still haven't got around to carving the male head on the other side. Now I am getting practice at carving heads I should do the male head and finish my saw - hopefully I can do it so it looks mostly human not too doggish!
  6. Hello. I like to try to experiment with 'historically informed' techniques so I was trying to make and use a glue that would have been available when Cornetts were made in the past. I am not giving up but I have put my glue and cornett experiments aside for now and am going to concentrate on getting my two violins made. Thanks for your comments though, any advice is appreciated.
  7. Hello, I am really grateful for your and welcome your comments. I have to admit I was not going for a realistic lion but was using this photograph, from a book I have, of a really nice old lionhead on a violin in the Fussen museum as my 'inspiration'. However a strange alchemy has come into play which has resulted in my dog lion. This alchemy has many magical unknown ingredients but the main ones I can name are - my limitations as a carver compounded with the totally stupid fact I stopped referring to the photo in the book as it was covered with my tools (my bench is ridiculously untidy and cluttered!) and so when working I relied on my corrupted drawings, tracings, my plasticine models and my first practice (very dog like) carving and finally I seem to have involuntarily devised my own lion creature? Now I have dug my book out and looked carefully at the picture I can see my lion has mutated quite a lot from my source lion, Luckily I have only been making practice pieces so far which have taught me a lot and hopefully I will profit from this when I start work soon on an actual neck and I will definitely keep my book open, after burrowing a hole for it on my bench top. The carving is becoming a bit easier but I need to avoid my tendency to be pleased with things that are ok but not quite there, when the work gets difficult and eyes and brain get tired. I remember years ago I carved some decoy ducks which I thought were good and to me, and to most people, looked like ducks. I took them to a wildfowl sanctuary near where I live, to try to get them accepted in their shop and proudly showed them to the manager - an expert! He looked at them and told me "they are nearly there, but this, it's got a pochards head and a mallards body, they need a bit more work and to be accurate if we are going to put them in our shop" I went home disappointed and I didn't pursue my duck carving further as it was a bit too difficult for my younger self. Anyway I have been working a bit more on my second practice Lion and it is just about finished, here are some more pictures. Here I am trying to see a how a gouge can be used to work on the mane Followed by a flat chisel to add depth to the tresses I then used a small v gouge to refine the mane Here the mane is done to my satifaction. I notice now, from this photo, that the ear is a bit poor but my keeness to finish and work on the next bit, meant I was a bit too easily pleased! However at least there is too much material there and they can still be refined? I kept the ears basic and sturdy so they will be less like likely to be broken off Next day (Today) I started on the mouth using a brace and old shell bit to drill out material I used a very narrow gouge and chisel to cut away wood and form two teeth and I was eating some cashew nuts and was thinking about the tongue I was planning to instal, he also looked hungry so I gave hime the last one! When opening up the mouth I drilled the middle hole deeper to fix the tongue in place, here it can be seen along with the teeth, I don't know how I managed to drill it so off centre, but never mind it gives him character? He looks like a hippo from this angle! I made a trial tongue out of easily whittled lime wood, here it is being put into position Lime wood tongue in place I looked through my wood 'collection' for small piece of suitably tonguish wood and most pleased to find a suitably small piece of logwood shown here with the trial tongue. I really like logwood because of its name! I had some difficulty holding the small limewood tongue when working on it so when making my logwood tongue I slpit off a small section of wood from the small block and kept the tongue attached to the whole even smaller section of wood, so I had something to hold onto when carving it. I still managed to cut my thumb slightly at some point. Here is the attached tongue nearly finished Here I am separating the logwood tongue from its small block. The logwood was starting to dye my fingers a bluey purple. I have to say I do believe logwood is a very good choice for a tongue! Adding whisker holes, with a pointed scriber and pencil, to add a bit of walrus into the dog lion hippo mix? Woof roar etc! He does look pleased with his new logwood tongue! I gave him a quick coat of shellac to see how he would look, luckily, as I had hoped, the dirt from my hands doesn't show up too much but I will have to keep my hands cleaner or use a coloured varnish when doing the real neck? For the sake of competeness I gave the little tongue a coat and it seemed to make the logwood come up nice and red, perhaps the alcohol was reacting to the dyewood? I hope it stays red I have learned a lot from making my two practice heads but know I need to guard against being too easily satisfied but overall I have really enjoyed making them and most importantly I know the best wood for making the tongue - Logwood!
  8. Hello Rue, thanks for your praise he may look a bit doggy but I like him, luckily he is a practice piece and I can make improvements when I eventually get to working on an actual neck and head.
  9. After making my practice Lion/dog head in Lime I thought I would try one in Sycamore. I drew around my cardboard scroll template and made a reduced size lion head drawing to fit and hopefully work within these 'normal' dimensions. I then drew the scroll on my piece of sycamore I made a tracing of my drawing and copied it onto the wood I decided to make a whole pegbox to see how it would work and hopefully iron out any problems before starting on the real neck. I traced and cut out a paper pattern and used it to draw the profile on both sides I then drilled the pegholes using a brace and shell bit. I drilled just over halfway through from each side to help keep the hole location correct. The thinking being that if the drill wasn't quite vertical the deviation have its worst effects in the wood at the centre of the pegbox which doesn't matter as it will be chiselled away The pegholes, base of lions chin and back of mouth drilled I then made sawcuts on the pegbox sides to help when chiseling away the waste material I then started on the lion head, first sawing a bit of waste from its mouth neck, luckily I remembered wood had to be left for the teeth so I stopped before I reached the drilled hole on the mouth Here the partly modelled scroll can be seen along with drawings, the limewood head and various tools sitting on top of my small experimental Hans kipferle style historical bench top Here I have partly carved the eyes, I find this part very difficult but seem to be improving my method which previously was practically all guesswork. I find it hard to know how much material to remove while still leaving enough to model the eyes and lids The eyes went quite well, I have blackened the pupils with pencil. The face is still quite square but is coming along Side view, hopefully I have left enough wood for a mane to counteract the doggy appearance?
  10. I've always wanted to know a bit more about the guidonian hand mainly because of images like this I also have big hands but not quite as big as this persons!
  11. It seems to me that tablature makes good sense for fretted intstruments and lute players seem to use it most of the time. Saying that tablature was/is? used for the organ I play the guitar and violin but am not the greatest reader of 'standard' notation and over the years I have blundered along and have developed my ear a lot. I have been to folky violin lessons in a group situation and we learned by ear but the teacher usually supplied 'the dots' for people who were less confident about learning by ear. I have had the 'abc notation' explained to me for violin at least twice but have forgotten quickly each time as I didn't make use of it. I find that if I learn a tune from music or tablature I find it hard to play without the music and have to sort of 'relearn' it to play it without. Everyone is different and understands and learns in different ways and every approach has its strengths and weaknesses.
  12. Hello Mike, thanks for sending the pictures of your Lion Head pipe. He looks a lot more lionish than my carving, I will try to make the mane bigger on my next practice piece so my pitbull violin head looks as if he is wearing a Lion style wig - a bit like a dog that identifies as a lion? I also need to try to work on refining my carving quite a bit. Wood carvings and Medieval style Lockdown beards I really like the way hair was rendered in old carvings. One of my favorite medieval woodcarvings is this one. See,_san_cristoforo_colosale_in_legno_da_Christoffelturm,_1344-46,_01.JPG I would love to go and see him. He is what remains ( I think there is also a foot surviving) of a giant wooden statue of St. Christopher who stood in a tower above a gateway into Berne. He was made in the 1490's and survived the Reformation but was taken down in 1865 when, the gate was removed during modernisations. He was cut up for firewood and distributed to the poor but thankfully his head (and foot) were preserved - no wonder he looks a bit resigned! I love the way his beard is done and his serene expression. During the lockdowns of last year a friend allowed his beard to grow longer than usual and I was interested to see that it was starting to get a wavy medieval look before it - like poor old St. Christopher - was given the chop and trimmed! This picture from shows where he stood and how big he was - nearly 10 metres. More information about his sad story can be found here
  13. Hello HoGo, thanks for the reference, I'll have a look at it. Unfortunately, while the cheese glue I have made seems to work well as adhesive it seems only slightly water proof so I need to try to remedy that if it is to hold the breath moistened wood wood of a cornett together . Thanks again.
  14. Meanwhile, back to my violins, I have been considering trying to make a Lion Head pegbox for one of them. I have a picture of a really nice Lion Head in a book which I attempted to draw and then from this make a plasticine model to try to get an idea of the thing. Here is the first attempt He looks a bit dog-like. My third attempt is still a bit like a dog/TopCat hybrid but I am learning from this. I made a tracing of the photo in the book which can be seen at the right I have never thought about this before but a tracing has the great advantage of being effectively two views for the price of one drawing, you just turn it over and effectively get a view from the other side which is really useful when struggling - I really struggle with this - to turn a flat drawing into something in the round. Here is my tracing of the picture from the book, a three quarter angle viewed from the right, next to my roughly shaped limewood practice piece Here the tracing has been turned over and gives another viewpoint, this time from the left. This is probably obvious but I was most pleased when I stumbled upon this 'discovery'! Then it was Christmas and time to decorate the cake. The cake is small but the little animals are precious to me as they are older than me - I think. They are part of our family and they must have their yearly outing on a cake! I then made up a side view drawing from my picture, and from others from the internet, then traced it to give left and right views and started to work on my woodblock a bit more Here I am using a brace and shell bit to open out the rear of the mouth Here I have modelled the face a bit more and am performing some more dentistry to open up the front of the mouth while leaving wood for two 'fangs' He still looks more like a dog but I think he has a nice smile. I have also given him some small whisker holes and a bit of an unwise makeover with a pencil, he seems pleased with it though! I didn't leave enough wood on my practice piece to make his mane properly but attempted to give him a bit of one He looks like a lion from some views and a pitbull from the front and his eyes are quite different but these quirks/mistakes can all be learned from. I decided to give him a coat of shellac which seemed to help reduce some of the roughness left by my imperfectly sharpened gouges He does look doglike from the front But a bit more lion like from the side He is a bit rough but overall I am quite pleased with him and I think he will serve me well as a model to work from.
  15. I am pleased that now this violin is not only carefully being made playable again but as a bonus is no longer a 'no-name' violin but may be a 'Jackson-Guldan' violin. I have an old anonymous violin with inked on purfling, very roughly cut f holes and a most beautiful slab grained back and was over the moon when some one who knew a lot more than me suggested that it looked like an old 'Button Whittaker' violin from about 1800. I had never heard of this name but I was quite tickled by the sound of it! My violin also sounds quite nice, especially in more expert hands than mine. I think it is really great that everyone is so generous with their knowledge, support and advice on this forum.