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Everything posted by Jluthier

  1. Thanks, Ken, I will checkout Addie's post. This violin is from a left over mold I made years ago, probably from a drawing in Wake's book. I will take your tip and work on the pegbox cheeks a bit.
  2. Greetings all: One of the experts in the Pegbox forum suggested that I as a newbie should post pics of my work as I go along. This is my first violin after a hiatus of 25 years; I had made 7 violins long ago, most of them fractional size instruments as my children were growing up. So, I am learning again, now with the benefit of MN, of which I try to research old threads at every step. This posting is a little late in my work on a violin, as you will see. I am about at the point of carving the button. I will incorporate any suggestions you have, either on this violin or on my next one if it is too late for this one. The pics are from my cell phone, cropped and degraded so as to not use too much memory. For my own assessment: 1) I don't like the general outline; the c bouts are too rounded and the upper to lower ration feels off. So, I will be creating a new mold for the next one. Do you have suggestions for a mold pattern? 2. The front purfling is bad, especially at the points. I did better on the back, using Roger Hargrave's method of gluing them in. There are still tiny irregularities in the black lines; not sure how to avoid that; the purfling I used was commercial, wood, not fiber. I really tried to keep the walls smooth and perpendicular when cutting the channel. I wonder of I should glue-size the channel before final fitting. Any suggestions? 3. My alignment pin holes are a bit too large. I look forward to criticisms from the expert eyes of MN...thanks in advance! --Jay Higgs
  3. I'm sold, Don. I will do that on my next back. Thanks, --J
  4. Baroquecello: I read what I could, and you are correct that the online information does not go into any detail. It is intriguing that the plate dimensions of the Cremonese are somewhat irregular and unpredictable. I am confused about how the magnets are placed on the intact instrument; you need two to adhere, so is there one on the top and one on the bottom? I will probably never get to the Netherlands to witness the process. --J
  5. Thanks jezzupe: I will find some pics to post in the makers' gallery. I haven't been taking pics to the standards set up by MN, but I will give it a try. Pease expand on your "Englemann" concerns. --J
  6. Good question, and I can only speculate; probably different from spruce vs maple, the former becoming softer and maybe swelling more. At least one of the internet mentors advises brushing on a thin layer of glue over a planed surface, letting it dry, planing it again lightly, then doing the rub joint, perhaps to counter any of the above effects. I wonder if any of you do that?
  7. Yes Michael! I want to learn from the pros, especially their "trial and error testing of ideas." Don's 9/16/21 quote is on target with my original request for any practical lessons learned by MN members. Don's post in this thread is also right on target with the original question. And yes, I am also listening to those of you who regard tuning as a waste of time; I assume you mean tap tones and other surrogate markers of tone, but maybe you don't even test your instrument tone in the white at all...maybe you could clarify that for me. Thanks for your thoughts...
  8. Carman007: I went through your pain and can offer the following (with apologies from the newbies to Bodacious Cowboy, who I assume has dropped out of this thread). 1. Pay close attention to the advice in the other posts and the old threads on this topic, especially the advice to check out Paul Sellers' videos on plane truing, sharpening, and use. 2. The light test is probably the best, but beware only one linear portion of your joint needs to be perfect to cut out all the light. If the rest has gaps, then you will find them when you carve out your plates. Hence the need to make sure everything is square. 3. It took me too long to realize the value of learning to sharpen blades properly. I can't stress too much the need for a good set-up of the plane before trying to make a nice joint. Hearing that nice "shhhhhh" of the plane as it cuts a paper thin shaving with minimal effort is worth all the fuss. I am a bit extreme, but I start at 400 and sharpen up to 3000 grit, then use a leather strop on all the blades I use on a violin. I only push the plane forward, never drag it backward over the wood as I understand this can dull the blade. The pic attached is my peg shaving blade, just sharpened yesterday to a mirror finish; took about 20 minutes as I had not used it in a long time. 4. You can't clamp your way out of a poor joint. If you do succeed in clamping enough to bend the wood together, you may have squeezed out the glue so much that the joint will fail at some future inopportune moment. (And yes, I did that.) Davide Sora has a nice video on YouTube on using gentle clamping over a rub joint, which is what I do. Some just do a rub joint with no clamping, allowing the hide glue to do its magic with a very well planed joint. 5. The spruce top is easier for me to joint than the back. I would do that one first. 6. Don't plane a nice joint one day and try to glue it on another day. The humidity and temp changes may render yesterday's great joint a poor one today. 7. I thought I needed to create the perfect joint with using single full length passes of the plane. For me, that is not true. Once I am close to perfection and am cutting very thin shavings, I use the light test to selectively plane the high spots. Good luck!
  9. Thanks everyone, for your replies so far. I do benefit greatly from the power of MN. Thanks especially to Don for contributing to the "what went wrong and how did you make it right" discussion. Physicians hold morbidity and mortality rounds and pilots have a no-risk self-reporting error system to make their professions safer for everyone. I suspect the communal knowledge of MN on this is huge. Here are some specific answers to your questions: 1. Jacob, bkwood, and string cheese. : I do agree that as some point one has to move on from the extant poor violin and make another, I was not ready to do that with my first one sounding the way it did. Having taken it apart and improved it at least to the point I enjoy playing it made me a fan of playing new violins in the white and making modifications by trial and error rather than going by my "how to" books and not even putting on pegs until the varnishing was done. I agree with you that all of the surrogate markers of tone quality such as tap tones (though of much interest and research) fail so far to predict the performance of an intact violin. 2. Baroquecello: That is a fascinating process of which I would like to learn more. I wonder if they have mapped out the process so that the would say "if it sounds like this, do that." I also wonder if they have published their process, or just do it locally and don't talk about it much. 3. jezzupe: Yes, my first violin was made in 1989, which I started totally on my own during fellowship training in Ann Arbor MI, probably a stone's throw away from David Burgess. In stark contrast to David, mine was really a crappy violin with a lot of mistakes, but I still enjoy playing it. After that, I made 7 more, mostly fractional sized instruments as my children were growing up. I played all those violins in the white and worked the plates/set up until I was happy with the tone before applying the finish. I failed to keep good records or come up with any pattern to my tone adjustments, so it remained a trial and error process. I just retired from my life as an academic rheumatologist, allowing me to now get back in the game after a many years gap. I am completing a violin now and yes, I have benefitted from reading MN every step of the way. I did post one pic of a plate on a prior thread, and David Burgess provided helpful comments on my upper/lower bout proportions, which will make my next one better. I will post a pic of the completed violin when I am happy with the tone :-) And yes, I will value any criticism it generates. Thanks for your post!
  10. I am an autodidact luthier interested in your observations on tone modification of a completed violin. I just spent a few hours searching old MN threads on tone and did learn a LOT from your prior threads, but I don't see that this particular question has been asked. (If I missed it in my searches, just point me in the right direction.) For those of you who completed a new violin, did your best to adjust the set up, and still were so disappointed in the tone that you took it apart and did something that improved the tone: 1) what was the problem that prompted you to take it apart? 2) what did you discover was the fix? and 3) did you do this in the white or varnished? For my own story, on my first violin ("the 1989 Higgs") I thought I had tap-toned my way to perfection, but when I strung it up it had the worst nasal hollow sound I ever heard. No adjustment in the bridge or the sound post could right the wrong. My wife, trying to make me feel better, declared it a very nice violin for hanging on the wall but maybe not for playing. In desperation, I took it apart and glued additional wood under the treble F hole plate. I got lucky and I still enjoy playing that violin. Someday after I am gone someone may look inside it and say, "what the....." I suspect that some of you might have a more sophisticated story to share. Having some idea of what adjustments on the interior were needed to fix what problems might be a useful database.
  11. 40 inches, or 102 cm
  12. Rusticgirl: the projector I bought was Vivimage explore 2 mini projector; about $140. We use it with an old Macbook. There is a learning curve to set it up, but I installed it and calibrated it over about 4 hours of time. The facebook group "projectors for sewing" is invaluable for getting started. And yes, my wife uses it almost daily and will never go back to paper patterns. Almost all sewing pattern makers now are converting their online files to be projector friendly. Good luck getting started!
  13. I had no idea of the variables that go into E strings. This discussion has a wealth of information. I took notes from it for my future reference. Thanks everyone!
  14. I couldn't resist reading this whole thread, especially when I saw 138 replies in just three days! Sadly, I am left just imaging what the OP's workmanship is like since the pics were removed. Nonetheless, I appreciate all your perspectives on violin training options and skill development.
  15. The OP provided photos of his work as requested. I would love to hear feedback from the experts on at least what you can see from the pics. To my amateur eye it looks pretty good, especially since the OP is working with minimal tools. Is that finish intentionally antiqued? It is a nice color.
  16. David: I don't think you need to change. In your videos, your tools are so sharp that it looks like you are cutting butter rather than wood.
  17. My limited experience with my own purfling joints is that I can always detect them on close inspection. I found Roger Hargrave's method so easy that I will use that from now on and avoid joints except in the corners. See the thread:
  18. I had to clear my driveway of snow.... in San Antonio. No snow blower, not even a teflon coated snow shovel..just an old rusted dirt shovel. Never planned on that.
  19. Good question, GerardM. There is an interesting theoretical paper on this question, see post "Paper: A Data-Driven Approach to Violin Making"
  20. Just a couple of thoughts from one who has had similar failures in the past: 1) The Bjorn site looks like they are open to questions about their product, so I would call them. If you do, let us know what they say. 2) Are you heating your glue in a glue pot up to the desired temp? I understand you should avoid overheating. 3) If you do use clamps, make sure you balance the pressure (see previous threads) and don't clamp TOO tight.
  21. Thank you, Sebastian for sharing your work with us. Televet: I think the reason there are so few responses is that the paper is highly technical. I have read it and confess I can get the general idea but I can't understand all of the methods. If I have the overall picture, the authors have used an artificial intelligence learning program to analyze and predict the vibration of the top of violins, sans bass bar, with respect to material characteristics, shape and thickness. They conclude that you can't reproduce a master instrument's sound with simple geometric copying because the wood may be different. They have not yet addressed arching variables or the inclusion of a bass bar. They hope to be able to use this method to direct design based on material characteristics. For me, mystery of violin sound quality remains; what if any are the most useful surrogate markers for competed instrument sound quality that a luthier can use along the way?
  22. One thing I admire about the Cremona luthiers is how they continued their craft to such an advanced age, and I admire all of you can who complete an instrument without ever plugging anything in. My own hands are slowly suffering from years of overuse here and there, so I will admit to employing power tools when it comes time for rough removal of wood. The oscillating multi-tool has promise for being a good rasp-like device, but I have found that the commercial velcro sanding pads disintegrate after only a short while, and, even if they stood up to rasping, would be useful for only the roughest of work. My solutions are pictured here. The larger sanding pads are modified by first epoxy gluing on a sheet of aluminum over the velcro surface, then using the spray contact cement to reversibly attach sanding paper to the aluminum sheet. For finer rasp work, such as the throat of the rough scroll I just cut out, I used an old saw blade that I bent into a curve and then directly wrapped #80 sandpaper around it with contact cement. Both of these configurations have held up well. I still sacrifice my hand joints for hand purfling, chiseling, scraping, etc.
  23. Thanks for the detailed explanation. It is fascinating to try and recreate what has been lost to history. --J
  24. That is a GREAT video, David! I love how you use the biologic analogies to explain the evolution of the violin. I understand what you mean about the pin use as well. I guess I already use the Cremona methods as an autodidact, but I trace my pattern from the ribs while they are still in the mold. Is there evidence that the early makers traced as you demonstrate in the video? Thanks so much for doing the research and sharing that with us. I look forward to more of your videos, and I am now a "subscriber" to your youtube channel.
  25. Very interesting,David. I looks to me like Strad used an inside mold, which is what many (most?) of us also do. I use the rib assembly still inside the mold to establish the outline of the top plate, then similarly for the back. I am trying to envision what it means to twist the sides and neck assembly around the pins to get a good alignment. I wonder if you would mind expanding on that, or if there is a description in print, point me in the right direction. Regards, Jay
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