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BarryD

Are toolmarks acceptable?

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I know gunstock makers back then, lacking as the violinmakers did the sandpaper that gunstock makers of today use, would burnish the wood with a piece of polished bone or horn. Do you suppose violinmakers could have done some of this to obtain smoothness, rather than wearing away the unsmooth parts?

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dogfish skin, which of course is sharkskin, and some type of reed, were available, according to Sacconi.

These substances are said to use a cutting action, as oppose to sandpaper which is a microscopic tear and shredding operation.

Ct your OK. even if you do use sandpaer. I use it too, on the edges, and I have used it on the scroll. If I use it on the scroll I would LIKE it to be by intent, and not by desperation. Each time I learn a way of not using it, as on leveling and reducing the garland, where I now use a plane, I consider it a success story.

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A bit off topic, but I have a medium-nice Lamy that has file marks on the head. Maybe his client was in a hurry, or he had pressing debts of some sort. Anyway, it was sold to me by a maker/dealer who pointed that out with some pleasure, although I notice that his own bows don't have that feature.

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re:sanding. I use a worn piece of 1500 micromesh for slightly softening tool marks and sharp edges. It's soft and so forms well. I like Michael's idea of pumice and will try that also. It would fill the pores as well.

Sometimes I burnish down sharp edges with a hard smooth piece of wood---for example around the f-holes.

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When this kind of thing is called for, I use a polished stainless steel teaspoon. Nice shape, handle, and the edge is really handy for getting into tight places. As long as I'm mentioning dual-purpose tools (usually I use the spoon as a spoon), I also have a normal triangular file that I ground the tip to a chisel edge, with one pointed corner for the tip, for chipping glue out of underedges, skinning off varnish on inside corners (it's got two cutting edges, on either side of the point), etc., and a regular mill file that's ground to a chisel edge at the end for things where I need to file and chisel at the same time.

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After having read all the responses, I think the goal should be to develop my craftsmanship and try to eliminate all the tool marks just like a sculptor would on a piece of marble. As to how to remove them, I will find a method that works well for me, but I am a bit confused by those of you that will use dremel tools to cut purfling groove but won't use sandpaper! I'm not saying that either is bad, just that you can have it both ways. I think if Stradivari or Guarnari were alive today they would probably use what ever tools helped them craft the finest "handmade" instruments possible including dremel's and sandpaper where appropriate.

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Michael, my comment was not directed to you, it just so happens that yours was the last response and I hit the reply button. The comment is meant for everone. I'm curious as to what kind if response it will produce.

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The difference is that a well-done dremeled purfling groove won't look different than the hand-cut purfling groove, but a sanded wood surface definitely looks different than a scraped surface.

Try it. Take a scrap of nicely figured maple and sand half of the surface, and run a sharp scraper over the other half. Compare the look. The scraped side will look much nicer.

I'll probably be more willing to use some sandpaper on my second violin. On the first one I used some on the scroll, edges, and neck but nowhere else on the body. This next time I'll probably be more willing to use some on the body if need be, but then follow that up with a light scraping to give it the scraped appearance over the sanded appearance.

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You're right Seth, a sharp scraper gives the wood an alive look opposed to the dead look from sand paper. That's why I said "where appropriate" on the use of sand paper. I working on violin #1 and did just what you said, sanded the back and soundboard just a little then went over it again with a scraper to get the "look". It was when I got to the scroll that I wondered about "toolmarks" knowing that sand paper is a "no-no" Every edge tool leaves some trace and due to the changing Radi and slope on the scroll if you turn the scroll in the light just right you can see some kinda mark or maybe just some small lumps that used to be toolmarks.

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a sanded spruce surface shows the hard winter growth standing up like a line ridge of young mountains

the ridgeline of scraped spruce shows soft pillow of summer growth running in domed ridges.

they are the inversions of each other, and look very different.

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