Dendrochronology test was done


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I want to thank all of you who posted responses to my inquiries about my cello. Many of you said Mittenwald late 18th century Klotz school, congratulations you are probably right . Peter Radcliff of Radcliffiddles did a Dendrochronolgy test and the results are as follows:

1. " The treble side on the most promising picture I have a strong date of the latest ring at 1785, which is a bit later than I thought, but sometimes, the condition makes an instrument look older than it is. So realistically, your cello, considering the narrow growth near the centre joint, will have lost several growth rings in the preparation/planing for gluing, how many is simply impossible to say. But between the latest ring measured and the bark, you have to assume that there probably are a minimum of 10/15 years, which inevitably leads to the conclusion that you cello was not made before about 1795/1800. That at least rules out some of the Klotz's, and narrows down your research a bit.

2. " I just got a date for the bass side, 1787 is the date of the last ring I measured on it, there may be a couple of more rings unmeasured. The growth pattern is very different to the treble side as you can see. The treble is likely to have come from a tree growing at higher altitude than the bass, hence the wider rings on the bass side. Both wood patterns, though not matching each other well at all, are both matching Mittenwald instruments. The bass less so, matching also English instruments. This is not unusual, as the wood from late 18th and 19th centuries English instruments often matches Mittenwald wood, but often with wider ring "

This is extremely interesting information that narrows the research. It isn't a Mathius Klotz or from the hand of his son Sebastian. It could be a Joseph Klotz cello son of Sebastian.( 1743-1819) Ken Su's opinion again, is that its not a shop instrument. We'll probably never know for sure. Either way Klotz cellos are rare to begin with. Its very difficult to find one to compare mine to. Many thanks to Peter once again for all his time and for the most valuable information so far

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Hate to pose a silly-sounding question, but doesn't dendrochronology serve only to post an earliest possible date, not a latest date?

For instance, if I somehow bought a spruce beam from an early American barn, built just after the Revolutionary war, of fresh lumber at that time it was built, and subsequently I built a violin of it, a dendrochronological examination would only prove that the latest ring was 1780, or whatever, not the age of the instrument, by any means.

I have wood in my possession that was cut more than thirty years ago; but when make a fiddle of it, the fiddle will be brand new.

So...how does Den-chron nail down anything but the date a tree grew? I can see how it could disprove an earlier date, but not even a probable latest date for building.

Maybe there is something I am missing, here.

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You're right about the limitations on what dendro. tells us. I think Cheleno and Mr. Radliff are just saying some possibilities have been eliminated as the wood is not old enough to have been made by some members of the family. Otherwise the dendro has just left open a door as to the age of the instrument--I don't think anyone means to imply anything is proved, only that the previous ideas about Kloz influence are not ruled out by it.

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Hate to pose a silly-sounding question, but doesn't dendrochronology serve only to post an earliest possible date, not a latest date?

For instance, if I somehow bought a spruce beam from an early American barn, built just after the Revolutionary war, of fresh lumber at that time it was built, and subsequently I built a violin of it, a dendrochronological examination would only prove that the latest ring was 1780, or whatever, not the age of the instrument, by any means.

I have wood in my possession that was cut more than thirty years ago; but when make a fiddle of it, the fiddle will be brand new.

So...how does Den-chron nail down anything but the date a tree grew? I can see how it could disprove an earlier date, but not even a probable latest date for building.

Maybe there is something I am missing, here.

When successful, dendrochronology will nail down the latest ring date. Which of course means the intrument was made X years later. Deciding how many, is outside the realm of dendrochronology.

However, there are patterns which emerge following hundreds of analysis of instrument from one town or region, and this cello "fits" perfectly in the "dendro" category compiled from instruments data from Mittenwald, though this category is not exclusive, as it matches a number of other instruments made in different places.

There is a lot more to results from dendro analysis than a date when wood from an instrument is compared to a large database of other instruments. This sort of comparison highlights the similarities of wood used within one town, a country or internationally. An analysis of the results can suggest links, backed up with highly correlating matching data. Though I agree it is no PROOF, as in theory, a maker may have got hold of some wood from the same tree as another maker in a different country. It doesn't mean that the relationship extends further than the wood. However, again it is from the observed trends and usual results that suggestions are made.

In any case, the cello in question, stylistically, to my eye, belongs to that Mittenwald (irrespective of dendro results) area and era, and I can't see that instrument being made much after 1820 (NOT a dendro assumption).

I also happen to think that it it quite useful to know that an instrument can't have been made before a certain date, don't you??

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When succesfull, dendrchronology will nail down the latest ring date. Which of course means the intrument was made X years later. Deciding how many, is outside the realm of dendrochronology. However, there are patterns which emerge following hundreds of analysis of instrument from one town or region, and this cello "fits" perfectly in the "dendro" category formed by instruments data from Mittenwald, though this category is not exclusive, as it matches a number of other instruments made in different places.

There is a lot more in results from dendro analysis than a date when wood from an instrument is compared to a large database of other instruments. This sort of comparison highlights the similarities of wood used within one town, a country or internationally. An analysis of the results can suggest links, backed up with highly correlating matching data. Though I agree it is no PROOF, as in theory, a maker may have got hold of some wood from the same tree as another maker in a different country. It doesn't mean that the relationship extends further than the wood. However, again it is from the observed trends and usual results that suggestions are made.

In any case, the cello in question, stylistically, to my eye, belongs to that Mittenwald(irrespective of dendro results) area and era, and I can't see that instrument being made after 1820 (NOT a dendro assumption).

I also happen to think that it it quite useful to know that an instrument can't have been made before a certain date, don't you??

Absolutely...and I did not intend to imply otherwise. I'm glad to see I at least had the tree-ring part correct, and that the other limitations were in my own understanding, not yours. I wouldn't know a Klotz from a klutz, and I make no pretense to the contrary.

It completely makes sense, the way you explain it, and I cheerfully accept your premise that, in a given case, if everyone from a certain period and location seem to have been using wood from the same four trees (or whatever) and you find an instrument from one of those four trees, there is a better than average chance someone from that period and locale made the instument; especially if, stylistically, it seems also likely they did.

Thanks for the explanation.

Sincerely,

Chet

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Absolutely...and I did not intend to imply otherwise. I'm glad to see I at least had the tree-ring part correct, and that the other limitations were in my own understanding, not yours. I wouldn't know a Klotz from a klutz, and I make no pretense to the contrary.

It completely makes sense, the way you explain it, and I cheerfully accept your premise that, in a given case, if everyone from a certain period and location seem to have been using wood from the same four trees (or whatever) and you find an instrument from one of those four trees, there is a better than average chance someone from that period and locale made the instument; especially if, stylistically, it seems also likely they did.

Thanks for the explanation.

Sincerely,

Chet

Chet, I am a friend of a violin maker here in California. Scott has factories in China that supply the U S with instruments of varying quality. Once a year in March he travels to Europe for wood to supply his business. His better instruments are made of wood thats been aged at least 5 years. I commissioned a cello from him once. I wanted the back to be made of poplar. It seems I waited for ever before that piece was ready for construction. What I'm getting at is this. How abundant was cured wood available for instrument making in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those guys were also running a business and I bet they went through alot of spruce relatively quickly. It makes more sense that once the tree was cut, the belly wood was carved 5-10 years later. Now I am basing this assumption strickly on the knowledge I got while dealing with Scott. I worked in his shop for over 2 years. I may be way off base in this opinion. Thats whats great about this forum. Someone will probably shed light on this opinion today. How practical was it to have wood lying around for decades before it was carved, what are the odds. In reality isnt that what plays into all this. You consider the odds and the testing of wood, as so eloquently was done by Peter Ratcliff and you make an educated assumption.

Chet in regard to my cello the instrument in question. It has been through the ringer. It is in the process of restoration. My main concern is the one piece bottom rib. I don't want to replace it but rather have it repaired. Writing inside the instrument was translated. The cello was repaired in Moscow 1937 by a guy named Sergi Buyevski. The neck was been re grafted as many 18th century instruments have. The peg holes have been re bored and it exhibits the wear and tear of two centuries. Roland Feller of San Francisco told me " Instrument in its time was a good instrument." Its not a fake antique. You input all this information into the equation coupled with Peter Radcliff's analysis and you come up with a conclusion. Many great instruments have gone through a dendrochronolgy analysis as part of the authentication process. Its just a tool, one of many used to place a name and date on instruments. I like the sound of Joseph Klotz 1795 for my cello. It has a nice "ring" to it.

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No problem-- I only had a question about the limitations of Dendrochronology. As a tool it is pretty powerful, but I was curious about the appernt limitations. Turns out I was correct, but that as a supplemental tool, used with the memories, and opinions of bona fide experts, it is quite powerful indeed. Thanks.

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