Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Violinmaking As It Is


David Tseng

Recommended Posts

From recent discussions here in The Pegbox, a picture emerges in my mind:

1. Select wood with high radiation ratio (Don Noon). I prefer lighter and stiffer spruce with more open grain. The finished top plate would weigh less than 65 grams.

2. "In arching the action is the recurve, it's the placement, the broadness of the central section, and the shape of the long arch." (MD) Use the scraper to refine the arch and you can commend the final tone you want.

I generally follow Hill's proposition: varnish, dimensions and construction, wood. Much as a good chef does who uses proper seasoning to bring out the final taste, a proper varnishingpost-37-1268258588.jpg "system" is to finesse the tone and esthetics.

I just completed a violin in a routine kind of work basically following the above strategy. It's ready to be shipped to Asia by air cargo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From recent discussions here in The Pegbox, a picture emerges in my mind:

1. Select wood with high radiation ratio (Don Noon). I prefer lighter and stiffer spruce with more open grain. The finished top plate would weigh less than 65 grams.

2. "In arching the action is the recurve, it's the placement, the broadness of the central section, and the shape of the long arch." (MD) Use the scraper to refine the arch and you can commend the final tone you want.

I generally follow Hill's proposition: varnish, dimensions and construction, wood. Much as a good chef does who uses proper seasoning to bring out the final taste, a proper varnishingpost-37-1268258588.jpg "system" is to finesse the tone and esthetics.

I just completed a violin in a routine kind of work basically following the above strategy. It's ready to be shipped to Asia by air cargo.

Very nice, David, Judging from the ff-holes, this is a GdG model. Tell us a little more about it. Thanks,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice, David, Judging from the ff-holes, this is a GdG model. Tell us a little more about it. Thanks,

As the title says: Violinmaking As It Is, because no one knows what it was. So I draw the model following golden section method and it would be, as Don Noon says, Generious del Guesswho. The arching and graduations are more Strad-like. The leveling coat on the wood surface is a mixture of home-made varnish, polyurethane gel, and 0.05 micron alumina. The outside coat is vernice liquida applied by hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the title says: Violinmaking As It Is, because no one knows what it was. So I draw the model following golden section method and it would be, as Don Noon says, Generious del Guesswho. The arching and graduations are more Strad-like. The leveling coat on the wood surface is a mixture of home-made varnish, polyurethane gel, and 0.05 micron alumina. The outside coat is vernice liquida applied by hand.

Thanks, David. I'll experiment some with that ground. Where do you get the alumina?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't mind me saying so, that fiddle looks a little pale to me.

Interesting title.

A few years back I started writing about my methods for my own musing,

the title was 'violin making as it is and will be....'

I doubt it'll ever get a look, and I change it's contents quite regularly.

I also keep another folder called 'other makers methods',

where I update and read through what they do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, David. I'll experiment some with that ground. Where do you get the alumina?

I guess aluminum oxide particles don't agglomerate like iron oxide and therefore easier to manufacture. A lens polisher friend gave me a quart and would last for a life time. When the powder is made into a paste and rubbed on the wood, I don't feel abrasiveness like tripoli. You can get alumina powders in various particle size from lens polishing or metallurgical lab suppliers. I use 0.25 micron powder to horn knives.

>>If you don't mind me saying so, that fiddle looks a little pale to me.>>

People who make copy from magazine pictures invariably paint their violins too dark. I used to do that also. As an amateur maker, I make an effort to see the old instruments as much as I could. I would go to the back stage after the concert to beg the musicians to let me see their old violins and with permission to draw a few notes. Many years ago when the Library of Congress was building the display room for their musical instrument collection, all the collection were stored in a basement room. I was lucky to be allowed to that room alone for about an hour. This kind of experience is very helpful to me as a maker. Not many makers have the chance to hold these violins in their hands: Kreisler del Gesu 1733 (stored in the Hill case with 2 Hill bows inside), Betts Strad (in a quart case with other Strads), A Vuillaume, and a Strad cello. I would say that the old wood looks quite pale to me and there is no such thing as "Cremona gold" color under tone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you know, it depends who takes the pictures, lighting, colour balance & temp, print quality, monitor calibration, etc.

For varnishing I always use a combo of tungsten and daylight bulbs, for a better idea of colour.

Also, in the photo above it's the wood that looks too pale, not the varnish.

That's just my take, and based on what I see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you know, it depends who takes the pictures, lighting, colour balance & temp, print quality, monitor calibration, etc.

For varnishing I always use a combo of tungsten and daylight bulbs, for a better idea of colour.

Also, in the photo above it's the wood that looks too pale, not the varnish.

That's just my take, and based on what I see.

Yes, you are right, the wood is pale because it's made here in winter. I never use dichromate. In summer, I would put the plate outside to sun-tan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a 7/8 violin I made in 2002 for playing certain music which requires quite a bit finger stretching. I couldn't do it with my small hands on regular 4/4 violin. The varnish is quite dark resulting from higher processing temperature of rosin and a small amount of iron acetate was added to react with rosin. The varnish was brushed on and shining as usual. I like the surface texture of printed-on vernice liquida. The violin is fitted with a set of home-made boxwood pegs. The small end of the peg stem is about 5.1mm. When the commercial boxwood pegs are shaved so small, you would feel the peg stem twisting when tuning the strings. I don't know what kind of boxwood they use.post-37-1268340301.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a 7/8 violin I made in 2002 for playing certain music which requires quite a bit finger stretching. I couldn't do it with my small hands on regular 4/4 violin. The varnish is quite dark resulting from higher processing temperature of rosin and a small amount of iron acetate was added to react with rosin. The varnish was brushed on and shining as usual. I like the surface texture of printed-on vernice liquida. The violin is fitted with a set of home-made boxwood pegs. The small end of the peg stem is about 5.1mm. When the commercial boxwood pegs are shaved so small, you would feel the peg stem twisting when tuning the strings. I don't know what kind of boxwood they use.post-37-1268340301.jpg

Hi David:

The concertmaster of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic (Michael Hanson) plays a 1920 Carl Becker violin. It is plain blond, no color at all added to the varnish that is apparent to me. Only one in the whole orchestra and it is, to my eyes, simply beautiful. Based upon it, I see no reason to add colors to my varnish. The market here accepts him for many solo performances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David:

The concertmaster of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic (Michael Hanson) plays a 1920 Carl Becker violin. It is plain blond, no color at all added to the varnish that is apparent to me. Only one in the whole orchestra and it is, to my eyes, simply beautiful. Based upon it, I see no reason to add colors to my varnish. The market here accepts him for many solo performances.

I drove one time from Border to Colorado Springs to attend a concert. Are the concert hall and the orchestra affected after the city council voted to reduce service?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I drove one time from Border to Colorado Springs to attend a concert. Are the concert hall and the orchestra affected after the city council voted to reduce service?

Not at all. Our real problem here is that our city employees are simply overpaid and that we can't seem to control city owned enterprises. City utilities department has spare water, yet to get the parks watered we have to pay them whatever they ask for water, despite the fact that we own both the utilities department and the water. Head of utilities department is the most powerful guy in city government, i.e. his department has the most revenue. Have a real issue as to who has the power in the city government. Fundamental flaw in how we govern ourselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am starting to build the next violin. It is intended for a professional player and its acceptance is based on tone. It would take about two months to complete. I don't work on violin all the time; the actual working time is estimated to be around 60 hours. The maple board came from Banja Luka, Bosnia near the end of war. A family friend married a fellow came from that town. Through his connection, I was able to locate a supplier. A few years later, this supplier contacted me to sell more wood but was asking ten times the price I paid before. I then bought 35 pieces Carpathian maple from the supplier in Sighisoara, Romania. The Romanian maple is just as good as the Bosian. I have sufficient maple boards to last for a long time, but am constantly searching for good quality spruce. I prefer lighter, more open grained spruce. The completed top plate (with bassbar) would be around 60 grams. If it ends up over 65 grams, I put it away because it would not work for me.post-37-1268454090.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...