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CNBC's Treasure Hunters "authenticates" a Strad tonight

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Is a Strad in an attic better than a Strad in a hall closet?  I have a theory that rich people are more likely to have an attic, therefore any violin in an attic is likely to be better. (insert emoticon if necessary)

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To my totally uneducated eye the ct scans looked nothing like a Strad and I didn't hear Cauer say anything that would lead to his conclusion. I was rather shocked to hear them say it was real at the end. Oh, well, no money out of my pocket.

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Is a Strad in an attic better than a Strad in a hall closet? I have a theory that rich people are more likely to have an attic, therefore any violin in an attic is likely to be better. (insert emoticon if necessary)

Hmmm I once found a violin in a hall closet, and it was an Alessandro Gagliano untouched for so long it still had a very early 19th-century bridge. So, perhaps that answers your question... Hope so!

As for Robert Cauer - its entirely possible he had no real grasp of what he was letting himself in for, with no real knowledge of what else the producers intended. It's a lesson you only truly learn the hard way!

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“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or BUSINESS, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”   

 

end quote

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“.In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or BUSINESS, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”   

 

end quote

So, ultimately, the country is being run by the guys who write South Park? :blink:

 

(For the Brits who didn't get this, read: League of Gentlemen )

 

 

Bernays did "the Devil's work" most efficiently, and largely created what we currently wallow in, IMHO.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

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Hmmm I once found a violin in a hall closet, and it was an Alessandro Gagliano untouched for so long it still had a very early 19th-century bridge. So, perhaps that answers your question... Hope so!

As for Robert Cauer - its entirely possible he had no real grasp of what he was letting himself in for, with no real knowledge of what else the producers intended. It's a lesson you only truly learn the hard way!

 

 

I have been a Maestronet member for many years, and I am Robert Cauer's assistant.
 

Robert read this thread with some amusement. 

 
I can tell you that this was a short diversion for Robert and his work on this was limited to the examination that you saw on the program.  
 
Robert had nothing to do with the tonal comparison, nor did he participate in anything using the scientific or medical equipment or x-rays.    
 
This was somewhat similar to the examination Robert would do normally, except for the cameras and crew present.  
 
Much of what you saw Robert do, we do not normally do for ourselves, but rather to convince the person bringing the instrument that it could not possibly be a Stradivari.  For example, sometimes a person is convinced they have a genuine Strad, and we shine the strong light through the top demonstrating that the instrument could not possibly be that old and also be that translucent, because the older the violin, the less the light will shine through.
 
Jonathan Rubin

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Jonathan and Robert - I hope the sympathy in my comment didn't get lost somewhere mid-Atlantic. It was no criticism directed at you, simply about the nature of how television programmes are produced, and a hugely generalised comment at that!  :)

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I saw this show just the other day, as it is being re-runned now.

Watching the show, I initially thought that the violin was a fake, and the Warhol was real, so maybe they shoot the show to give you that impression, and make it more appealing to the viewer who is tying to guess what's what.   I have no experience with either, so it is just the impression the show gave me.   Sad looks before saying it's real etc.

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As spruce ages, it becomes more opaque.  It also becomes more opaque with baking or thermal processing. 

It would be easy to fool Cauer's translucency test with baked wood, but I suspect he did that just for show, and probably knew instantly what the violin was before doing anything. 

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I don't know much about the chemistry, but obviously that is involved.  Chemical changes that happen over long time spans can be speeded up with elevated temperature, so there is reason to believe that age and heat produce similar chemical changes.

 

For a little light reading on the subject, you might try:

http://epubl.luth.se/1402-1544/2004/10/LTU-DT-0410-SE.pdf

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The answer is the sap, Sap when fresh and new is like honey, fairly transparent. Over time it becomes much harder and "dried out" {baking would do it too} and looses its transparency. This "effect" can be seen on trees where fresh drips of sap are soft,clear sticky, older sap becomes hard, dry and like clumped dry sugar. When this happens inside the wood, it looses its ability to have light shine trough as easy.This also "hardens" the wood as well. Fir wood would be the most "radical" change of the softwoods. fresh cut Fir is fairly soft and accepts nails well. Over time it "sap hardens" and becomes as hard as some hardwoods and virtually impossible to drive a nail into without pre-drilling.

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I believe the answer is more than just sap.  Hemicellulose and lignin are not sap, but are subject to chemical changes over time (or temperature).  Cellulose is pretty resistant to anything, but those less stable compounds make up a good percentage of the total wood weight.  I do see some sap migration and spots on the surface of thermally processed wood, but the color change is extremely uniform throughout.  If only sap was the colorant, I would expect to see much more localized opacity.

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I believe the answer is more than just sap.  Hemicellulose and lignin are not sap, but are subject to chemical changes over time (or temperature).  Cellulose is pretty resistant to anything, but those less stable compounds make up a good percentage of the total wood weight.  I do see some sap migration and spots on the surface of thermally processed wood, but the color change is extremely uniform throughout.  If only sap was the colorant, I would expect to see much more localized opacity.

I would say that it is the saturation of the fibers that have their own sap saturated characteristics and that really its not sap alone, but how the sap and other "fluids" inter act with the lignin and hemicellulose. Sap is not only in "pockets" or in the "tubes" but is distributed throughout the fibers. The effects on sap alone that happen when collected are the same that happen inside the wood. Fresh sap is clear soft and transparent. Old collected sap is not clear, hard and translucent. So there is sap alone, and then there is sap in the fibers, where one starts and where one ends is variable. I would say that it is a change brought on by all fluids except the bound water.

 

If one takes a piece of white paper and smears fresh sap onto it, one will see that the paper becomes "see thru" based on the "wetting" effect. If left to "dry out" we see this transparency start to fade. The thickness of the layer has much to do with this. Dry saps in thin layers mixed with drying oils will always stay transparent {see Joes sauce} Sap alone will dry out and turn white'ish over time and become "rock" hard.

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