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Confessional - Do you use SANDPAPER?


Peter K-G

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I did a few I did not like the effect ....Whats that bubbly wavey glass they use for showers? ....that effect...... I like to see crisp details. sand paper only smoothes things, it is not good for shaping. use it on edges only . Mike Molnar suggested a sharp for the maple and one a bit duller for the spruce. ....BTW, very nice work overall.

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Hi, My name is Bill. I tried sandpaper once, and I couldn't get enough of it. Aluminum oxide, garnet, silicon carbide  coarse, fine, micro-mesh, you name it I used and abused it all. I've tried to kick the habit and revert to living the clean life using only a scraper, but it just doesn't cut it (figuratively speaking). Don't get me wrong, I like the scraper, but I need my sandpaper fix.

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I am not alone :)

 

Agreed. Obviously this attitude is a common thing, in violin making, and that's ok.

 

But today there are abrasives available, that work well and make various jobs not only easier but more practical, so why not use them?

 

It isn't a thing to make scraping less practical or less viable, but a thing that works perfectly well in it's own right. So people who believe that only things that were readily available when Strad was alive, are perfectly welcome to practice violin making with only those things - including avoiding things like sandpaper.

But the fact is, that sandpaper and the other various products like sandpaper, can easily and satisfactorily be used today by makers and be completely undetectable in the finished product.

 

There is no great ugliness,  dullness or "shoddiness"  necessary in the finish or shaping. Sandpaper is a tool - just like a scraper is.

Of course we can go ahead and pretend that it is verboten for some traditional reason, and that it will make one's work horrible.

But really, why pretend that that's so?

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Anyone who would use a sandpiper for violin making should be immediately arrested for cruelty to animals.  There are plenty of other ways to smooth out life's little bumps than rubbing a poor defenseless bird against hard wood.  Why, the very thought of it turns the stomach.  OTOH, for want of a sandpiper a top was rough; for want of smoothness a competition was lost; for want of an award a career was wrecked.  Oh, decisions, decisions!

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Sharp edged scrapers, burred scrapers, loose grit abbrasives, Horsetail, abrasives in an eroding strata (like pumicestone), files, rasps, sandpaper glued to a support, and yes sandpaper all behave differently and leave different results.  I use whichever seems most desirable in a given situation.  I don't consider them interchangable.   

 

At least for now, I use sandpaper in finishing the neck.  It leaves that stone smooth kind of surface that I don't want under my varnish, but that I do like on the neck.

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I use pumice and wood block. As a previous post stated, I also use anything that will do the job the best way.  Is there some clear reason for the objection to sandpaper,  eg, it has a negative effect on the surface?  fred

 

Most makers that have something against sandpaper, usually claim that it will do away with detail and/or the sharpness that just carving leaves (that's always been an *interesting* theory for me), that it tends to smooth everything out, or some such claim. Also a great claim is made because it will leave behind a sawdust that will fill the pores of the wood. Then there's the long time claim that a sanded finish isn't near as well reflective or sharp under varnish.

Perhaps some of that is true in a sense - but most makers I know, avoid any/all of those things, by using it (sandpaper) with a sense of what it can and what it cannot do well.

 

There are makers who will not use any power tools, because they were not available to Strad (or Amati - etc.) also.

 

Oh well.

 

I must say that I do respect such beliefs, and such ideas, as I respect pretty much anyone's ideas about what's "morally" or "socially" correct, and how one should act. Such is life. But I don'rt practice anything like that myself - why would I?.

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There are makers who will not use any power tools, because they were not available to Strad (or Amati - etc.) also.

 

Oh well.

 

I must say that I do respect such beliefs, and such ideas, as I respect pretty much anyone's ideas about what's "morally" or "socially" correct, and how one should act. Such is life. But I don'rt practice anything like that myself - why would I?.

 

 

I love quoting this guy!

 

Honestly? - I've also heard just about as many injunctions, against felling trees with anything but a hand ax, during a specific quarter of the moon - and many other  various and usually very specific and particular etc.'s ...

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I have to confess I have at times used a mini grinder with sanding backing pad. On one particular occasion  I struggled and lost  with an extremely hard piece of rock maple so decided to bring in the big guns. Caution!!  do not try this at home.  :unsure: backingpadfibresandingdisc.jpg

Too late. I've only done it a couple of times, with red maple that resisted all other weapons. But it is a last resort because of the tremendous amount of dust produced.

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