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Don Noon's bench

Don Noon

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I practically live next to old Landola. My son fixed one of them (saddle) the other day. They are in every household, great guitars. So what, after 50-60 years they are like bananas, as why he asked me: take down the saddle as low as possible or neck reset.

(I know how the necks are attached, reset = new neck)

So I sayed, go as low as possible. If still not good, ask is it a super great one? If not => throw it into the fire place....

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 2/25/2022 at 7:59 AM, Don Noon said:

Mike Molnar and I have been having a competition to see who can accumulate the most medical procedures.  He has had a good head start, but I'm catching up faster than I'd like.

And even faster... Friday night my heart monitor detected  several pauses in heart action up to 17 seconds; 24 hours later I have a pacemaker implanted.  Zoom, zoom.

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After another visit to the ER for chest pains (nothing dangerous found) and a second trip for atrial fibrilation (fixed), hopefully I am at home for a while.

But the prospects for quick return to productivity don't look good.

As soon as I recover from this procedure, I WILL need to have a heart valve fixed (TBD open-heart or minimally invasive, which is not very minimal)... and then after recovering from that, the right shoulder damage can be addressed (likely either massive reconstruction or full replacement).  Mike Molnar and I are on a mission to bankrupt Medicare.

It's not looking like I will have a lot of output to choose from when VSA arrives, but hopefully I can attend, and enter the last violin I made.

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Well, I have nothing but the best wishes for you, and Mike too. Not a competition that I care to join in on. 

I remember 25 years ago, or so, when I first needed reading glasses. We saw a bunch of them at a garage sale, and said something about them. The older person running the sale said, "It doesn't get any better."  I'm up to 3X progressives now. 

Buck the trend. Find ways to make your life even better. 


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  • 4 months later...

The bench is gathering dust (and several bottles of varnish experiments, which don't require any physical effort), but, as expected, the return to real bench work appears to still be several months off, or perhaps next year.

Just an update on where things stand...

The heart mitral valve was repairable by "minimally invasive" robotic surgery... but during the stitch-up, the adjacent aortic valve was pierced, and that had to be replaced via the traditional bisected breastbone.  So I got 2 surgeries for the price of one.  That was last week, 7/20, and not a pleasant experience.  However, they tell me things look good (considering), and maybe in 6-8 weeks I will be recovered enough for the next major surgery on the shoulder.  At the moment, my workout is limited to a very slow 1-mile walk at ~2mph.

All schedules revolve around VSA... I want to make sure I am in reasonable shape to attend.  If I can get the shoulder repair in and recovered beforehand, that would be good, or I might have to push the shoulder work out to December.

Apparently 2022 is the expiration date on many of my components.  But I look forward to getting rebuilt and back to the bench.

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  • 3 months later...

So now I have the full complement of surgeries, with no more scheduled.  Pacemaker, heart valves, and major rotator cuff rebuild.  Things have improved greatly, and with extra motivation from VSA, I'm back in the shop after essentially a year and a half of incapacitation.

I'm easing back into it, with replacing a bass bar in #4 (from 12 years ago) and I'll revarnish it later.  If all goes well, I should re-start new violins soon.

The varnish and ground testing continue, with my latest shown.  There are 4 segments (from the left):  varnish directly on the wood, bare wood, thick mineral ground and varnish, and terpene/mineral ground/varnish.  I like terpene.

The one below is the same sample taken outside on a cloudy day.  Lighting matters (the shop was with a LED spotlight).


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  • 3 weeks later...

Still mostly in R&D mode and taking care of odds and ends before getting back to new instrument work.

One item is getting a better understanding of wood color effects and how to control it.  I made up some samples of spruce from the same log of Engelmann, gluing together strongly torrified and non-torrified pieces.  This is various angles, half with just clear varnish on the wood.



In the microscope image, it is side-lit from the right to show the rays.  The wood was intentionally cut slightly off-quarter to better understand depth.  One unexpected thing is the clarity of the fall growth rings (the darker line in the middle), apparently due to less air and wall pits.  The light color balance isn't right; I'll have to work on that.


Next up is to expose the samples to UV.  I had done a test some time ago, but don't seem to have saved either the sample or any images.  But I do recall that the white wood (as we all know) became darker and orage-colored, and the torrified wood became lighter and more orange colored.  Better documentation this time.  And I'll prepare some maple too.

At 41 pages, and the turn of the new year, and me starting to work again after a year off due to physical repairs, this would be a good time to start a new thread:  


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