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Roger's edge method


Berl Mendenhall
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I consider purfling through a thick edge a fundamental flaw in Roger's "Cremonese" system. I, like Davide Sora, channel the edge first. I believe the evidence, in the form of knife cuts and glue ghosts in the channel of Cremonese instruments, favors this interpretation.

Can you image purfling any of the decorated Stradivaris through a 5mm edge?

I also did like Davide.  I lowered the edge over where the purfling will go by about .5mm before I marked and cut the purfling channel.  Then trimmed the purfling another .5mm to finish the channel.   That makes the channel 1mm lower than the sharp edge.  Next time I may go a little deeper on the first channel before marking and cutting the purfling groove.  I buy my purfling and it comes 2mm deep.  If I didn't do it this way there wouldn't be much purfling left by the time you cut your channel.

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I consider purfling through a thick edge a fundamental flaw in Roger's "Cremonese" system. I, like Davide Sora, channel the edge first. I believe the evidence, in the form of knife cuts and glue ghosts in the channel of Cremonese instruments, favors this interpretation.

Can you image purfling any of the decorated Stradivaris through a 5mm edge?

 

These are some of the observations that prompted to me also to use this system.

 

The other reason, more practical, is the need to avoid harm to the joints of the index finger caused by the incision with the knife of the purfling channel (particularly of the cellos) : less wood to cut, less annoying joint pains!!!

 

Probably is also easyer to cut the channel using the Strad type purfling cutter only, skipping the knife completely, even if I do not like this and still prefer to use the knife.

 

Davide

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I consider purfling through a thick edge a fundamental flaw in Roger's "Cremonese" system. I, like Davide Sora, channel the edge first. I believe the evidence, in the form of knife cuts and glue ghosts in the channel of Cremonese instruments, favors this interpretation.

Can you image purfling any of the decorated Stradivaris through a 5mm edge?

I too don't consider cutting an extra-deep purfling groove to be something a maker could perform on a regular and ongoing basis. It's one of the hardest things on the hands that I've ever done, and required a lot of recovery time, even when I was much younger.

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I too don't consider cutting an extra-deep purfling groove to be something a maker could perform on a regular and continuing basis. It's one of the hardest things on the hands that I've ever done, and required a lot of recovery time, even when I was much younger.

David, I think the hardest part for me is excavating the wood out of the channel.  That to me is the physically hardest and most tedious job.  If I get too aggressive I can cause damage to the outside edge side.  I use two purfling chisels, one is a tiny, tiny bit more narrower than the other.  I use the thin one to pick out the channel and the wider one to scrape the channel to the proper size. 

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Wouldn't the purfling tools with depth stops (i.e. those in the strad museum pictured in other threads) make the process of cutting a deep channel into a thick edge easier?

Easier? Yes. Easy? No.

Look at the decorated instruments. There is no way in h@ll those were purfled through a thick edge. The lozenges were shaped, thicknessed and then put in place like any sensible in inlayer would do. There is no advantage that I can think for inlay through a thick edge. It's a waste of material, time and energy. There is an definite advantage to inlaying an essentially finished channel besides economy. You can actually see what your work will look like when it is done, especially at the mitres. There will be no surprises. What you see is what you get.

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Easier? Yes. Easy? No.

Look at the decorated instruments. There is no way in h@ll those were purfled through a thick edge. The lozenges were shaped, thicknessed and then put in place like any sensible in inlayer would do. There is no advantage that I can think for inlay through a thick edge. It's a waste of material, time and energy. There is an definite advantage to inlaying an essentially finished channel besides economy. You can actually see what your work will look like when it is done, especially at the mitres. There will be no surprises. What you see is what you get.

I don't think any one believes Strad or anyone else cut a purfling groove 3mm deep and pushed purfling down to the bottom of that groove.  I think they did exactly as Davide and everyone else here that uses this method does.  They cut a shallow relief ( somewhere around 1/2 to1mm deep) around the flat edge.  That lowers the edge where the purfling goes (not the sharp outside edge) and it's purfled normal. 

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I don't think any one believes Strad or anyone else cut a purfling groove 3mm deep and pushed purfling down to the bottom of that groove. I think they did exactly as Davide and everyone else here that uses this method does. They cut a shallow relief ( somewhere around 1/2 to1mm deep) around the flat edge. That lowers the edge where the purfling goes (not the sharp outside edge) and it's purfled normal.

No, that is exactly what Roger believes. That Stradivari cut a purfling groove 3+mm deep.

Here are excerpts from Roger's book on del Gesu.

I wish I could find the 35mm slides I have of a beautiful, pristine Nicolo Amati in which you can clearly see the marking out of the purfling channel. The tool used was not a knife but the same dog legged compass used to mark the crest of the edge. This tool has a blunt point so as NOT to cut the grain of the wood. It leaves an impression similar to your thumb nail. Probably not dissimilar to a tool like this.

The edge channel was all but finished except for scraping when the purfling went in.

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You guys! Three whole millimetres! And I thought you frontiers people were supposed to be tough. The first thing that I should say is that even on the bass, where I was cutting through almost 5 mm. I wasn't straining my hernia. Perhaps you are all using double bladed cutters. That is an absolute no-no. But come on! With a good sharp single blade this is not a job for superman. I have had delicate ladies, (excuse the chauvinism) managing this job. The single blade on Strad's cutters works just fine and the cutter has its own depth stop in case you get tired. One of the things that I constantly find with these explanations, is that until you have tried it several times, WITH TOOLS SIMILAR TO THE ORIGINALS, you cannot (should not) make comments about the difficulties or otherwise, of the task.

As those that have tried this method have testified here, in the long run it is easier. And I might add, the method was changed not because an easier method was found. It was changed because the entire system was turned around when necks began to be fitted after the body was assembled, rather than before.

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I think your taking the whole thing to literal. The second word of the second paragraph leaves room for some interpretation. This is not a recipe for baking a cake, use your own judgement a little. The bottom line here is, "the method does work very well".

No, I don't think I'm being too literal. Roger is very explicit here. I have speak in person about this.

Here is the full illustration. But it would be easy enough to ask him.

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You guys! Three whole millimetres! And I thought you frontiers people were supposed to be tough. The first thing that I should say is that even on the bass, where I was cutting through almost 5 mm. I wasn't straining my hernia. Perhaps you are all using double bladed cutters. That is an absolute no-no. But come on! With a good sharp single blade this is not a job for superman. I have had delicate ladies, (excuse the chauvinism) managing this job. The single blade on Strad's cutters works just fine and the cutter has its own depth stop in case you get tired. One of the things that I constantly find with these explanations, is that until you have tried it several times, WITH TOOLS SIMILAR TO THE ORIGINALS, you cannot (should not) make comments about the difficulties or otherwise, of the task.As those that have tried this method have testified here, in the long run it is easier. And I might add, the method was changed not because an easier method was found. It was changed because the entire system was turned around when necks began to be fitted after the body was assembled, rather than before.

I have tried all the various ways to Sunday of inlaying purfling and I don't make choices based their ease. My direct examination of the artifacts (Cremonese instruments) leads me to a different conclusion than you.

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You guys! Three whole millimetres! And I thought you frontiers people were supposed to be tough. The first thing that I should say is that even on the bass, where I was cutting through almost 5 mm. I wasn't straining my hernia. Perhaps you are all using double bladed cutters. That is an absolute no-no. But come on! With a good sharp single blade this is not a job for superman. I have had delicate ladies, (excuse the chauvinism) managing this job. The single blade on Strad's cutters works just fine and the cutter has its own depth stop in case you get tired. One of the things that I constantly find with these explanations, is that until you have tried it several times, WITH TOOLS SIMILAR TO THE ORIGINALS, you cannot (should not) make comments about the difficulties or otherwise, of the task.As those that have tried this method have testified here, in the long run it is easier. And I might add, the method was changed not because an easier method was found. It was changed because the entire system was turned around when necks began to be fitted after the body was assembled, rather than before.

And the inlaid instruments were done the same way? Through a 5+mm edge?

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I think your taking the whole thing to literal.  The second word of the second paragraph leaves room for some interpretation.  This is not a recipe for baking a cake, use your own judgement a little.   The bottom line here is, "the method does work very well".

There you have it Berl. I was not being too literal.

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I have tried all the various ways to Sunday of inlaying purfling and I don't make choices based their ease. My direct examination of the artifacts (Cremonese instruments) leads me to a different conclusion than you.

You hit the nail on the head when you talk about your, "direct examination". What you should be saying is "Your direct experience". It is not impossible that some hollowing was done, but it is extremely unlikely, because the depth stop on Strad's single bladed cutters would not have worked without a flat edge to rest on. You learn this sort of thing only by using accurate copies of these tools. Simply examining these tools is sometimes not enough.

As to the inlayed instruments, the parallel purfling would have been completed first and the inlays set in after the fluting had been cut down. This is very easily achieved. All you have to do is take out the section between the purflings. The ivories are actually very thin. Although some of them have fine rasp marks on their surface, we certainly know that these ivories could not have been cut down later, because they are simply too hard.

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Um, in case you didn't read it the first part it said " I have tried all the various ways to Sunday".

Not quite sure how else you get your experience.

I will ask you again. Have you actually used accurate copies of Strad's cutters? Mine are pictured on the 'making a double bass', blog here on MN. If you have used good copies, then you must know that the depth stop is useless without the flat edge.
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M

I will ask you again. Have you actually used accurate copies of Strad's cutters? Mine are pictured on the 'making a double bass', blog here on MN. If you have used good copies, then you must know that the depth stop is useless without the flat edge.

Yes, made em when I was in school donkey's years ago and have used them too!

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