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Roger's edge method


Berl Mendenhall
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P.S., for the record, IIRC my measurement was around 4.6-4.7mm, but that was from a photo, and I wasn’t 100% sure of the scale, so I asked Roger, by way of a PM.  He recommended 5.0mm.   But the other important aspect of this tool is that it isn’t adjustable.  It was designed to make the same cut over and over.  Apply that to whatever part of the edge process you like, purfling pre or post channel, but it’s still Strad’s tool, and it’s not adjustable.  

 

Thanks.

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P.S., for the record, IIRC my measurement was around 4.6-4.7mm, but that was from a photo, and I wasn’t 100% sure of the scale, so I asked Roger, by way of a PM.  He recommended 5.0mm.   But the other important aspect of this tool is that it isn’t adjustable.  It was designed to make the same cut over and over.  Apply that to whatever part of the edge process you like, purfling pre or post channel, but it’s still Strad’s tool, and it’s not adjustable.  

 

Thanks.

Hey now that's historical accuracy for you. Was it or not 4.6-4.7mm? Did Roger "recommend" 5mm because 4.6-4.7mm was inconvenient to his theory or was that what it actually measured. It is not adjustable after all so it is not as if someone could have changed it. Lastly, we are still only talking about the height of the edge not the sequence of events. That the edge might have been 5mm does not indicate that the plate was purfled through that edge.

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Try working from photos, and you’ll know how problematic scale and perspective can be.  Do I really have to measure again?  And no, I didn’t say how or when the tool was used, just that it is involved in the edge process.  See my previous post (please?).

 

Or maybe someone in Cremona could measure the gap for us, directly?  That still won’t prove anybody right or wrong, but it would make me (and history) happy.

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Roger has proposed this method of purfling for many years based in part on a tool that we don't know actually came from the workshop of Stradivari (unless it is actually listed in Cozio's inventory). Unlike the forms and templates it bears no stamp, handwriting, or signature linking it directly to Stradivari.

But there are certain features found on many of Stradivari's instruments (we can attribute these features directly to Stradivari because the instruments are genuine) that can lead to a differing interpretation of Cremonese edge work.

One important feature is the occurrence of glue ghosts in the channel.

See this thread:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/323149-glue-stains-on-strads-and-old-cremonese/?hl=%20varnish%20%20bruce%20%20carlson

attachicon.gifimage.jpg

These ghosts are often irregular in shape and quite large. I interpret this as the channel having been finished prior to the glueing of the purfling.

If you were fortunate enough to visit the Stradivari Exhibition at the Ashmolean last summer you will remember these as a quite predominant feature on the back of the "Maiden".

These glue ghosts, blunt scribe marks on some Cremonese instruments, and some other traits bring me to very different conclusion than Roger.

 

Look I really don't want to get into an argument that will just involve me repeating proofs that have in most cases been accepted for many years. The Strad cutter was never a part of my proof; it was just an additional factor of support. As for the scribe line, I have written explanations about this several times. If you really want to know how this works, you simply have to just do it several times. I have lost count of the number of baroque instruments and tools that I have made in order to check and re-check this system. I just finished a viola this last week. Sorry, but that‘s it for me right now. I don’t owe anyone a bunch of repeated explanations. Sacconi can be happy that he did not have the WWW on his back.  

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Look I really don't want to get into an argument that will just involve me repeating proofs that have in most cases been accepted for many years. The Strad cutter was never a part of my proof; it was just an additional factor of support. As for the scribe line, I have written explanations about this several times. If you really want to know how this works, you simply have to just do it several times. I have lost count of the number of baroque instruments and tools that I have made in order to check and re-check this system. I just finished a viola this last week. Sorry, but that‘s it for me right now. I don’t owe anyone a bunch of repeated explanations. Sacconi can be happy that he did not have the WWW on his back.  

You don't "owe" me or any one anything. What do I know about anything I'm just a dog.

Barking.

Still haven't accounted for glue ghosts though.

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I made a couple of these a while ago, and I've purfled three fiddles with them since.

 

As I get used to following the line, and fine tune the shape of the cutters, I find cutting the channels easier and easier. I always cut in from a full 4.75 mm or 5mm edge, and with a slim knife, it took a few hours, and I invariably had a blister on my finger by the end. These take all the hard work out of it.

 

We had a long discussion on all this last year. One issue I have with putting purfling in to an almost finished groove is the lack of depth for the purfling to be held securely. Many old instruments have a very small depth of purfling left in the fiddle, and as anyone who has repaired such things will know, it's much harder to set purfling in a very shallow groove.  The three mm cut is no bother to me.

 

There are, however, features of old fiddles that I don't see much in my own work. Deep down in the groove, the purfling usually fits very snug, as the wood swells around it when it's glued. I can't point to any Cremonese violin in particular, but there's often a looseness to the line at the joint where the knife has spread the wood, and where this has remained after glueing. Curious One pointed to a Del Gesu, where the purfling chisel had slipped right out, and left a cut on the finished surface, and I couldn't imagine how this might have happened  with a three mm groove.

 

I've thought a lot about this since, and I've come to a possible conclusion, which I may try next week, on my next violin. I wonder did Del Gesu make the cut with the deep u shaped gouge, (whose traces can be seen in his corners) almost to depth, before he purfled. This would have made the purfling cutting easier and still left enough edge to support the depth stop of the cutter, while leaving wood on either side to protect the finished edge from glue. It would also explain the toolmarks around the purfling. 

 

So, Roger's method - purfle, deep groove over purfling, finish both sides separately.

 

Another possibility - Deep groove, purfle, finish both sides. I may take my heart in my hands and try it next week.

 

What do you think?

 

Conor yes! This is a possibility, but in some places on del Gesus purfling the U gouge cut has not been totally removed by the fluting. The problem is that the U gouge has actually cut into the purfling, which is still there. In such places the purfling surface is slightly hollow. In other words it has traces of the U shaped gouge. If the U gouge had been used first, there would be no purfling at the botton of this U cut. Purfling in the bottom would have been impossible if the U shaped gouge had been used first. The only other possible explanation would be that he used the U shaped gouge twice. Once before using the cutters and a second time after using them. I'm just never happy about them doing jobs twice. It was the fact that Sacconi mentioned doing some jobs twice that got me thinking about all this in the first place. But this is an argument that makes sense. 

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You don't "owe" me or any one anything. What do I know about anything I'm just a dog.

Barking.

Still haven't accounted for glue ghosts though.

 You might get a better answer if you bothered to read and answer what I ask you. How could Strad's depth stop have been used with an edge that was not flat; especially the belly? Point number two, that several people have brought up are the slips out of the channel. Well if you have done this a few times and in a hurry as del Gesù must have done, you would know that the first cut opens and compresses. The second cut presses towards the first one, but being easier it also slips more easily. Moreover, the two separate blades tend to wander more in relation to each other. Parallel blades always stay parallel and when an additional knife is used, the knife tends to follow the parallel lines more accurately. This is also why del Gesù’s channels often get wider and narrower. There is also no reason why an extra knife would not have been used either in the corners or in the channel. We have plenty of evidence that even Strad did this to correct mistakes.     

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 You might get a better answer if you bothered to read and answer what I ask you. How could Strad's depth stop have been used with an edge that was not flat; especially the belly? Point number two, that several people have brought up are the slips out of the channel. Well if you have done this a few times and in a hurry as del Gesù must have done, you would know that the first cut opens and compresses. The second cut presses towards the first one, but being easier it also slips more easily. Moreover, the two separate blades tend to wander more in relation to each other. Parallel blades always stay parallel and when an additional knife is used, the knife tends to follow the parallel lines more accurately. This is also why del Gesù’s channels often get wider and narrower. There is also no reason why an extra knife would not have been used either in the corners or in the channel. We have plenty of evidence that even Strad did this to correct mistakes.

I see you haven't been reading either. Do we know for a fact that these purfling tools are indeed Stradivari's? Are they listed in Cozio's inventory? Are they signed, stamped, branded?

The photo I posted is a well known Stradivari that presents a feature, visible on other instruments also, that is inconsistent to my mind with your method. If you don't have an explanation, fine. If you do I'm all ears. If you don't want to waste your time that's ok too.

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Cozio’s inventories (there are two, AFAIK), aren’t exactly up to modern museum standards, i.e. they’re a bit vague. At least in Italian.  I can’t speak for the translation.  I hope Roger didn’t do it.   :rolleyes:

 

The purfling cutters are well documented, and have been discussed here and in print numerous times... but since I’m busy with my own work, I’ll let you look that up.  

 

P.S. they are via G.B. Cerani, not Fiorini.

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Novice question for the two big dogs in this fight (I mean gentlemen’s argument).  Could the use of thin glue for the purfling migrate into the wood enough to leave a glue ghost after the channel is carved?

Probably, but there are several possible reasons for this feature, which is in any case extremely rare. 

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I see you haven't been reading either. Do we know for a fact that these purfling tools are indeed Stradivari's? Are they listed in Cozio's inventory? Are they signed, stamped, branded?

The photo I posted is a well known Stradivari that presents a feature, visible on other instruments also, that is inconsistent to my mind with your method. If you don't have an explanation, fine. If you do I'm all ears. If you don't want to waste your time that's ok too.

 

You are too young, no one will hear you ;) 

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It is not important how they did it (at least I don't care), because you can do reverse engineering and reproduce how they look and sound.

 

Strad was not a copyist was he?

 

 

For me, the point of trying to understand a method is to be able make something fresh and personal, but with the same framework as the great masters. When I make a fiddle, it always winds up looking like one of mine, no matter what model I use. I like that, and I often don't feel the need to try to reproduce any particular look or sound.

 

I'm trying to get away from 'reverse engineering'. The character of the old makers work is in the way they worked the tools, and I think it's very hard to capture the character without trying to use yours in the same way. 

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Really what is it with you two? Addie answered the one and I have answered the other several times. You just need to look!

 

I know Roger, sorry no harm ment. I can speak only for myself of course

 

I question everything, I use the Internet to build up knowledge and with no respect for established "known facts" but this only objectively. And think it like this way; you wouldn't care for my tuning methods if I wrote them a million times neither would anyone else here. It's always for the next generation.

 

With great respect for you

 

Peter

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For me, the point of trying to understand a method is to be able make something fresh and personal, but with the same framework as the great masters. When I make a fiddle, it always winds up looking like one of mine, no matter what model I use. I like that, and I often don't feel the need to try to reproduce any particular look or sound.

 

I'm trying to get away from 'reverse engineering'. The character of the old makers work is in the way they worked the tools, and I think it's very hard to capture the character without trying to use yours in the same way. 

 

I like that. Reverse engineering is only needed 1-3 times to understand the system. After that every violin gets it's own personality but have the makers personal touch.

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Neither will anyone hear this, I'm too young too

 

It is not important how they did it (at least I don't care), because you can do reverse engineering and reproduce how they look and sound.

 

Your actual evidence (not your usual belief-based junk) on reproducing the sound?

 

By the way, I don't think many people here really care how old someone is.

At least I don't. Some people, young or old, can establish really valuable thought progressions and results, and others largely chase their tails. ;)

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Your actual evidence (not your usual belief-based junk) on reproducing the sound?

 

Hi David, it's been awhile

 

As a judge in competitions you know it is not possible to have real objective evidence of the sound. Not even solists would always recognize their own Strad, would they?

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Hi David, it's been awhile

 

As a judge in competitions you know it is not possible to have real objective evidence of the sound. Not even solists would always recognize their own Strad, would they?

I'm pretty sure that any soloist would recognize their own instrument, blindfolded, whatever it was.

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