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Nick Allen

Nick Allen's Bench.

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On 1/27/2020 at 9:32 AM, uncle duke said:

You can make what you want but do keep in mind some of these newly completed violins do take a few years to come around.

Is there a narrower Strad design widthwise to use without being too small?

The P form?

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Closed the box. Slow progress on my personal fiddles. I get home from work making fiddles and sometimes just don't want to do it for several more hours lol. 

There's still a little work to do yet with cleaning some things up, but I'll save that for final scraping after everything is done in the white.

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11 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

The P form?

I did not research all of the forms for a Strad.  You ask about the P form so I looked that up.  I think a little bit big for the lighter wood you have.  Then I see there is a P {b} form.   That's looks inviting, maybe make the template 347 mm in length so you won't have to be compared to the 1733 D.G. which also uses a 346 mm.

Then beg Davide and David for their belly and back plate height suggestions and hope for the best.

Since you are getting comments from players about you just having a suitable violin for chamber music only maybe just stay where you are at material and forma wise and just make subtle adjustment/changes here and there to see what happens later.  It doesn't necessarily have to be corpus thickness or height changes for example.  It could be an adjustment of peg hole placement at the pegbox, thinner plate edges possibly, fingerboard grade of ebony, bridge and neck maple strength, tailpiece material etc.  I'd think your work should be getting close to what your looking for.

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On 2/4/2020 at 10:07 AM, uncle duke said:

I did not research all of the forms for a Strad.  You ask about the P form so I looked that up.  I think a little bit big for the lighter wood you have.  Then I see there is a P {b} form.   That's looks inviting, maybe make the template 347 mm in length so you won't have to be compared to the 1733 D.G. which also uses a 346 mm.

Then beg Davide and David for their belly and back plate height suggestions and hope for the best.

Since you are getting comments from players about you just having a suitable violin for chamber music only maybe just stay where you are at material and forma wise and just make subtle adjustment/changes here and there to see what happens later.  It doesn't necessarily have to be corpus thickness or height changes for example.  It could be an adjustment of peg hole placement at the pegbox, thinner plate edges possibly, fingerboard grade of ebony, bridge and neck maple strength, tailpiece material etc.  I'd think your work should be getting close to what your looking for.

I have the P(b) from Traite de Lutherie. I might make a form off of it. 

You're right about subtle adjustments before major ones, though. 

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I've been focusing on mastering the more mundane aspects of making. Like the humble nut. Seeing a perfect but on an instrument really is a treat. So I want to join the club of those who make perfect ones. 

All of these little things come together in the end to make great work, and will separate the wheat from the chaff. 

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Almost done in the white. Just have a saddle, peg holes, bridge and soundpost left. I'm happy with the esgework in this one. That's my prideful takeaway on this go-around. 

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5 hours ago, Ernest Martel said:

Nice clean craftsmanship! What are using to varnish?

Thanks! I'm gonna just bite the bullet and go Holtier. That's what we use in the shop usually and it's stupid simple and gives fantastic results. 

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On 11/24/2019 at 3:27 PM, Nick Allen said:

I want to make a Peter of Mantua with a 20mm arch in baroque setup soon. 

That sounds nice, I have the ribs done and the plates cut out on one,,, never done one of those yet,

Right now it's a Carol Kloz, (Amati). making chips

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Everything's looking really nice,

If you really have a concern about too much softness, the ground and varnish can be moved to stiffen things up a bit.

Without lots of experience to know it would be a wild shot to decide. If you are really concerned,,, be sure and string it and play it before you varnish it.

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5 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

Everything's looking really nice,

If you really have a concern about too much softness, the ground and varnish can be moved to stiffen things up a bit.

Without lots of experience to know it would be a wild shot to decide. If you are really concerned,,, be sure and string it and play it before you varnish it.

You're right. I'm going to string it with Dominants, which are fairly neutral, to see which way it leans, and go from there. 

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She's all mounted up. Did some test playing with my crappy viola now that I happened to have lying around and I think I overcompensated. It's just too bright. There's not enough resonance going on here. I'm gonna have to pull the top and re grad.   

Here's some terrible phone audio for sample. 

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I think maybe your hearing was colored by your viola playing.  If anything, what you played sounded a bit dark to me. Maybe it was just the tune choice. Really nice work!

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1 hour ago, Jim Bress said:

I think maybe your hearing was colored by your viola playing.  If anything, what you played sounded a bit dark to me. Maybe it was just the tune choice. Really nice work!

Thanks Jim. In person, it does sound a lil different, but perhaps my ear is biased and I can't really parse through all of my thoughts and expectations that have been bubbling up these past few months. I'll have to take it to work on Tuesday and see what the big guy says about it. But, I'm leaning towards going with something like Tzigane strings.

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It certainly doesn't sound too bright to my ears but I do hear the lack of resonance you mention.  It sounds like the plates might be a bit thick. 
I personally consider brightness to be a positive quality as long as it's balanced with a solid low end. 

For example, check out the recordings of the Habeneck Strad at the bottom of this page..
https://www.ram.ac.uk/museum/item/25090
 

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4 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

It certainly doesn't sound too bright to my ears but I do hear the lack of resonance you mention.  It sounds like the plates might be a bit thick. 
I personally consider brightness to be a positive quality as long as it's balanced with a solid low end. 

For example, check out the recordings of the Habeneck Strad at the bottom of this page..
https://www.ram.ac.uk/museum/item/25090
 

It just kind of stops moving quickly after you mute the note with your left hand. But I took it into the shop proper and it seems to sound much better with the carpeted floors and better acoustics. Also, these old Dominants are at the end of their life. I'm probably going to put some Rondos on there and see how it responds. 

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I've got a DG inspired quartet in the works at the shop. A huge task. But the most challenging part isn't the brute-force extra labor, especially with the cello, but the tonal philosophies going into it. How each instrument should both shine on its own, but lock into the small puzzle of the whole and complement one another into a cohesive whole. 

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Wow, and I thought just building one was a challenge! You are taking it to an entirely different level there. My son is a violinist at CAPA, so we walk right under your bench regularly. I've often thought about popping in, but I know how annoyed I get when people interrupt me in the middle of something in my shop. I really don't want to be that guy.

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On 3/9/2020 at 11:34 AM, Amature Aaron said:

Wow, and I thought just building one was a challenge! You are taking it to an entirely different level there. My son is a violinist at CAPA, so we walk right under your bench regularly. I've often thought about popping in, but I know how annoyed I get when people interrupt me in the middle of something in my shop. I really don't want to be that guy.

You're a maker in Pittsburgh? 

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I've done a fair amount of woodworking and furniture work, but when it comes to violins I'm still an aspiring maker. I built one form I thought was "good enough" and started in. As soon as I bent the ribs I realized the form was crap and so have started over with a Strad poster. I'm hoping to finish the form this weekend and get back to rib bending. I have no illusions that I will ever turn out a fine instrument, but since both of my children play I thought it would be nice for them to have something decent to practice on and remember me by one day.

Edited by Amature Aaron

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