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DoorMouse

J.DiLisio's Bench

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On 2018/2/18 at 6:18 AM, DoorMouse said:

Greetings from Baltimore!
I'm a self taught, amateur maker currently working on my 6th and 7th instruments. 
I appreciate and welcome all criticism.  Please let me know if I'm doing something wrong!

To start off, here are a couple DG copies that I've been slowly cranking out over the last year.. 

Kochanski on the left and Vieuxtemps on the right..  1740-41 seems to be a sweet spot for Del Gesu's. 
The instruments from this year are all very unique in character without being to exaggerated. 

 

The fiddle on the left has been treated with a horse manure/rabbit urine concoction and tanned for a week or so.  
I'm pretty happy with the color. 

Scary to see how good amateur makers are. :wacko:

Nevertheless, when you say 'copy' what is your intention?

  1. Make it roughly looking like the original using your own technique?
  2. Get the image exactly like on the photo?
  3. Trying to rebuild del Gesus technique to achieve the same 'feel', even if there are some minor mismatches compared with the photo of the original?

For the first level you are doing pretty well. My main criticism (or where you can improve a lot) is that the purfling and edgework doesn't look at all like del Gesu. Using a router is convenient but to my taste this spoiled all the other well pictured elements of your work. Like this it looks more like a violin from Markneukirchen.

Copying del Gesu is one of the most difficult things to do because it is extremely difficult to get the right feel. I would compare it to playing as an amateur player any short piece by Kreisler.

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Thanks for your interest Andreas. The edgework is admittedly something that I've struggled with from the start.  Not just in the style of DG but with my Strad copies as well.  
I've been studying the edgework diagrams in the Biddulph book and I'm taking a new approach on the instrument I'm working on now.  

I've come to the same conclusion regarding the purfling router.  It really does yield an overall sterile look.  
The decision to use a router was more out of convenience than anything.  Hand cut channels have a much more pleasing/organic feel. 

They aren't really copies in the sense that I'm trying to make something identical to the source but I am trying to capture the feel of a specific instrument.
With del Gesu's in particular, there's a world of difference stylisticly from one instrument to the next, most apparent in the scrolls and ff's so those are the elements I've focused on.
The mold, however, has remained consistent which hopefully will help with developing consistency in tone. 
For the time being I'm making these instruments for myself with no plans to sell so I've been choosing the ones that I would want to own and play but could never afford. 

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Someone had requested an Illustrator drawing so I thought I'd share it here as well. 
This is a del Gesu form based on several instruments overlaid.
I adjust the corner shapes to fit the instrument I'm copying.

GesuMold2.ai

I don't feel my instruments are ready for sale as of yet.  I'm still bumbling through the process, making mistakes and experimenting along the way. 
As has been pointed out,  there is still much room for improvement. 

 

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Here is a progression of the top I’ve been working on.  

I use the rub joint technique which so far has yeilded good results. It’s also very satisfying when the suction starts really taking hold and it just slides into place.

I’m trying out David Beard’s approach for the long arches on this instrument where you reduce the height by half over a proportion of the distance. It feels pretty natural to me.  I’m still using the cross arch templates from the Biddulph del Gesu book but I might just do away with those on the next instrument.  I find that I end up with lumps between the templates that require a lot of work to smooth out. 

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Edited by DoorMouse

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Here are some photos documenting a large batch of madder pigment extraction using Neil Ertz’s espresso method.  It seems to have been a success and was much easier than I would have imagined.  

As you can imagine, the instrument I’m currently in the process of varnishing is turning out very red.

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This is how the del Gesu Vieuxtemps copy is coming along.  As you can see I’ve been fairly liberal with the madder on this one.   I’m finding that iphone photos tend to exaggerate the red hues in varnish but these are more or less in the ballpark.

This is post craquelure, dings and first dirt patina layer.  I may just wear the edges some and polish it up a bunch to keep the antiquing to a minimum.

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Thanks guys!,  I've been going back and forth and depending on the lighting it can look anywhere from a dark cherry red to a brownish orange both of which seem exaggerated compared to Cremonese varnish.  Next time I'll be going for a more understated look.
Either way, I'm excited to get this one strung up and I'll hopefully have some sound clips to post soon. 

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Heck yeah! Handsome work. 

I didn't quite understand your post about using Beard's long arch ideas. I use his method of arching study all together. You mentioned the 2/3 proportion, which in my reading of his posts relates to the cross arches. The long arch relationships seem to relate more to smaller divisions of the whole. Could you clarify for me possibly? Thanks!

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Woops, that was a mistake.  Thanks for catching that, Jackson. 
I used the method and measurements as David Beard lays out on his website, dividing the long arches into 9. 
That deserves an edit..
 

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Some in-progress photos of the Gasparo da Salo ‘Ole Bull’ inspired instrument I’m working on.  It’s built on a del Gesu form with extended top block.  The head is based on the del Gesu ‘Kochanski’ .

The plates turned out a bit heavy due to the extra length but the thicknesses seem right. This is a bit of an experiment for me. 

The ff’s were a blast to carve! It’s so much easier when you have more clearance.

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Great stuff, as ever! Neat machine. I think I remember a relatively recent topic on the matter on the pegbox, possibly started by yourself? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it's strengths and weaknesses.

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  Sure, I ended up going with the Canadian brand, Flatmaster, as it was cheaper than sourcing my own parts and less of a hasle.  I found a Delta drill press motor on Craigslist.  It's overpowered but runs smoothly at the correct speed.  The setup takes a bit of patience but once the drum is centered and at the proper height, it stays where it is and requires no adjusting between grits.
  It removes wood very slowly and in a controlled manner but there's definitely a learning curve.  I've found that it's best to rotate the direction of the piece with each pass to get the flattest surface.  In addition to the grit, the speed at which you slide the piece over the drum also determines how much wood is being removed so a finishing pass will be faster.  Once you get the hang of the technique it feels very satisfying and meditative.
 With a vacuum hooked up, the sander is virtually dustless and since the wood is just coming in contact with the grit, the paper doesn't wear out easily.  I did manage to wear out a piece by flattening the soles of a couple hand planes, which worked pretty well by the way.  The v-drum really shines when you need to flatten something delicate or pieced together without having to worry about edges chipping out.  It's great for flattening a garland and thinning ribs.  
  I've used it mostly for flattening and jointing plates with a square gate but you still need to finish off the jointing surfaces with a hand plane.  Because of the nature of sanding, you end up with slightly softened edges that need touching up.  
 I'm not sure that a professional violin maker would find this machine particularly useful or time saving but I can say that it's fun to use and makes certain tasks much easier.
  

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I’m just getting around to putting a ground on my da Salo inspired instrument. 

I tried giving it an extra rub down with horse tail in an attempt to ‘pop’ the grain.

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  And what ground are you using over the gypsum?   What grit are you using on your Flatmaster?  I use 60 grit Velcro and find it works quite well.

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There’s a bit of wood preparation and UV involved in darkening the wood beforehand but the ground itself is just colophony/oil/mastic varnish padded onto a very thin layer of gypsum so that it soaks into the wood a little.

I’m planning on applying a strongly pigmented coat next and another unpigmented coat to finish it off.

I’ve got 80 100 and 180 grit velcro paper and I use them all. The 80 does most of the work but I like the finesse and finish of the 180. 

Where do you source your 60 grit paper?

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