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Dimitri Musafia

Ever see an X-ray of a case by Stradivari?

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Not likely - to my knowledge it’s never been done before. Until now.

The International Violin Making School of Cremona kindly offered me their X-ray lab to examine the circa 1680 “Milan” Stradivari case and try to understand how it was made. The resulting images are being studied, for future publication, but already many interesting features are appearing.

For example, the fact that the curved perimeter around the body of the violin is made of multiple blocks of spruce glued together in such a way to ensure that the grain is always crosswise, a lightweight and effective way to protect the violin from bumps. Don't worry about the nails - they go into the top and bottom panels and are thus invisible (in fact only visible in the x-ray image).

Unprecedented new light on a distant past!

XRayStradCase.jpg

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44 minutes ago, vathek said:

I've read that iron maidens were a fantasy and not actually used as medieval torture devices

Hi Vathek - actually it was a prototype travel case designed in anticipation of the modern day baggage handler.

cheers edi

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2 hours ago, edi malinaric said:

Hi Vathek - actually it was a prototype travel case designed in anticipation of the modern day baggage handler.

cheers edi

Then the spikes should go onto the OUTSIDE! That way they'll be more careful...

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On 5/17/2018 at 9:47 AM, Dimitri Musafia said:

Not likely - to my knowledge it’s never been done before. Until now.

The International Violin Making School of Cremona kindly offered me their X-ray lab to examine the circa 1680 “Milan” Stradivari case and try to understand how it was made. The resulting images are being studied, for future publication, but already many interesting features are appearing.

For example, the fact that the curved perimeter around the body of the violin is made of multiple blocks of spruce glued together in such a way to ensure that the grain is always crosswise, a lightweight and effective way to protect the violin from bumps. Don't worry about the nails - they go into the top and bottom panels and are thus invisible (in fact only visible in the x-ray image).

Unprecedented new light on a distant past!

 

Maybe your stringsmagazine writeup will help with your post

http://stringsmagazine.com/inside-the-milan-strad-violin-case-discovery/

The-‘Chi-Mei-ex-Biddulph’-Stradivari-case (1).jpg

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15 hours ago, Dimitri Musafia said:

Then the spikes should go onto the OUTSIDE! That way they'll be more careful...

Hi Dimitri - that would explain why it wasn't a success.

cheers edi

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7 hours ago, carl1961 said:

Maybe your stringsmagazine writeup will help with your post

http://stringsmagazine.com/inside-the-milan-strad-violin-case-discovery/

The-‘Chi-Mei-ex-Biddulph’-Stradivari-case (1).jpg

Thank you, Carl1961. Just to be precise, the case in this photo is the "Chi Mei, ex-Biddulph" Strad case from the same period as the "Milan". It is identical in almost every way, except the "Chi Mei" has the gold leaf decoration on the outside and the "Milan" does not.

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On 5/17/2018 at 10:47 AM, Dimitri Musafia said:

Not likely - to my knowledge it’s never been done before. Until now.

The International Violin Making School of Cremona kindly offered me their X-ray lab to examine the circa 1680 “Milan” Stradivari case and try to understand how it was made. The resulting images are being studied, for future publication, but already many interesting features are appearing.

For example, the fact that the curved perimeter around the body of the violin is made of multiple blocks of spruce glued together in such a way to ensure that the grain is always crosswise, a lightweight and effective way to protect the violin from bumps. Don't worry about the nails - they go into the top and bottom panels and are thus invisible (in fact only visible in the x-ray image).

Unprecedented new light on a distant past!

XRayStradCase.jpg

 

Thanks for undertaking this interesting analysis, Dimitri.

Could you explain the construction method a little more. I'm not understanding it and there isn't enough resolution in the published X Ray to see clearly the wood direction. Logically, one would expect a single plank to be use for the face and another for back of the case. Are you seeing evidence of multiple pieces glued together with the grain crossing the case from side to side?

Thanks

Glenn

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Hi Glenn,

You're correct about the single plank used for top and bottom panels. That also means that the case was constructed as a box, and then sawn open to create the aperture (as opposed to building the two parts independently).

My point was that the curved sidewalls (perimeter) were made of a number of blocks glued together and then carved (gouge on the inside, chisel on the outside) to create the rounded part. Even in the image above you can see the grain in the sidewalls running roughly parallel to the nails. I hope it's clearer now.

Cheers! Dimitri

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On 5/20/2018 at 8:00 AM, Dimitri Musafia said:

Hi Glenn,

You're correct about the single plank used for top and bottom panels. That also means that the case was constructed as a box, and then sawn open to create the aperture (as opposed to building the two parts independently).

My point was that the curved sidewalls (perimeter) were made of a number of blocks glued together and then carved (gouge on the inside, chisel on the outside) to create the rounded part. Even in the image above you can see the grain in the sidewalls running roughly parallel to the nails. I hope it's clearer now.

Cheers! Dimitri

 

Hi Dimitri,

Thanks for the explanation which makes complete sense. So the basic idea of creating a closed box then cutting it open round the equator, is the same as today.

Impressively long nails, by the way.

Glenn

 

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