Matthew Hannafin

Matt Hannafin's new bench

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Well, enough new stuff has happened to me, that I thought I'd start a new bench thread too.  My new bench is over 4,000 miles away from my old bench...moving from Scotland to Albuquerque New Mexico USA.  There is nothing quite like setting up a new workshop with more room.

I've made a handful of instruments since I was last posting photos online.  I've also spent a lot of time testing various aspects of varnishing, and antiquing.  As well, I've basically given up trying to take pictures of the whole instruments...needing to either develop a proper setup with lights and a tripod, or just paying somebody who knows what they're doing!  I've messed around with our camera enough to take some smaller pictures that are OK to show small areas though.  Here are a few shots of my most recent violin:

(Apologies for the different lighting and camera settings...also these a bigger images than what I used to post, let me know if I should make them smaller)

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Oh, and earlier this year, my wife and I got to take a holiday in Italy:

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I found the road named after GdG in Cremona quite fitting for a violin maker....a place for loans...and a kebab shop <_<

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Wow!!! You world traveler you! Hope the kebabs were delicious ! :)

Great pics! It's nice to get such clear shots of the details.

Now I would love to see your new New Mexico workshop!

 

 

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Thanks for the kind words, Rue.

So, for the sake of comparison, here's my old space in Glasgow:

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I definitely got tired of vacuuming wood chips out of that carpet.  My dog could also just hog an enormous percentage of the floor, and be unmovable until she got her walk.  My wife's study area was right next to my bench...and she'd sometimes get wood chips in her hair or cup of tea.

And now:

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A whole room, with great light, and room for a band saw and a complete absence of carpet.  I was able to find a really nice used bench as well.  The dog likes it better too.  She usually waits for her walks by laying on the couch in the other room, where she can look out the window at the street.

It's nice and all...but what I wouldn't give to have a Tesco and decent chip shop in walking distance :unsure:

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Thanks! Very nice! I'm glad the space is working out better for you,  your wife and the dog!

I was in Edinburgh a few years ago. Just for 5 days. That's all it took to make me really miss the pubs.

We don't have pubs. We have bars. I don't like bars. I like pubs.

But I hope you find yourself a reasonable facsimile of a Tesco and a chip shop. 

I have SuperStore and a fondness for McDonald's fries. ^_^

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Goes to show that a huge carpenter's bench isn't really necessary to do great luthery work. 

I really really like the finish on the top in the f hole pic posted.

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16 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

I like the big detail shots.  Thanks for posting the pics.  Nice shop space.

I'm glad the pictures work...I used to resize everything to 800x600 or so...but we looked on my wife's tablet and I think the internet resizes things better now.  I recall clicking on images from MNet years ago and things would be really zoomed in.

14 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

Goes to show that a huge carpenter's bench isn't really necessary to do great luthery work. 

I really really like the finish on the top in the f hole pic posted.

Thanks Nick.  I started trying to get lots of color on top of the winter wood...I think it helps colors blend better, and opens up more color levels to play with for antiquing.  I think the strong offset can really liven up the belly when doing lighter varnishes as well:

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Although probably not to everyone's taste...

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2 hours ago, Matthew Hannafin said:

Thanks Nick.  I started trying to get lots of color on top of the winter wood...I think it helps colors blend better, and opens up more color levels to play with for antiquing.  I think the strong offset can really liven up the belly when doing lighter varnishes as well:

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Although probably not to everyone's taste...

I got that by accident on some parts of a violin I'm working on, and because I'm still a noob, I don't quite understand what's going on. How do you get that effect, and how do you prevent it?

 

Looks beautiful on yours, BTW.  :) 

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19 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

How do you get that effect, and how do you prevent it?

Hiya Fox, thanks for the kind words.  Don't take any of my varnishing advice too seriously...I'm probably not the person on these boards to be handing out varnish ideas :unsure:

That being said...I think the effect just has a lot to do with the texture of the wood.  I think if you don't want this effect at all, just raise the grain of the spruce, and lightly scrape it back down before you begin varnishing.  I don't know how you like to apply your varnish, but if a little spot develops when applying a color coat, it's pretty easy to brush with the grain lightly and it might pull the color up out of the heart wood.  If you brush firmly across the grain going "uphill" you can put color into any slightly recessed heartwood (the corduroy texture has to be there).

I started deliberately putting color into the heart wood fairly early on in the process if I know I want that effect.  Basically I raise the grain of the belly, and then just skip scraping it back down, and proceed to put on the ground.  Once satisfied that the wood is properly sealed up, I use a little swatch of linen folded into a pad, and put a few drops of varnish on the belly, and rub that around, and gradually start sprinkling pigment onto the piece and rub it in.  The pad basically smooshes pigment into the recessed heart wood, and all the varnish does is act like a binder.  Nothing really sticks to the summer wood...I guess it gets a bit darker...but if you go to a clean spot of the pad it will pull color back up and you can go back and forth until you're happy with the effect.

With controlling the wood texture, you can also control what spots get the dark heart wood and where it fades.  I've been mixing some greyish/greenish hues into the wood in those spots too...I don't know...I think spruce is hard to make look interesting....maple is just like, wipe some stuff on and (boom!) flames and excitement everywhere.

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Thank you for the advice!

That looks beautiful when it's consistent like that! I personally like either 'dirty all over' like yours, or 'brand-new' looking, but on my attempts I had a mix of clean and dirty spots that made it look inconsistent. ...that and crackling on the varnish (I like the crackling, though). I still have a long ways to go learning all this stuff!  :) 

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