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PhilipKT

Interesting french(?) cello

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On 2/15/2019 at 2:34 AM, Jwillis said:

Obviously better quality than pressed wood ha 

I've seen and had a lot of JTLs through my hands over the years. Maybe I've just been lucky, but there's only been one which I would say definitively was pressed wood. And that wasn't a Medio-Fino.

As far as I can see JTL generally - there are of course exceptions - used the Medio-Fino outline and arching up through their range- Dulcis, Phebe, numbered grades,  many "copie de", etc. Probably due to their having used some sort of duplicating carver. And the one I saw wasn't strictly speaking, pressed - I'd say the back was made from two bent sheets, centre jointed and then carved. I couldn't say definitively if the same method had been used on the front.

But maybe exports to the States were a different matter?

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1 hour ago, Eryri said:

I've seen and had a lot of JTLs through my hands over the years. Maybe I've just been lucky, but there's only been one which I would say definitively was pressed wood. And that wasn't a Medio-Fino.

As far as I can see JTL generally - there are of course exceptions - used the Medio-Fino outline and arching up through their range- Dulcis, Phebe, numbered grades,  many "copie de", etc. Probably due to their having used some sort of duplicating carver. And the one I saw wasn't strictly speaking, pressed - I'd say the back was made from two bent sheets, centre jointed and then carved. I couldn't say definitively if the same method had been used on the front.

But maybe exports to the States were a different matter?

They may look carved but the vast majority of lower level JTL violins are "violons gaufrés" or waffle violins. The only real way to spot this is to sight through the endpin and check how the plates sit against the top block. In most cases you will find there is a big gap in the centre of the block, denoting that there is no carved platform.

This is one of the ways in which JTL and other Mirecourt workshops managed to make very successful sounding violins at absurdly low prices.

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So did JTL buy up the Derazey and Mangenot names and brands and use them in their Medio Fino instruments ?

Or are they just fake brands ?

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definitely not - there was a time when Paul Mangenot owned the Derazey brand, so maybe this is P Mangenot and not J Mangenot.

But to be honest it doesn't look like a Paul Mangenot or a Medio Fino to me.

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4 hours ago, martin swan said:

They may look carved but the vast majority of lower level JTL violins are "violons gaufrés" or waffle violins.

Not in my experience.

In my workshop just now - just checked - 2 Medio-Fino's, a "Copie de " Strad, a JTL 6 all do not exhibit this. As I said above, it is sometimes seen, but it most definitely not the method of construction seen in the majority.

The wood on most Medio Finos, Me Fis and Phebe's is plain in any case - why would you  make a constructionally compromised and difficult joint, when all you are replacing is the cheapest plain wood?

Seeing as JTL bought trees and had their own wood yard, wood must have been almost zero cost to them anyway.

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I don't understand your point. Pressing plates doesn't save on wood particularly, it saves on carving time (enormously).

Patrick Kreit once posted a lot of useful information (he worked in Mirecourt and knows what he is talking about). If you are unaware of this phenomenon, perhaps you are looking purely at earlier JTL stuff.

 

 Gaufré violins were sold at a very low price, in response to economic difficulties just after World War I. They were not intended to replace of hand made violins in series. They are still considered to be student instruments and are sold by French luthiers at a reasonable price.

 

-         On gaufré violins you can sometimes see a hint of brown due to overheating on the top plates and most often, on the back plates, inside the    sounding box.

-         On the intrados of the back plate, the joint often reveals different thicknesses for each half-plate.

-         There is a little empty space beneath the back plate’s cleats due to the shape of the arch on the intrados, or else a blob of glue to fill the gap.

-         Under the upper and lower blocks there is either a gap or a mass of glue or sometimes a little wedge of spruce or maple to fill it when deformation of the back or top plates was too great; likewise for the corners. You understand immediately that the violin is gaufré.

 

JTL probably made various qualities of gaufré violins, or else, with time and experience, the technique improved. Back plates and top plates were gaufréed with an identical mould and then cut to the outline of different violin models, which could yield a different arch shape.

 

Some gaufré violins are so well finished that they can be mistaken for workshop instruments. The flat surfaces of their upper and lower blocks are perfectly adjusted and do not reveal whether or not they are gaufré. The corners are properly glued on the flat edge, with nary a gap that would denote gaufrage. All these violins have spirit varnish. Sometimes a very close inspection of the entire construction is required to recognize them.

The most distinctive aspect of a gaufré violin is the shape of the arching on the extrados of the back plate. The flat “platform” on the upper and lower edges is wider than on a handmade violin and the arch forms a hump at the center of the transverse cross-section, sometimes with a slight ridge due to the joint’s edges having pushed up.

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

I don't understand your point. Pressing plates doesn't save on wood particularly, it saves on carving time (enormously).

Patrick Kreit once posted a lot of useful information (he worked in Mirecourt and knows what he is talking about). If you are unaware of this phenomenon, perhaps you are looking purely at earlier JTL stuff - certainly Mi-Fins were phased out by the time the waffle production method was adopted.

 

 Gaufré violins were sold at a very low price, in response to economic difficulties just after World War I. They were not intended to replace of hand made violins in series. They are still considered to be student instruments and are sold by French luthiers at a reasonable price.

 

-         On gaufré violins you can sometimes see a hint of brown due to overheating on the top plates and most often, on the back plates, inside the    sounding box.

-         On the intrados of the back plate, the joint often reveals different thicknesses for each half-plate.

-         There is a little empty space beneath the back plate’s cleats due to the shape of the arch on the intrados, or else a blob of glue to fill the gap.

-         Under the upper and lower blocks there is either a gap or a mass of glue or sometimes a little wedge of spruce or maple to fill it when deformation of the back or top plates was too great; likewise for the corners. You understand immediately that the violin is gaufré.

 

JTL probably made various qualities of gaufré violins, or else, with time and experience, the technique improved. Back plates and top plates were gaufréed with an identical mould and then cut to the outline of different violin models, which could yield a different arch shape.

 

Some gaufré violins are so well finished that they can be mistaken for workshop instruments. The flat surfaces of their upper and lower blocks are perfectly adjusted and do not reveal whether or not they are gaufré. The corners are properly glued on the flat edge, with nary a gap that would denote gaufrage. All these violins have spirit varnish. Sometimes a very close inspection of the entire construction is required to recognize them.

The most distinctive aspect of a gaufré violin is the shape of the arching on the extrados of the back plate. The flat “platform” on the upper and lower edges is wider than on a handmade violin and the arch forms a hump at the center of the transverse cross-section, sometimes with a slight ridge due to the joint’s edges having pushed up.

Yes, that's indeed what I was talking about. 

And the violin I had, which had been made this way, was as this says, post WW1, and was the standard JTL outline and arching.

But we're not talking about a majority here (They may look carved but the vast majority of lower level JTL violins are "violons gaufrés" or waffle violins.) - as far as I'm concerned its a fairly infrequently met phenomenon.

I'd quibble that it saved carving time - JTL undoubtedly had a carving machine, and in any case, all this saves is the basic roughing out, which even if done by hand - which I dispute, at JTL -  is not the slow bit of carving an arching.  And making the centre joint would be very much more difficult, as I'm sure you can imagine. Any time you saved on roughing out the arching would be more than lost on making the joint, reconciling the lack of block platforms etc.

A post WW1 shortage of seasoned wood would be a more convincing explanation. Thinner wood would need less seasoning, and of course this construction method would use less material, if it was in short supply.

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I love reading the comments here, because I always learn stuff. I posted other photographs on a different post about the damage to the top, but I’m going to share them here as well.

I looked up Mangenot and Derazey and Mangenot apprenticed with Derezay,  but the initial here appears to be “H” for Honore. Also, that’s neither a label nor a brand, it appears to be a weak rubber stamp.

The damage to the top is pretty extreme, with multiple very long cracks that require extensive restoration work, and the cello is in Connecticut, which is full of educated people, but if you guys think it has possibilities, I’m going to investigate further.

F0DA7074-C33D-4DE8-91C0-9528A40A6820.jpeg

ACED33F8-F847-49CE-A9E3-8A00EC81F199.jpeg

BFE19A02-5AFC-409C-969B-71FA0098C346.jpeg

21E152D0-51A9-46EF-BC86-6915BA43155C.jpeg

4A82D851-4F14-4E06-A2B4-D2FB6048C46D.jpeg

2B15A29B-71B7-49D1-9A69-F73199C6E18B.jpeg

0AEEF97D-BAF0-4621-A0BC-1CE13757FE28.jpeg

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To me I don't see much Medio-Fino here ... 

It looks like a Mirecourt cello of average quality, pretty buggered but worth redeeming. I would ignore the Mangenot and Derazey markings, since the cello is neither a Derazey nor a Paul Mangenot (though it could be something finished and sold by Mangenot).

 

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Eryri said:

 

But we're not talking about a majority here - as far as I'm concerned its a fairly infrequently met phenomenon.

I'd quibble that it saved carving time - JTL undoubtedly had a carving machine, and in any case, all this saves is the basic roughing out, which even if done by hand - which I dispute, at JTL -  is not the slow bit of carving an arching.  And making the centre joint would be very much more difficult, as I'm sure you can imagine. Any time you saved on roughing out the arching would be more than lost on making the joint, reconciling the lack of block platforms etc.

A post WW1 shortage of seasoned wood would be a more convincing explanation. Thinner wood would need less seasoning, and of course this construction method would use less material, if it was in short supply.

  •  

Perhaps you need to up your sample size. The majority of C20 Mirecourt violins are made in this way.

The waffle violin is made out of plates of uniform thickness, pressed into shape in a mould - there is no carving at all. The joints are quickly made by holding both plates together and running them along a plane - these joints are far from perfect, which is why the cleats are always present. 

As Patrick states, you need to know what to look for and then look pretty carefully at a lot of Mirecourt violins before you will start to see the telltale signs. One is the lack of a platform for the blocks, one is the gap between cleat and back seam (which I think i see in the OP cello), another the discrepancy in thickness between two halves of the back or table, another the fact that the plates can fit badly on the garland since the centre joint often ends up losing a bit of wood ...

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

. One is the lack of a platform for the blocks, one is the gap between cleat and back seam (which I think i see in the OP cello),

Martin, are you suggesting that this instrument is laminated?( that’s what I understand from your comment that plates of uniform thickness were pressed into shape.)

Maybe the additional pictures will provide clarity but it sure looks like a carved instrument to my uneducated eye.

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No

The method we are discussing involved creating the arching by pressing plates of solid wood into shape - no lamination involved.

They look exactly the same as carved instruments, aside from some very specific inner details.

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22 minutes ago, martin swan said:

No

The method we are discussing involved creating the arching by pressing plates of solid wood into shape - no lamination involved.

They look exactly the same as carved instruments, aside from some very specific inner details.

Ok, but then how were the graduations achieved? Or were they ignored?

can you tell whether this instrument fits that description? The top will certainly need to come off, so we can satisfy everyone’s curiosity, at least.

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50 minutes ago, martin swan said:
  •  

Perhaps you need to up your sample size. The majority of C20 Mirecourt violins are made in this way.

 

I don't think so. This is not a position which accords with facts. This is something occasionally seen, yes, a majority of 20th centure Mirecourt violins are pressed? No...

And in any case, this was the assertion

"They may look carved but the vast majority of lower level JTL violins are "violons gaufrés" or waffle violins."

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One of my most challenging ever restoration was re-jointing a two piece back on a stunning Collin-Mezin cello with (as per usual) stunning wood.  The problem was that it had started as flat pieces which had been subject to uninvited excess moisture and were desperately trying to get back the the flat position. So it wasn't just low end JTL's.

I don't think that most of the time they look "exactly the same as carved instruments", distortion are often seen on fronts on the f'hole wings, and I have seen dozens of dipped centre joints, mostly top or bottom of the back. Visually, medullary rays are generally too consistent across, something which is not seen on carved wood. The light refraction I suspect will be also much more consistent longitudinally on pressed wood, and totally variable on carved belly.

 

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21 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Ok, but then how were the graduations achieved? Or were they ignored?

can you tell whether this instrument fits that description? The top will certainly need to come off, so we can satisfy everyone’s curiosity, at least.

Ignored ... 

No idea if it fits the description. The back seam and the cleats look a bit that way but I honestly don't know if cellos were made in this way. 

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

Ignored ... 

No idea if it fits the description. The back seam and the cleats look a bit that way but I honestly don't know if cellos were made in this way. 

Apparently so.

Have a 20's Laberte in the workshop as it happens, will check it out tomorrow.

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1 minute ago, Ratcliffiddles said:

One of my most challenging ever restoration was re-jointing a two piece back on a stunning Collin-Mezin cello with (as per usual) stunning wood.  The problem was that it had started as flat pieces which had been subject to uninvited excess moisture and were desperately trying to get back the the flat position. So it wasn't just low end JTL's.

I don't think that most of the time they look "exactly the same as carved instruments", distortion are often seen on fronts on the f'hole wings, and I have seen dozens of dipped centre joints, mostly top or bottom of the back. Visually, medullary rays are generally too consistent across, something which is not seen on carved wood. The light refraction I suspect will be also much more consistent longitudinally on pressed wood, and totally variable on carved belly.

 

Of course you're right - I meant that to Eryri they might look exactly the same!

Interesting to know that the technique was used for cellos too. I must have had a few hundred violins made in this way, but I avoid cellos on the basis that you can only really carry one at a time ...

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