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However old one gets, one is always repeatedly confronted with violins by makers who one has never heard of, and from places one would not expect.

 

A case in point is this casualty. A violin from Krakau, made in 1959 by Jan Chamot. Should one repair the broken off button as I described here https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330042-violin-id-and-repair-advice/&do=findComment&comment=617534

the violin will be able to resume its career in mint, unretouched condition, where nobody would even believe you that it has been repaired at all.

 

I have no idea which “School” one may put Herr Chamot into (perhaps somebody knows more). We have had threads on who and where fitted linings that go from top to bottom, over the corner blocks, and it would seem that one may add Chamol, Krakau to this list. From the “Cornerblockology” perspective, this has corner blocks with an equilateral triangle plan view, which would suggest blocks shoved in afterwards into ribs made in an outside mould. Lo and behold, in the couple of pictures that came with the fiddle, we see Mr. Chamot, sitting at his bench with a grim look on his face next to an outside mould!

 

Another curious feature is his bass bar, which seems to have been inspired by the architecture of some baroque catholic church. Further he has left a, carved out (not stuck in like for instance Deganni) ridge all the way along the back joint. This invites speculation what advantage he expected from this. Another cute feature is how the eyes of the scroll have pupils

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24 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Further he has left a, carved out (not stuck in like for instance Deganni) ridge all the way along the back joint. This invites speculation what advantage he expected from this

I don't know if he had it in his mind, but the ridge at the bottom joint (as well as the same at the belly) is another very old feature used by the Allemannische Schule and some old Hardanger fiddles.

I remember that I once had a very fine made viola by a contemporary Polish maker (I'll probably recall the name later^_^) which I bought shortly before the wall opened but the Polish people were free to travel to West Berlin - I bought it for the equivalent of a family meal in a restaurant.

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Another greatly informative, and well-written as well as illustrated, post, Jacob.  Thanks much.  :)

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OT:  I have to ask - as I scrutinize at the interior rooms of these old photos - and I do, because I love the 'real' glimpses back in time, when the antiques were NOT antiques...I have to wonder;

These rooms always look dingy and dirty.  They had to have been clean and pristine at some point right?  Or did they just make them look dirty from day 1?  Maybe so housekeepers didn't get too depressed? :ph34r:

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14 minutes ago, Rue said:

These rooms always look dingy and dirty.

In my eyes the floors and cupboards seem to be very tidy. Maybe you are confusing the perspective of the fisheye lenses they used for better view and exposure with constriction and dinginess?

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Tidy and dirty are two very different things.

I'm looking at the dirty walls, etc.

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I think that's nothing than an effect of the old sepia b/w photography to which we aren't used anymore, and the way it was reproduced in prints with little points.

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It could be! :) I'm keeping an open mind...(but secretly, I still think it's dirt  :ph34r:...)...

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Typical room decoration in Poland was, and still sometimes is, distemper decorated with patterns in a contrasting colour made using a roller with a carved rubber surface or stencils. I think this is what the photos show and the distemper has a matt and slightly dusty look which could be confused with dirt.

 

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

These rooms always look dingy and dirty.  They had to have been clean and pristine at some point right?  Or did they just make them look dirty from day 1?  Maybe so housekeepers didn't get too depressed? :ph34r:

I wonder what Canadian walls look like:)

1 hour ago, Blank face said:

I remember that I once had a very fine made viola by a contemporary Polish maker (I'll probably recall the name later^_^) which I bought shortly before the wall opened but the Polish people were free to travel to West Berlin - I bought it for the equivalent of a family meal in a restaurant.

It was similar here too the day the “Iron Curtain” fell. From one day to the next, all movable old violins got instantly sucked out of Hungary to convert into D-Mark, and Vienna was chock-a-block with Trabants, filled to the rafters with bananas, with a washing machine on the roof-rack, parking on pavements/in the middle of the road or wherever. In the meantime, I have the impression that antique violins are more expensive in Budapest that in Vienna, probably because they haven’t got many left.

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I have no idea which “School” one may put Herr Chamol into (perhaps somebody knows more).

Hi Jacob, thank you for posting this here, so nice to see such a violin here. The maker is Jan ChamoT (for some reason it looks like a L). My father is a professional violinist who played in a philharmonic orchestra near Krakow. The first "good" violin he got during his education as a child was a Chamot violin, he reminds this moment very often. 

Regarding the school: I can't say much regarding the making method but I am pretty sure that Chamot learned in the official violin making school in Nowy Targ, which has been closed in the 70's. I spent a week or so learning in Nowy Targ in the workshop of Jan Bobak, who afaik also learned the craft in this violin making school in Nowy Targ (near Zakopane). Later he worked together with Michael Darnton at Bill Lee's workshop in Chicago for some time until he got back to Nowy Targ and opened his own workshop. I am pretty sure he could give you more insight into the typical making tradition of that time.

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59 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I wonder what Canadian walls look like:)

Do they have walls in Canada at all? I thought they are preferring fresh air.:P

1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

Vienna was chock-a-block with Trabants, filled to the rafters with bananas, with a washing machine on the roof-rack, parking on pavements/in the middle of the road or wherever.

This was what I saw that morning, too, looking out of my window.;)

One year later we had a stop in Budapest, and there was one shop at the fleamarket with hundreds of violins, but all of minor quality and more expensive than what I was use from home. Finally we bought a pair of fine riding boots for the girl only, which were a steal.

And I remember the name of the viola maker now, it was Krysztof Mróz from Wroclaw. Nice reddish varnish and exceptional wood.

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2 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Do they have walls in Canada at all? I thought they are preferring fresh air.:P

 

By now you should know that we live in igloos in the winter and teepees in the summer. 

Yes lots of fresh air.

The visitors and tourists live in RVs , by and large.

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2 minutes ago, hendrik said:

By now you should know that we live in igloos in the winter and teepees in the summer. 

The other way round it would work, too. Not too hot inside during the summer.B)

At least we could live here in Teepees all the year, just one or two days with a few snowflakes.

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15 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

 

Regarding the school: I can't say much regarding the making method but I am pretty sure that Chamot learned in the official violin making school in Nowy Targ, which has been closed in the 70's. I spent a week or so learning in Nowy Targ in the workshop of Jan Bobak, who afaik also learned the craft in this violin making school in Nowy Targ (near Zakopane). Later he worked together with Michael Darnton at Bill Lee's workshop in Chicago for some time until he got back to Nowy Targ and opened his own workshop. I am pretty sure he could give you more insight into the typical making tradition of that time.

Thanks! It would be interesting to know from Michael, (should he read this thread) if the carved ridge along the back-joint was propogated in Nowy Targ, or the linings over the corner blocks, not to mention the pupils on the scroll „eyes“, should he have any knowledge on this. I take it that the shape of the bass bar was an individual flamboyance

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Maybe it's speculative, but the scroll looks so different from the refined workmanship of the body that it makes me think he took a prefabricated neck with scroll from Schönbach. The "pupils" could be a way to add some personality to it.

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4 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Maybe it's speculative, but the scroll looks so different from the refined workmanship of the body that it makes me think he took a prefabricated neck with scroll from Schönbach. The "pupils" could be a way to add some personality to it.

Yes, speculation for sure. I had being speculating the other way around. The fact that the scroll had a bit of a "made with a knife and fork" felling, suggested to me that at least he hadn't bought himself a scroll:)

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44 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Thanks! It would be interesting to know from Michael, (should he read this thread) if the carved ridge along the back-joint was propogated in Nowy Targ, or the linings over the corner blocks, not to mention the pupils on the scroll „eyes“, should he have any knowledge on this. I take it that the shape of the bass bar was an individual flamboyance

 

I worked with Jan Bobak at the Lee shop when it was just getting going. I am not sure but it seems Michael joined us some time later and I am not sure Jan was still there. We had a number of Poles working in the shop some of whom went back to Poland like Jan and others who stayed to this day. As far as I know they were all trained in Nowy Targ or Zakopane and used  a standard inside form construction although one of the reasons they were hired was because they were willing to do whatever they were asked and there may have been other methods which they had used in the past but didn't share with us.

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His base bar is faintly reminiscent of scalloped guitar braces on Martin Guitars from the 20's /30's... although the "peaks" placement is quite exaggerated towards the ends of the bar.

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4 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I worked with Jan Bobak at the Lee shop when it was just getting going. I am not sure but it seems Michael joined us some time later and I am not sure Jan was still there. We had a number of Poles working in the shop some of whom went back to Poland like Jan and others who stayed to this day. As far as I know they were all trained in Nowy Targ or Zakopane and used  a standard inside form construction although one of the reasons they were hired was because they were willing to do whatever they were asked and there may have been other methods which they had used in the past but didn't share with us.

Ah that is interesting. Actually Jan told me that he worked also with M. Darnton... He (and his son) do not use any of these features nowadays but work to the "modern average standard" with inside mold and purfling inlaid before box assembly. 

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...we have an assortment of walls here in Canada...^_^

None are overly old however...nothing made of stone from the 1200s or anything close...

I also wish our house had more walls - not a fan of open concept...:angry:

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10 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

he has left a, carved out (not stuck in like for instance Deganni) ridge all the way along the back joint. This invites speculation what advantage he expected from this.

Since we have been invited...

I see two obvious advantages.  1) A vast increase in the gluing area of the centerline joint, and 2) some longitudinal stiffening of the back plate without adding much mass.

I should re-qualify 2) as a "feature" rather than an advantage, as there is no factual basis for judging that increased stiffness is an advantage or detriment.

In any case, this is one of the few non-standard violin features that I have seen that seems somewhat attractive and worth trying.  Maybe.  Some day.

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

Since we have been invited...

I see two obvious advantages.  1) A vast increase in the gluing area of the centerline joint, and 2) some longitudinal stiffening of the back plate without adding much mass.

I should re-qualify 2) as a "feature" rather than an advantage, as there is no factual basis for judging that increased stiffness is an advantage or detriment.

In any case, this is one of the few non-standard violin features that I have seen that seems somewhat attractive and worth trying.  Maybe.  Some day.

Much of what I was thinking - with the added advantage that it might make it a little easier to "corral" a fleeing soundpost.

cheers edi

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