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On 5/27/2020 at 4:45 PM, David Burgess said:

How did I start?

I was sitting in a bar one night. All the usuals were were conspicuously displaying their fake Mercedes, BMW, and Rolls Royce key fobs on the bartop, so I wan't gettin' no action.

Out of boredom and despair, I started reading the advertising on the matchbooks. (Anyone remember matches?) :lol:

The writing on one said, "Make violins for fun and profit. Enroll in the Specs Howard school of violinmaking."

But the clincher was that at the bottom, in fine print and parentheses, was written "losta girls". Well hawt diggety dawg! :):):)

 :D

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7 minutes ago, Larry F said:

 If it was a tit-for-tat interaction he might have been nicer.;)  I've tried to be nice, but I do remember being kind of rude to a violin making student that walked in to my shop one day and was picking up my tools, running his finger over the edges, and commenting about how they could be sharper.  I ignored him and he left in a huff.   Later on he mentioned to someone that I was very rude.  Elephants do have long memories, but they also have thick skins, and are known to throw large stones a people with their trunks for a considerable distance.  I think I read in a book somewhere that elephants are the most dangerous animals in the zoo.  When memories of rude people intrude, putting on a CD of ICP is sometimes helpful.

 

LOL...Hi Larry!!! :D

Yes...there are always 2 sides to every story, and 2 different takes on any event!

Gee...I hope Don wasn't criticizing Basil J. Hooker's tools! :ph34r:

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Rachell66,

I am not trying to discourage you but since you asked "why not?" I will give you an answer. The reason not to start with repairs is that beginners are not  likely to recognize instruments of either monetary or historical value and may do irreparable damage even in the course of minor repairs. On the other hand amateur violin making only risks some wood and time both of which belong to the maker and are theirs to do with what they like. 

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5 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Rachell66,

I am not trying to discourage you but since you asked "why not?" I will give you an answer. The reason not to start with repairs is that beginners are not  likely to recognize instruments of either monetary or historical value and may do irreparable damage even in the course of minor repairs. 

I messed around with "repairs" for 20+ years before I got up the courage to make a violin of my own.  The crucial thing is that these were all my own violins that I was working on, the cheapest beaters that I could pick up, and many were practiced upon and experimented with until they were total trash.   I certainly agree that a beginner shouldn't work on someone else's violins, particularly if they're worth anything.  But surgery on cadavers is a good way to learn.

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On 5/26/2020 at 2:08 PM, Rue said:

It's interesting...in general...how a negative interaction can stay with you forever.

Way back when, in 2004, in my old MN incarnation, I asked a beginner question (because I was even more a beginner than I am now :rolleyes:)...and received a very rude reply...by a still active MN member.  I won't mention their name.

It wasn't a tit-for-tat interaction.  It was a student-teacher interaction, much like Don's negative experience.

I doubt the MNer would remember our interaction, but I do.

Not just elephants have good memories...:P

I feel your pain Rue. I have experimented and done A TON of repairs I have never been trained to do and have never considered myself a luthier. Mostly on junk instruments but occasionally on friends instruments or schools and youth orchestra etc because they couldn't afford real repairs.

I post my "repairs" here anyway to get feed back and learn. To that end I've received all sorts of comments that are really funny to read! Frequently one comment will raise my confidence and the next will tear me done to shreds and a few have have scarred me for life lol! But I have to a tendency to truck on anyway so I do.

I went and looked up one of my first repair posts here and nearly laughed myself to death! And I'm so thankful I've learned so much from all the comments. AND the first and last comment were by fellow! Oh the memories...

 

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I had been wanting to try to make a violin for a long time but did not think it was doable.  After a visit to Michaelangelo's David and bumping into a luthier shop in Firenze, I decided to try.  I used Harry Wake's book and got plenty of help here on Maestronet.  I made a few dozen before moving to guitar making - the designer in me got bored.  Anyway, I have come back with a new design just the other day.  I'm now considering a cello of the same design as this....

fiolin 5.JPG

fiolin 4.JPG

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3 hours ago, murray kuun said:

 

fiolin 5.JPG

 

Cool! Here's the first thing I ever made from 2008, she's being renovated this pandemic season.

I read the Wake and Strobel books when I was younger but couldn't understand either. They are good books and i still have them somewhere. Then I dug through the internet when it became a thing and combed maestronet for info when it used to be a couple of guys posting short paragraphs. Took a couple of years of netscaping, many hours at the music library reading journals, Strad, and String mags and boxes of junk instruments to figure out how was why was what... It was FUN!!!

first thing I ever made.jpeg

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On 5/28/2020 at 10:37 PM, Don Noon said:

I messed around with "repairs" for 20+ years before I got up the courage to make a violin of my own.  The crucial thing is that these were all my own violins that I was working on, the cheapest beaters that I could pick up, and many were practiced upon and experimented with until they were total trash.   I certainly agree that a beginner shouldn't work on someone else's violins, particularly if they're worth anything.  But surgery on cadavers is a good way to learn.

:D

 

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14 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I messed around with "repairs" for 20+ years before I got up the courage to make a violin of my own.  The crucial thing is that these were all my own violins that I was working on, the cheapest beaters that I could pick up, and many were practiced upon and experimented with until they were total trash.   I certainly agree that a beginner shouldn't work on someone else's violins, particularly if they're worth anything.  But surgery on cadavers is a good way to learn.

My hat is off to you Don for being a maker! I think it takes great skill and patience to make the whole instrument. I have worked four museum conservation department positions and while the repairs are careful and the retouches are treated like inpainting, there is no mystery in it.  ...and if we were working shop hourly labor rates, we wouldn't make it!

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49 minutes ago, Larry F said:

"Surgery on cadavers"-makes sense.  I just figured that when you quit making rockets, you got a set of violin blueprints and set to work making great instruments.  Surprised to hear you went the repair route.   My own experience is that repairs, at least "fine repairs and restorations" takes more skill than just making a new instrument.

I failed to mention that in the mid 1970's, a community college offered a free course on instrument repair... mostly strings.  So I went to that, and learned the early basics.  Not enough to dare working on good stuff, but enough to bash around on my own junk to learn things.

When it comes to complex repairs, or invisible repairs, and varnish touch-up, I still won't attempt anything like that on someone else's fine instrument.  But in new making, there are inevitable oopsies that need some of the repair skills.

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I may be one of very few here who never got any piece of luthiery or even woodworking course. I don't build violins but mandolins (but I believe I could just as well build violins). I learned woodworking skills by carving things from wood since I was a boy, repairing "lost cases" instruments (and whatever stuff that needed repairs). I learned everything just by reading few basic books on woodworking and luthiery (the few that were available in libraries) and studying instruments I held in my hands. And of course by making lots of mistakes. I had to make my own tools (which helped tremendously with understanding how they work and how to use them effectively) etc. I'm believer that if you desire and have the passion for this job you can learn it alone especially in this age when so much information is available on internet (though ever-growing ratio of misinformation on the internet is making it harder again) and availability of many special tools and materials to everyone.

But as fas as I remember it all started when I was 14 or so with old broken guitar from my grandpa's attic. The top was completely toast so I decided to make new one - it's just a a piece of wood - I managed to find some books where I learned it should be split spruce and I got few shingles from old guy showing traditional shingle making at country fair (traditional shingles here are wedge shaped made of spruce just like violin wedges). I split thinner pieces of the shingles and nanaged to glue a 5 piece top but during planing (with small hobby plane with razor blades instead of real iron) I just planed a hole through it  so I had to find out more how it's done... and never stopped finding out new things to this day.

I wanted to get some luthiery education but there were no luthiers in the country and no school either back then. There was a brief period when local woodworking school had an instrument making course (vith a luthier who fled Yugoslavia during the balkan war) but I was already oother school. I knew few guys in that course and visited them in the school workshop to see how they are working (I already had a bit of experience of my own). I asked the luthier whether I could learn making (not being student of the school) and he while not being rude siply told me "of course, I can give you four weekend course for x amount of money". Well the sum he asked was more than my dad and mother together earned in a year so I took it as sign that he either doesn't want apprentices or the job is so lucrative it is worth the money. Sadly his teaching was not very good and none of the students became luthiers...

To say the truth I'm not a pro luthier (I'm a teacher, building in my spare time) but I sold all my instruments without any marketing or advertisement and I generally have few potential buyers in line for next instruments I'm building and my friends often ask me why do I still teach and don't just jump into making fulltime luthiery (teaching is grossly underpaid here).

 

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17 hours ago, viola_license_revoked said:

Cool! Here's the first thing I ever made from 2008, she's being renovated this pandemic season.

I read the Wake and Strobel books when I was younger but couldn't understand either. They are good books and i still have them somewhere. Then I dug through the internet when it became a thing and combed maestronet for info when it used to be a couple of guys posting short paragraphs. Took a couple of years of netscaping, many hours at the music library reading journals, Strad, and String mags and boxes of junk instruments to figure out how was why was what... It was FUN!!!

first thing I ever made.jpeg

Will you look at that, jolly nice.

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I had no interest in violins at all, until I got transferred to a new prison, and shared a cell with this old European guy, who had been jailed for fraudulently selling fake Stradivaris to banks and investment funds.

He explained that as they knew nothing about violins, and were only motivated by greed for profits, you could sell them literally anything ;)

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HoGo—Adrian Minarovic—is one of the best parts of my (recent and very humble) start in making.  He posts often at Mandolincafe.com, and his contributions are always helpful, down to earth, and polite.   He had good advice when I wrote to him about my own mandolin making.  What’s more, he drew F5 mandolin plans that are regarded as the gold standard in mandolin making.

I love hand tools, and I am constantly baffled by the amazing work he produces with tools I wouldn’t bother to pick up at a yard sale.  

I think of him a little like I do Davide Sora:  we’ll never meet, but he’s a teacher and an inspiration.  

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8 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

I had no interest in violins at all, until I got transferred to a new prison, and shared a cell with this old European guy, who had been jailed for fraudulently selling fake Stradivaris to banks and investment funds.

He explained that as they knew nothing about violins, and were only motivated by greed for profits, you could sell them literally anything ;)

:lol:spacer.png

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12 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

I had no interest in violins at all, until I got transferred to a new prison, and shared a cell with this old European guy, who had been jailed for fraudulently selling fake Stradivaris to banks and investment funds.

He explained that as they knew nothing about violins, and were only motivated by greed for profits, you could sell them literally anything ;)

do i know you? :D

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11 hours ago, David Burgess said:

:lol:spacer.png

 

7 hours ago, JohnCockburn said:

do i know you? :D

I don't think so.
All that was a lifetime ago, when I was part of a crew making copies of luxury cars, supercars and hypercars, which we sold to the sons of dictators in exchange for diamonds.
For a few years this went really well, but we had not bargained on what might happen when the cars were sold on, and entered the second hand market.
It was then that people began to suspect something was amiss...

bugatti-veywrong.jpg.4bc1c6b64937a10d85c7735ba2162fc5.jpg

Countach.jpg.f393de118a6e10b9e621e85d2a218f31.jpg

F40.png.1f6853627f8f5071b282ce161c042814.png

1588887929_Rollsbeetle.jpg.ee508417d687ca9840ccd7397e9ebcc9.jpg

254903765_GeneralLee.jpg.586683252e01c653bd787a6c0b4b3dcb.jpg

658441706_Prattmobile.jpg.0765ddb207896ebab3e64fcb2646d9ed.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I like the yellow one, because it looks like it would be easy to make from flat sheets of plywood.  Do you have plans I could purchase? :)

I don’t have plans.
Maybe if Francois Dennis is prepared to do the drawings, and Jost Thone will take some pictures, I could speak to the Strad, and see if they would be prepared to make a poster of the Lamborghi-no.

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