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Andreas Preuss

Violin labeled George W. Dykes

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18 hours ago, Dave Slight said:

Ribs do not shrink along the grain.

If they have already shrunk across the grain before they are fitted, they might still shrink along the grain. 

 

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42 minutes ago, sospiri said:

If they have already shrunk across the grain before they are fitted, they might still shrink along the grain. 

 

Longitudinal shrinkage is typically up to 0.2%, so in an unseasoned rib with a length of say 30cm you would expect shrinkage along the length of 0.06cm or 0.6mm. In poorly seasoned wood, you might see contraction of about 0.1 mm (most of the shrinkage happens early on in the seasoning process). Multiply that by 2 and longitudinal shrinkage alone might cause a gap of 0.2mm in a two piece bottom rib. This wouldn't justify a purfling strip, more like a tiny skiff of runny glue to make it almost invisible, or some varnish.

It would seem that "shrinking rib syndrome" is more likely caused by other wood movements.

There is no way that a rib would have done all its crossgrain shrinkage before installation, and then suddenly decide to do a bit of longitudinal shrinkage once the violin is finished. You just don't see the crossgrain shrinkage because it doesn't cause any stresses other than the occasional end check at a corner block.

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Spruce and maple expand and contract the most due to moisture change as one travels around the growth rings (tangential), about half as much across the rings (radial), and very little along the length of the tree (longitudinal).

One can notice this as a log dries out. Cracks tend to form along the radial direction as the wood shrinkage on either side of the crack is due to the high rate of change in the tangential direction of the rings.

The rate of change due to moisture is similar among most maples and spruces used in violin making, although some maples can shrink a little more in the tangential direction than spruces.

 

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57 minutes ago, Delabo said:

So what is the purfling strip for in your opinion ?

There is no question that occasionally the bottom centre joint becomes open to the extent that it's unsightly, but I think this is likely to be to do with tops coming off and/or bottom blocks being replaced, and the ribs not going back tight. Or to do with movement in the plates ....

I'm sure that in most circumstances the purfling strip is overkill for the size of gap, but it sort of works because it can be seen elsewhere on the instrument.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

Longitudinal shrinkage is typically up to 0.2%, so in an unseasoned rib with a length of say 30cm you would expect shrinkage along the length of 0.06cm or 0.6mm. In poorly seasoned wood, you might see contraction of about 0.1 mm (most of the shrinkage happens early on in the seasoning process). Multiply that by 2 and longitudinal shrinkage alone might cause a gap of 0.2mm in a two piece bottom rib. This wouldn't justify a purfling strip, more like a tiny skiff of runny glue to make it almost invisible, or some varnish.

It would seem that "shrinking rib syndrome" is more likely caused by other wood movements.

There is no way that a rib would have done all its crossgrain shrinkage before installation, and then suddenly decide to do a bit of longitudinal shrinkage once the violin is finished. You just don't see the crossgrain shrinkage because it doesn't cause any stresses other than the occasional end check at a corner block.

I agree that most of the rib shrinkage will more likely be caused by other wood movements, but

I don't believe that the shrinkage rates are the same for strips of wood like ribs and boards like the belly and back.

Most of the capillary action is through the end grain in a board, yet it shrinks across the width. But what about a strip of wood like a rib, most of the capillary action will be at the sides not the end, so they season much more quickly.

I don't believe Strad's ribs have shrunk across the width, they were and are still an inch and a quarter. Have they shrunk along the length a tiny bit? Are there any original one piece ribs left?

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9 minutes ago, sospiri said:

I agree that most of the rib shrinkage will more likely be caused by other wood movements, but

I don't believe that the shrinkage rates are the same for strips of wood like ribs and boards like the belly and back.

Most of the capillary action is through the end grain in a board, yet it shrinks across the width. But what about a strip of wood like a rib, most of the capillary action will be at the sides not the end, so they season much more quickly.

I don't believe Strad's ribs have shrunk across the width, they were and are still an inch and a quarter. Have they shrunk along the length a tiny bit? Are there any original one piece ribs left?

We can argue ad infinitum about whether the earth is flat or not. Either you accept that wood has certain physical properties or you don't ... you seem to be ignoring the fact that wood is made out of moisture bearing tubes arranged lengthwise.

I recommend Bruce R Hoadley's excellent reference book "Understanding Wood".

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3 minutes ago, martin swan said:

We can argue ad infinitum about whether the earth is flat or not. Either you accept that wood has certain physical properties or you don't ... you seem to be ignoring the fact that wood is made out of moisture bearing tubes arranged lengthwise.

I recommend Bruce R Hoadley's excellent reference book "Understanding Wood".

You are ignoring my points. The moisture bearing tubes are also cut and exposed along the length.

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9 hours ago, Televet said:

Why would an ebony strip at the lower block be an indicator for an outside mould

The outside mould construction method is the only method of building a violin where making the joint at the lower block a bit tricky. 

As such the outside mould allows to work very fast because all can be done in one shot with no interruption because working with all other methods glued parts have to dry before the next step can be done. However if doing all in one shot really rapidly it is only logic to leave a rather wide gap at the lower block to be filled with an ebony strip (or whatever) I have done it myself. As a result the strip lands only in the true center when everything is measured again. (BTW the ebony strip of the pictured violin as well is not in the center.)

Just by percentage I have seen this strip more often on instruments of makers who are known to build on the outside mould than on others. 

This doesn't mean that a violin wide wood strip on the lower block  was necessarily made on the outside mould. It is an indicator. 

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Ladies and/or Gentlemen,

@martin swan @sospiri

it is always amusing or annoying (depends much on my daily mood) to see how a thread on MN starts with one topic and ends up in discussions (and eventually word fights) about something completely unrelated.

Though I have no doubt that Martin Swan is correct about the technical wood data (and therefore in theory he is correct) in practice it somehow looks different as sospiri correctly points out.

Basically with the ribs glued to the solid surface of the block they don't have really room to shrink, though it happens at the joint. 

The only explanation I can make here is that the rib is at the end grain side most sensitive to humidity changes. Because of its thinness the rib seems to absorb some moisture from the glue which will evaporate quickest through the end grain resulting in the gap we can see. (And if I remember correctly the gap is always v shaped in cross section. This means on the surface where the block doesn't hold it it just pulls back.)

From practice I know that no matter how well both sides of the ribs meeting at the lower block with drying the joint will open. We know anyway that a glue joint on two end grain surfaces is a kind of impossible especially on narrow surfaces. 

 

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Going back to the original post - (No, I haven't handles an original George Langton Dykes). Is it an amazing coincidence or somewhat suspicious that the text of the label is identical to the entry in Henley, including that the violin is 'No. 14? - the very same example? Dykes had appaently already produced 12 'splendidly constructed instruments before reaching his fourteenth year' so why he would only have got to number 14 in 1921, when he was in his late 30s, is also a bit of a clue towards fakery.

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A violin by George L Dykes, No.15, dated 1899 was sold by Bonhams in 2010  according to the Bromptons site. I would conclude that your No.14 is a fake label or did everybody already know that?

 

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6 hours ago, Bob K said:

A violin by George L Dykes, No.15, dated 1899 was sold by Bonhams in 2010  according to the Bromptons site. I would conclude that your No.14 is a fake label or did everybody already know that?

 

You are probably right.

However, I would be interested in knowing whether a fake or a copy is definitely inferior to the original or the authentic; in this case, between the OP and the one sold by Bonhams: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17825/lot/64/

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Ladies and/or Gentlemen,

@martin swan @sospiri

it is always amusing or annoying (depends much on my daily mood) to see how a thread on MN starts with one topic and ends up in discussions (and eventually word fights) about something completely unrelated.

Though I have no doubt that Martin Swan is correct about the technical wood data (and therefore in theory he is correct) in practice it somehow looks different as sospiri correctly points out.

Basically with the ribs glued to the solid surface of the block they don't have really room to shrink, though it happens at the joint. 

The only explanation I can make here is that the rib is at the end grain side most sensitive to humidity changes. Because of its thinness the rib seems to absorb some moisture from the glue which will evaporate quickest through the end grain resulting in the gap we can see. (And if I remember correctly the gap is always v shaped in cross section. This means on the surface where the block doesn't hold it it just pulls back.)

From practice I know that no matter how well both sides of the ribs meeting at the lower block with drying the joint will open. We know anyway that a glue joint on two end grain surfaces is a kind of impossible especially on narrow surfaces. 

 

Thank you Andreas for your explanation.

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

The outside mould construction method is the only method of building a violin where making the joint at the lower block a bit tricky. 

 

This doesn't mean that a violin wide wood strip on the lower block  was necessarily made on the outside mould. It is an indicator. 

My father used an outside mould to build all of his violins/violas. The joint of the two bottom rib halves was always perfect (he would have chucked it away otherwise). A one piece bottom rib would exclude the use of an outside mould, but otherwiseI I see no “indication”

1 hour ago, Bob K said:

A violin by George L Dykes, No.15, dated 1899 was sold by Bonhams in 2010  according to the Bromptons site. I would conclude that your No.14 is a fake label or did everybody already know that?

 

That both violins are not by the same person seems obvious. To decide which one is “fake” would require a third instrument for comparrison.

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22 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

That both violins are not by the same person seems obvious. To decide which one is “fake” would require a third instrument for comparrison.

The Bonham's looks somehow revarnished, so Andreas violin would be surely the nicer fake.^_^

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Ladies and/or Gentlemen,

@martin swan @sospiri

it is always amusing or annoying (depends much on my daily mood) to see how a thread on MN starts with one topic and ends up in discussions (and eventually word fights) about something completely unrelated.

Though I have no doubt that Martin Swan is correct about the technical wood data (and therefore in theory he is correct) in practice it somehow looks different as sospiri correctly points out.

Basically with the ribs glued to the solid surface of the block they don't have really room to shrink, though it happens at the joint. 

The only explanation I can make here is that the rib is at the end grain side most sensitive to humidity changes. Because of its thinness the rib seems to absorb some moisture from the glue which will evaporate quickest through the end grain resulting in the gap we can see. (And if I remember correctly the gap is always v shaped in cross section. This means on the surface where the block doesn't hold it it just pulls back.)

From practice I know that no matter how well both sides of the ribs meeting at the lower block with drying the joint will open. We know anyway that a glue joint on two end grain surfaces is a kind of impossible especially on narrow surfaces. 

 

I don't think the explanation holds water if you will forgive the pun.

Theoretically a highly flamed rib should show a bit more longitudinal shrinkage than a piece of unfigured wood, but introducing moisture and then letting it evaporate back to EMC is more likely to result in a realignment of parts than in an actual change in length.

 

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2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

My father used an outside mould to build all of his violins/violas. The joint of the two bottom rib halves was always perfect (he would have chucked it away otherwise). A one piece bottom rib would exclude the use of an outside mould, but otherwiseI I see no “indication”

That both violins are not by the same person seems obvious. To decide which one is “fake” would require a third instrument for comparrison.

I agree that there needs to be a comparison to something but I also believe that an organisation such as Bonhams, who deal with many high end instruments and with a reputation to uphold, would word their listing as 'attributed to' or 'labelled' rather than 'by', unless they were pretty sure of the maker. In my naivety, I would, therefore assume that Bonhams has experience/ records of other instruments by George Langton Dykes for comparison. However, having seen the image,  I cannot imagine that the varnish on 'No.15' is the original. Whatever,  a date of 1921 appears too late for a violin pretending to be 'No. 14'.

On the ribs issue, for my twopenn'orth, the ebony strip must either be an original decorative feature, a mistake with rib measurements (unlikely) or,  from a practical point of view, to cover up damage e.g. from adjustment when a new bottom block was inserted (maybe a fake label was added at the same time?). As several people already have mentioned, linear shrinkage along a length of seasoned wood is negligable and would not warrant such a wide strip.

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1 hour ago, Bob K said:

 

I agree that there needs to be a comparison to something but I also believe that an organisation such as Bonhams, who deal with many high end instruments and with a reputation to uphold, would word their listing as 'attributed to' or 'labelled' rather than 'by', unless they were pretty sure of the maker. In my naivety, I would, therefore assume that Bonhams has experience/ records of other instruments by George Langton Dykes for comparison. However, having seen the image,  I cannot imagine that the varnish on 'No.15' is the original. Whatever,  a date of 1921 appears too late for a violin pretending to be 'No. 14'.

On the ribs issue, for my twopenn'orth, the ebony strip must either be an original decorative feature, a mistake with rib measurements (unlikely) or,  from a practical point of view, to cover up damage e.g. from adjustment when a new bottom block was inserted (maybe a fake label was added at the same time?). As several people already have mentioned, linear shrinkage along a length of seasoned wood is negligable and would not warrant such a wide strip.

I find your trust in an Auctioneer (in this case Bonhams) a little naive and misplaced. It seems more lightly that they spend about 5 seconds “authenticating” a fiddle in this price range.

Another possible explanation of the ebony strip at the end button, could be that the rib wood the maker had was a few mm short.

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22 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Another possible explanation of the ebony strip at the end button, could be that the rib wood the maker had was a few mm short.

Could it be to relieve some of the downward pressure on the ribs from the saddle?

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24 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I find your trust in an Auctioneer (in this case Bonhams) a little naive and misplaced. It seems more lightly that they spend about 5 seconds “authenticating” a fiddle in this price range.

Another possible explanation of the ebony strip at the end button, could be that the rib wood the maker had was a few mm short.

Wouldn't disagree with either of your comments - I see that Sothebys also had a George Dykes violin listed as 'after Guarneri del Gesu,  Leeds,1899',  with same label details, No.15 (again!) in their July 2000 catalogue but it didn't warrant a picture.

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