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Tool marks on violins/cellos/violas - style, tradition, or mistakes?


BassClef
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29 minutes ago, BassClef said:

Jacob, thanks for posting nice photos of the beautiful Leidolff cello. Are the jagged marks in this peg hole tool marks from Leidolff himself (or his workshop) or were they added later? I think I see a bushing outline but am not sure. Were these jagged cuts an old technique of getting the peg to “catch?”

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I don’t know. I will have to ask David if Leidolff was an amateur :)

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47 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

As I understand it, Dutzendarbeit was made by "trained professionals," only in that they were trained and paid to make violin parts and/or assemble violins from parts made by others.

However, these "trained professionals" wouldn't know how to make a good-sounding violin from scratch because they did not have to know how to do that nor were they paid to know how to do that. 

That’s partially right, the professions were for example Halsmacher (neck and scroll) or Schachtelmacher (box). So it won’t be very fair to let DB go into a competition with a specialist, who would most probably outburst him easily in all categories, as there were simple, Common, good, Fine etc. The fine were obviously the less demanded, as it was stated (when I’m recalling it right) in the Gewerbebericht der Handelskammer Plauen from the Late 19th Century.

The report stated, too, that there were a very few makers left to make a fine violin „from scratch“ in all parts, therefore a bit later the local violin making school was established.

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2 hours ago, BassClef said:

I don’t think you’re following my line of thinking,....

I am. That's why I continue messing with it, because I believe it to be seriously flawed. Please forgive me for not easily furnishing you with a "happy-finish" massage. :P

2 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Kauert writes that “in Markneukirchen und Klingenthal nahm man als Arbeitszeit für die Herstelung einer Geige 12 bis 17 Stunden an”. Bass Clef would be curious what a 12 hour Burgess looks like:)

Well, there was the time when I roughed out the inside of a cello top in about six minutes, in front of an audience at a VSA convention. I can furnish the writeup by Strings Magazine of that event should you require further evidence.

Since I am now pushin' 70 years of age, it might now take me more like eight minutes. :o

Wanna race? :lol:

 

2 hours ago, BassClef said:

You called into question Jacob and Blank Face’s historical research about these instruments being made by trained professionals.

That depends on what one wants to describe as a "trained professional", doesn't it?

2 hours ago, BassClef said:

Jacob, thanks for posting nice photos of the beautiful Leidolff cello. Are the jagged marks in this peg hole tool marks from Leidolff himself (or his workshop) or were they added later? I think I see a bushing outline but am not sure. Were these jagged cuts an old technique of getting the peg to “catch?”

 

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They might be considered some sort of useful "wood ratchet", had they been going in the other direction. In the direction they are facing, they would tend to inhibit tightening of the string, and favor the loosening of the string. Bass-ackwards, in other words, if one would like more resistance in one direction than the other.

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This is how to get authentic tool marks,,

 

I had a feather up my rear about doing a 12 hour viola,

box on day one,

scroll day two, (really tired from day one)

then varnish on day three.

I drew out the shape freehand, glued the blocks on the back then ran like hell!

I finished the box, then stopped. When I crossed the finish line,, no more,,finished. Though just a bit more could have done a lot to tidy things up, ask me if I care?

I'll straighten up the f-holes some day. In my mad rush I actually used different templates on the bottom of the f's,,, oops.

I then brushed some japan drier on the wood and put it in some heat and the clear varnish turned this brilliant red.

It would never happen again.

This is not deliberate antiquing,,, just is what it is. One of my fave's.

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2 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

This is how to get authentic tool marks,,

 

I had a feather up my rear about doing a 12 hour viola,

box on day one,

scroll day two, (really tired from day one)

then varnish on day three.

I drew out the shape freehand, glued the blocks on the back then ran like hell!

I finished the box, then stopped. When I crossed the finish line,, no more,,finished. Though just a bit more could have done a lot to tidy things up, ask me if I care?

I'll straighten up the f-holes some day. In my mad rush I actually used different templates on the bottom of the f's,,, oops.

I then brushed some japan drier on the wood and put it in some heat and the clear varnish turned this brilliant red.

It would never happen again.

This is not deliberate antiquing,,, just is what it is. One of my fave's.

IMG_0478.jpg

IMG_0487.jpg

IMG_0498.jpg

IMG_0511.jpg

IMG_0513.jpg

IMG_0514.jpg

IMG_0557.jpg

IMG_0559.jpg

IMG_0566.jpg

IMG_0585.jpg

IMG_0586.jpg

IMG_0587.jpg

IMG_0588.jpg

IMG_0593.jpg

IMG_0594.jpg

IMG_0597.jpg

IMG_0599.jpg

IMG_0602.jpg

IMG_0608.jpg

IMG_4147.JPG

IMG_4152.JPG

IMG_4156.JPG

IMG_4162.JPG

Really compelling, in fact! I dig the artifacts of the "devil may care" attitude. Nice, Evan!

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On 9/27/2021 at 12:35 PM, David Burgess said:

Evidently, my use of the word "professional" in this context differs from that of Jacob and Blank Face.

To me, the ability to find a buyer for a horrible instrument doesn't mean that it deserves the distinction of being called professional work.

How do you define professional work in the context of violin making?

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36 minutes ago, BassClef said:

How do you define professional work in the context of violin making?

I know you didn't ask me, but one aspect of professional work is the ability to produce a deliberate and purposeful product. Put another way, the ability to produce an instrument without being at the mercy of mistakes made by poor technique or sloppy craftsmanship. I just had in my shop a violin made by a local violin maker. He has made dozens of instruments, sold many of them, and even endeavoured to teach a violin making class. This violin, which he sold, had a neck so poorly set that it was essentially unplayable, way off center, tilted the wrong way, and with a projection around 22mm. This is the way he made it and sold it. Every instrument of his I have seen over the years has had something wrong with it. Some not as basically flawed as this, but all with some clear unintentional mistake either aesthetic or mechanical. This is not professional work, even though he thinks the world of his instruments.

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5 minutes ago, arglebargle said:

I know you didn't ask me, but one aspect of professional work is the ability to produce a deliberate and purposeful product. Put another way, the ability to produce an instrument without being at the mercy of mistakes made by poor technique or sloppy craftsmanship. I just had in my shop a violin made by a local violin maker. He has made dozens of instruments, sold many of them, and even endeavoured to teach a violin making class. This violin, which he sold, had a neck so poorly set that it was essentially unplayable, way off center, tilted the wrong way, and with a projection around 22mm. This is the way he made it and sold it. Every instrument of his I have seen over the years has had something wrong with it. Some not as basically flawed as this, but all with some clear unintentional mistake either aesthetic or mechanical. This is not professional work, even though he thinks the world of his instruments.

Maybe I will rephrase in a 2-part question:

1.  what does it mean to be a professional violin maker

2. what product qualifies as professional

intended to follow up with Burgess and happy to hear opinions of everyone who has one.

 

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29 minutes ago, arglebargle said:

I know you didn't ask me, but one aspect of professional work is the ability to produce a deliberate and purposeful product. Put another way, the ability to produce an instrument without being at the mercy of mistakes made by poor technique or sloppy craftsmanship. I just had in my shop a violin made by a local violin maker. He has made dozens of instruments, sold many of them, and even endeavoured to teach a violin making class. This violin, which he sold, had a neck so poorly set that it was essentially unplayable, way off center, tilted the wrong way, and with a projection around 22mm. This is the way he made it and sold it. Every instrument of his I have seen over the years has had something wrong with it. Some not as basically flawed as this, but all with some clear unintentional mistake either aesthetic or mechanical. This is not professional work, even though he thinks the world of his instruments.

Ouch that sounds like a painful experience.

Did it ever sound good?

24 minutes ago, BassClef said:

Maybe I will rephrase in a 2-part question:

1.  what does it mean to be a professional violin maker

2. what product qualifies as professional

intended to follow up with Burgess and happy to hear opinions of everyone who has one.

 

I have followed your thread with interest Bassclef but I think it may be too hard to answer.

I can only say that if it sounds good that it doesn't matter what you call yourself but then that is only relative to your current self.

I like how in general you can see how confident a lot of French bow makers were and it shows in the speed of their cuts/work, perhaps like a brush stroke?

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3 hours ago, Gtone said:

I can only say that if it sounds good that it doesn't matter what you call yourself but then that is only relative to your current self.

I can only say that I came across so many poorly made and to my ears poorly sounding instruments, but being always good looking and well sounding for their actual sellers or even players, that such a description makes me shiver.

 

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4 hours ago, Gtone said:

Ouch that sounds like a painful experience.

Did it ever sound good?

I have followed your thread with interest Bassclef but I think it may be too hard to answer.

I can only say that if it sounds good that it doesn't matter what you call yourself but then that is only relative to your current self.

I like how in general you can see how confident a lot of French bow makers were and it shows in the speed of their cuts/work, perhaps like a brush stroke?

I don’t think there is a right and wrong answer here just qualified and unqualified opinions and judgments on the matter. Cheers

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4 hours ago, BassClef said:

Maybe I will rephrase in a 2-part question:

1.  what does it mean to be a professional violin maker

2. what product qualifies as professional

intended to follow up with Burgess and happy to hear opinions of everyone who has one.

 

I think that qualifies as a “How long is a piece of string” question

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7 hours ago, BassClef said:

I don’t think there is a right and wrong answer here just qualified and unqualified opinions and judgments on the matter. Cheers

Well yes I think I agree with that, but I was suggesting not right or wrong but that it is simply too hard to answer.(as to the question in the title of the thread)

But you received some interesting and informative replies.

Barking up the wrong tree perhaps the most salient

8 hours ago, Blank face said:

I can only say that I came across so many poorly made and to my ears poorly sounding instruments, but being always good looking and well sounding for their actual sellers or even players, that such a description makes me shiver.

 

 

Yes I can't imagine what you may have seen and heard throughout your time.

I did not mean to be vague about it.

It is a very subjective matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fascinating discussion of tool marks and what constitutes a professional. I disagree with some opinions and also how they are stated. We all have opinions, some are wrong, some are not useful. 

I, as an inexperienced repairer,  could not imagine creating the shown 1/2 Saltkammergut; nor could I imagine a trained or 'professional' creating such a version of a scroll. If you are That Bad with a tool....it takes to long so you get fired.

Look at these professionals in China Video of piece work. Albeit a company made video.

Clearly trained professionals.

This video, also of a professional, is fascinating in a different way. Video of Ivan Hus. But even here in the comments sections there are arguments about where the video was filmed. And this argument is over a very definite fact.

The discussions on MN are often enlightening, sometimes about violins and sometimes about personalities. I take more from the violin discussions.

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