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Equisetum— should I freeze it for 2 months?


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5 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Do you use beeeswax candles to light the shop? Must be authentic.

 

:rolleyes:

There's good evidence for scouring reed in woodworking, and candlelight.

But, there is no evidence that violin makers necessarily used scouring reed.

I keep both horsetail and fine sandpaper in my workshop.  I use both.  The choice deepends on the task.  

If I want to clean and smooth the feel of a piece of wood without changing the carving at all, I reach for the reeds and give a quick pass or two.  The reed leaves some crumbling debris of reed chunks, but not separate wood dust.  I sweep off the debris.  Nothing is left clogging the wood pores.  The touch of the wood however is noticeably silkened.

That's it.  No big deal.   Not essential. Not dramatic.  But very pleasing.

As far as historicalness goes: I know the 1200 grit wet dry paper isn't.  I know the reed is historical to the general woodworking kit, but not necessarily to traditional violin making.

Either way, I enjoy using the reed in certain very limited circumstances.  And, I don't see any reason to avoid it.

 

Why must the nays attack its use?  Why isn't 'Hmm, not for me.' enough?

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12 hours ago, Roger Hargrave said:

I think I’m pretty safe suggesting that the classical Cremonese makers hardly (if ever) used abrasives of any kind. We only have to look at an Amati scroll to see that the hundreds of fine tool marks they left behind. These were so fine, they were practically invisible. As for the Guarneri family they simply did not bother trying. IF classical violinmakers ever used abrasives, they probably used shark skin, because it cuts rather than rubs and leaves less dust to block the pores (and kill reflection). In effect shark skin works like a fine rasp. Rasps have had a bad rap for years, but if you can get good ones they are brilliant tools. I rarely used files.

Other than necks, I see no reason for using abrasives and even here I have seen one or two old necks that have lots of tool marks on them. If anyone can show me examples of abrasives having been used by classical makers, please post. If I am persuaded I will eat some of viola’s salmon slime. Very tasty on toast.

Roger, nice to see you back here.

Below are a couple of photos of Strad corners that appear to show use of some sort of abrasive use.  Such markings appear quite common on Strads.  (There are quite a number of published photos that clearly show such markings but they were not taken by me so I'm reluctant to post them here.)

Also below are a couple of quick and dirty photos showing the type of markings that equisetum (labelled E) and shark skin (labelled S) leave.  The scale at the top of these photos are mm divisions.

Strad 1714 - abrasive marks.jpg

Strad 1717 - abrasive marks.jpg

Equisetum marks.jpg

Shark skin marks.jpg

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36 minutes ago, John Harte said:

 

Below are a couple of photos of Strad corners that appear to show use of some sort of abrasive use.  Such markings appear quite common on Strads.  (There are quite a number of published photos that clearly show such markings but they were not taken by me so I'm reluctant to post them here.)

Also below are a couple of quick and dirty photos showing the type of markings that equisetum (labelled E) and shark skin (labelled S) leave.  The scale at the top of these photos are mm divisions.

 

Thanks, really kool photos.

I am wondering if all shark skin abrasions, from all species of sharks, are equal, and also wondering if there couldn't be enough  overlap with various forms of abrasive markings, and burrs on cutting tool edges, such that we will never know for sure?

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39 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Thanks, really kool photos.

I am wondering if all shark skin abrasions, from all species of sharks, are equal, and also wondering if there couldn't be enough  overlap with various forms of abrasive markings, and burrs on cutting tool edges, such that we will never know for sure?

I can imagine that shark skin abrasion markings could vary according to species.  Also might used shark skin produce a more uniform cutting depth, more like equisetum???

I agree that it is difficult to know for sure what was used..  And how and exactly when.....

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

Thanks, really kool photos.

I am wondering if all shark skin abrasions, from all species of sharks, are equal, and also wondering if there couldn't be enough  overlap with various forms of abrasive markings, and burrs on cutting tool edges, such that we will never know for sure?

Dimensions of shark and ray skin denticles are highly variable, between species, in different locations on the body, and as individuals grow.  A look at the photos in the links will show you why and how shark skin cuts, and why it's different from sandpaper in its effects.  Basically, sharks are covered in tiny teeth called placoid scales. 

https://www.thoughtco.com/placoid-scales-definition-2291736

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/92865-shark-skin-with-placoid-scalesray-skin-with-dermal-denticles/

https://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~glauder/reprints_unzipped/Ankhelyi.etal.shark.skin.ALL.2018.pdf

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14 hours ago, Roger Hargrave said:

There are several species of dog fish (small members of shark family) whose skins work extremely well. I get them for free up the road in Bremerhaven. But as I said, hardly, if ever, used by classical violin makers.

Roger, you old dogfish you, I am very glad to see a comment of yours pop up on here again. It is, like Camelot, a very silly place, but better when you come around.

I love dogfish skin, and have used it to replicate tracked scratch marks when copying Guadagnini. The sharkskin scratches do what the leveling scratches on his work in Turin shows-- completely invisible until you get right in and peer at the varnish up close, then they are a little shocking.

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4 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Dimensions of shark and ray skin denticles are highly variable, between species, in different locations on the body, and as individuals grow.  A look at the photos in the links will show you why and how shark skin cuts, and why it's different from sandpaper in its effects.  Basically, sharks are covered in tiny teeth called placoid scales. 

https://www.thoughtco.com/placoid-scales-definition-2291736

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/92865-shark-skin-with-placoid-scalesray-skin-with-dermal-denticles/

https://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~glauder/reprints_unzipped/Ankhelyi.etal.shark.skin.ALL.2018.pdf

Thank you Violadamore.  This is excellent information.

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On 11/19/2021 at 8:59 AM, Michael_Molnar said:

Do you use beeeswax candles to light the shop? Must be authentic.

 

:rolleyes:

I tried candlelight once, to see if there might be merit to the claim that Stradivari's work hours would have been restricted to daylight hours. It worked great. Using one candle to cast oblique light across the surface in a dark room revealed surface geography much better than my desk lamp. If I weren't concerned about the increased risk of fire, I would have continued using it.

Instead, I'll eventually look for an electric lamp which is much closer to a single-point light source than the broader light from my desk lamp. The smaller light source is what casts the really distinct shadows which allow better visualization of surface features.

 

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I tried candlelight once, to see if there might be merit to the claim that Stradivari's work hours would have been restricted to daylight hours. It worked great. Using one candle to cast oblique light across the surface in a dark room revealed surface geography much better than my desk lamp. If I weren't concerned about the increased risk of fire, I would have continued using it.

Instead, I'll eventually look for an electric lamp which is much closer to a single-point light source than the broader light from my desk lamp. The smaller light source is what casts the really distinct shadows which allow better visualization of surface features.

 

Right. Grazing incident light from a “point source”.

 

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21 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Dimensions of shark and ray skin denticles are highly variable, between species, in different locations on the body, and as individuals grow.  A look at the photos in the links will show you why and how shark skin cuts, and why it's different from sandpaper in its effects.  Basically, sharks are covered in tiny teeth called placoid scales. 

https://www.thoughtco.com/placoid-scales-definition-2291736

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/92865-shark-skin-with-placoid-scalesray-skin-with-dermal-denticles/

https://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~glauder/reprints_unzipped/Ankhelyi.etal.shark.skin.ALL.2018.pdf

Thanks!

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A thought or two:

I have gotten scratches from a scraper when:

1. I failed to remove the burr completely during sharpening.

2. Had sharpened using a file.

3. Had straightened and re-bent (or burnished) the cutting edge enough times that the steel became work-hardened enough  that it started to slough off, leaving a jagged edge, rather than bending cleanly one more time.

I remain very hesitant  to conclude that these scratches prove the use of abrasives.

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I agree with David Burgess observation....

Once when commissioned to copy a Goffriller viola I came to the conclusion that some very visible scratches on the finish of the original were from using discarded shards of glass for scraping that chipped and became rough with use.

However, I don't doubt The old Italians used some kind of abrasive in their work. Most likely some kind of grit rubbed onto the wood with a piece of cloth or leather to erase nibs and fluff from scraping rather than sandpaper as we know it. If you look at the most pristine examples the sharpness of the edge crests etc is slightly softened and this was the only method so far I could find to replicate that.

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53 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

I don't doubt The old Italians used some kind of abrasive in their work. Most likely some kind of grit rubbed onto the wood with a piece of cloth or leather...........

IMHO, they'd have to have been prize dunces not to.  Pumice, garnet, and corundum all occur in Italy in quantity, due to the obvious presence of vulcanism and metamorphism.  :)

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56 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, they'd have to have been prize dunces not to.  Pumice, garnet, and corundum all occur in Italy in quantity, due to the obvious presence of vulcanism and metamorphism.  :)

If surface smoothness was the ultimate goal. The surface texture of oil paintings, and of the coatings on the Messiah and Lady Blunt Stradivaris suggests that it was not.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

If surface smoothness was the ultimate goal. The surface texture of oil paintings, and of the coatings on the Messiah and Lady Blunt Stradivaris suggests that it was not.

I've noticed that speculation seems to be the essence of this thread, so a little more won't hurt.  Have you considered that things back then might have been much like today with regard to those who can, cut and scrape, while those with less skill, or in a bigger hurry, sand?  Alongside the surviving masterpieces, there may have been many cheap, probably sanded, fiddles which haven't survived, or haven't been properly studied.  Techniques for abrasive polishing certainly existed in Italy three to five hundred years ago.  If a technique is known, somebody is going to use it.  :)

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Dry it and reconstitute anytime by soaking trimmed tubule pieces in a little bowl of water. Then you can cut and flatten them, dry them again and proceed with whatever way you want to use them. The fact you can bring back a green color and almost elastic pliability by soaking it is pretty...interesting. right?

So...uh...how's NZ? I'm gonna be honest...I can't count the times I've thought of you guys in suddenly batshit crazy NZ and been worried. Might as well ask instead, so you can say "What are you talking about...it's great here!" Then I will worry more.

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15 hours ago, not telling said:

Dry it and reconstitute anytime by soaking trimmed tubule pieces in a little bowl of water. Then you can cut and flatten them, dry them again and proceed with whatever way you want to use them. The fact you can bring back a green color and almost elastic pliability by soaking it is pretty...interesting. right?

So...uh...how's NZ? I'm gonna be honest...I can't count the times I've thought of you guys in suddenly batshit crazy NZ and been worried. Might as well ask instead, so you can say "What are you talking about...it's great here!" Then I will worry more.

I sent you an email 

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