An Affordable Brass Bridge Stamp

I recently decided to try out a customizable leather punch for sale on ebay.  I’m thrilled with the results.  Wuta Leather offers a customized leather punch at quite an affordable price.  I ordered mine and provided the specifications after they contacted me.  It took about three weeks to arrive.  I added a walnut handle and gave it a test run.  I’m very satisfied with the results.

img_4739

A bridge stamp is a great addition for a violin maker, particularly if you take care in the setup of your instruments.  The stamp goes on the side of the bridge facing the fingerboard, on the waist of the bridge.  It’s typically done is an easy to read font, and sized so the text is 1.5mm high.

For best results, hold the stamp in the flame of a tallow candle.  The purpose of the candle is to coat the stamp with soot, not to heat the stamp.  Press with firm against the bridge adjusting the angle slightly without removing to ensure complete contact.  The stamped name will not smudge.  Comment if you’d like to order a stamp through me, or if you’d like more information.

Continuing the Canonne

Work continues on the back of the Guarneri 1743 ‘Il Cannone’ inspired violin.

This tightly famed European maple back and matching neck block will closely approximate the original ‘Il Cannone’.   This beautiful wood should make for a visually stunning instrument.

The downward chevron created where the flames meet at the joint are true to the original.  Guarneri broke with tradition in this aspect of his making – an intentional statement of individuality to set himself apart from the other great Cremonese makers.

The outline is transferred from the mold with a moderate overhang.  The plate outline and overhang will be adjusted with files after this step.  Cutting is done by hand with a #7 blade on the Knew Concepts Jewellers aluminium fret saw.

Linseed Oil Bleaching

Linseed Oil Bleaching

I’ve been researching linseed oil, and discovered the SRO method by Tad Spurgeon.  I also was surprised to see that linseed oil can be bleached separately from thickening.

The results speak for themselves.  The picture above (with the coffee stirrer) is 18 months of exposure to sunlight in the window.  It was covered during this time.  No appreciable thicking has occurred.  Up to 12 months slight lightening had occurred, but after 12 months the bleaching accelerated rapidly with very clear oil achieved at 18 months.  This oil was in a fairly sheltered window with little direct sunlight and in a northern latitude.

Next, I’ll be testing out the oil to determine the yellowing properties when dried.  Stay tuned.

Canonne Inspired del-Jesu Update

The Cannone-inspired Guarneri del Gesù is progressing.  After completing the templates, mold and counter-forms, the ribs have been installed.  Linings next, then on to the scroll as I like to have the scroll nearly-complete before beginning the plates.  I’ll be re-creating the original scroll’s dimensions.  Its a large scroll and a departure from the more Strad-style scroll I’ve previously created.

IMG_2895

Canonne Scroll

Il Canonne Scroll

Highlights of a 1961 Svindsay Violin

Highlights of a 1961 Svindsay Violin

I recently had the opportunity to examine a Peder Svindsay violin from 1961 (sometimes spelled Pete or Peter Swindsay).  Peder’s style is interesting, the fluting of his scroll is broad and sweeping and I’ve included a picture of that below, however, i was particularly impressed with his corner miters.  These manage to include a graceful sweep along the c-bout line and have a certain liveliness and energy.   Corner miters are always done by hand and are clear sign of the maker’s patience and care.

Peder was originally from Norway and a founding member of the Violin Maker’s Association of British Columbia in 1957.  He was an accomplished violin, viola, cello and bow maker.  He owed a shop in Vancouver for some time and won many awards for his work at the Association competitions and internationally.

Stainer #1, Update

The first of the two Stainers is complete.  The final varnish color is a deep maroon red.  The strings chosen for the instrument are Pirastro Passion sheep gut wire wound stabilized strings.  The instrument is very easy to play and has a deep tonal color and these strings give it an extra kick in complexity.  I’m still in the process of photographing the one piece pillow maple back, but here’s what the front looks like.

stainer-1-front-sm

And if you’rCamera and lights, mid angle.jpge curious about the photography setup, here’s a peak at that too.  Look for an article in the near future on how I put together and use this inexpensive setup.