Darnton Violins Blog

My Observations (Large and Small) About Violin Making and Restoration

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Violin Business Photos

I probably should have mentioned when I mentioned my photos of the Upper Peninsula in the 1970s a few posts ago that I have a whole set devoted to portraits of people in the violin business, such as the shot above of Will Whedbee working in his shop, and also some other violin photos, in my Flickr photostream.  I’ve been trying…

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The Book

I have been writing a violin making book for a few years. Progress is slow, but I’m in no hurry. At this point I have a few easy chapters, not yet illustrated (the pictures will be half of the project, I’m sure). You can see what’s already completed to that point on the book’s own site. The idea for a…

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And now, something completely different…

(Me, 1979 ) Before I was involved with violins, I was a photographer. My last full-time photo job was in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on a very small newspaper in an isolated and underpopulated area. It was a great job where I got to wander around in a four-county region asking people I saw doing interesting things to let me take their…

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Jeweler’s Saw Blades

In my quest for the perfect jeweler’s saw blade for sawing out f-holes, I once landed the world’s last supply of these antique blades, defunct blades from a closed hardware store, bought at a now-closed tool store in downtown Chicago. The brand is Gilbert, and I tracked them down to around 1890 or so. They’re perfect for the job, sawing…

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How Not to Sharpen Files

Before “sharpening” on the left, after on the right. I guess this wasn’t such a hot idea! There is a simple shop method for sharpening files that’s mentioned in more or less detail all over the web. It’s done by dipping the files in acid for an hour or more, which supposedly etches away metal, sharpening the edge. However, as…

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Another Variation on the Bass Bar

This funky thing showed up in my shop last week with a visitor. The violin is Chinese, about ten years old. The owner said it doesn’t sound horrible. I don’t think I need to say much, so I won’t.

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A Dominant Violin D String Under the Microscope

This is a Dominant brand aluminum-wound violin D string. The outside cover is two flat strips wound next to each other (they’re coming off the back, top, and you can see the pair grouped together still on the string). The horizontal scratches, running the length of the string, are from the final grinding and polishing of the string surface. Inside…

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Wood Under the ‘Scope

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that it was easy to shoot photos through my microscope by just jamming my cell phone camera up against the eyepiece, so I started looking for interesting things to shoot. Some of the varnish ground samples on bridges, shown in an earlier post, look pretty cool under the ‘scope. In this shot, the big…

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