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Author: Subject: restoring Armenian oud
aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-21-2013 at 06:39 PM
onwards


getting all the last braces in. after all were in, the soundboards has a nice ring.I'm contemplating whether to take down the brace just beneath the big shamsa to about 3-4 mm in height, as seen on a Manol brace pattern , or just copy the braces as they were.

[file]25982[/file]
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aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-21-2013 at 06:52 PM


so here it is with all braces, and a label detailing what I have done for restoring this orphaned oud.
I was trying a bunch of different scraps for the edge binding. Walnut,maple and cherry all cracked when I tried to bend them, but some yew worked very nicely. This was one of the more time consuming parts of this job as the bindings need to be very close fits. You don't want to spring/force them when you glue them on.The edge of the soundboard is not quite smooth or regular as a result of being busted up but the binding must be as close as possible. a few areas where there's just a little too much gap- maybe .5- .75 mm- will have glue in them but I'm going to put in a very thin paper reinforcement just at the inside edge of the lining. so I'm going to glue the edge binding before glueing/taping the top. It's crucial that the binding is close to the edge of the bowl- too much overhang can distort when you start taping down/ glueing the table.
My pal Rick "Uti" Hunter dropped by yesterday with his wonderful old Nahat oud, which was much more bashed up over the years than this Awadikian. The top had been badly abused and the back had been bashed in several places. But, the sound of this oud is glorious-proof that what might look beyond rescue, is rescue-able.
I took some measurements off his nut and bridge and I should be able to adapt the Awadikian oud to 11 strings without too much squeezing of the layout.

[file]25984[/file]
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aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-21-2013 at 06:59 PM
pic




[file]25986[/file]
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aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-21-2013 at 07:02 PM
piq


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aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-21-2013 at 07:04 PM
piq


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aasuits
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[*] posted on 2-22-2013 at 05:57 PM
edge binding


I installed the yew edge binding strip.After glueing it up as tight as I could manage I glued in some thin Japanese paper reinforcements on the join between the edge of the table and the binding- on the inside.
The top is fitting nicely , I used masking tape markers around the bowl to show where the ends of the braces are- these points need to be especially noted when glueing the top to the bowl.
I hope to have this oud strung by the end of next week.yeehaw.
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[*] posted on 2-22-2013 at 05:58 PM
top fitted


it's beginning to look like an oud again.
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Ararat66
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[*] posted on 2-23-2013 at 03:03 PM


... and sound like one soon ...

:airguitar:

Leon
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[*] posted on 2-23-2013 at 06:08 PM


glued on the neck/pegbox. hopefully Monday will get the old fingerboard off by heating. if that doesn't work, just chisels and scrapers until I can get the new one fitted. I've got a snakewood and rosewood fingerboard I'd made a while ago and it may also miraculously fit, like the big shamsa. Snakewood is fantastic stuff, way harder than ebony, and perfect for fingerboards. Expensive as hell though, about the costliest wood I've ever used. A lot of wastage when you start cutting up logs- probably better to just buy trimmed pieces.I'll have to make a new beard too. perhaps the god of oud-rescue wanted this oud to come back to life...

[file]26022[/file] [file]26024[/file]
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[*] posted on 2-24-2013 at 07:14 AM


removed the old fingerboard. There was a trough down the treble side, worn down from years of playing. Based on the wear , someone must have really loved this oud and played it quite a lot.
The old fingerboard came off pretty easily- the glue was so dried out and brittle it gave way without much fight. The neck core is very fine grained spruce or pine and was built up on the edges of the neck with additional pieces.There was a chuck missing on the edge of the neck. I had a busted Indian rosewood peg which cut up fine for a replacement bit.
I have some new Japanese milled-tooth files that are rapidly becoming some of my favorite tools. They cut aggressively but are easy to control and made rapid work of flattening out the top of the neck for the new fingerboard. from lee Valley, where else.
The reglued joint at neck and pegbox is solid. Once the fingerboard is glued on, just that little part at the nut end of the neck reinforces and stiffens the neck quite a lot.The original walnut fingerboard was not very hard stuff and a much harder wood will be a good fix.

[file]26050[/file]
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[*] posted on 2-25-2013 at 09:40 AM


Chiseled out the beard, and cut down the fingerboard. It was a slightly different appearing taper with the stringers so I redid it to have a nice taper in balance with the shape of the neck.
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[*] posted on 2-26-2013 at 05:45 PM
strung up!


Took the clamps off this AM and worked on the fingerboard. There was a buzz but after using the Japanese milled tooth file and checking with an engineer's square got it super flat.Took down the nut a bit so the strings just clear at the end of the fingerboard. These Japanese files are a godsend. even using good sharp files of various kinds, fine tuning the slant on a fingerboard has taken me more than a day's work in the past, I did it in less than 2 hours with the milled tooth file. It was so smooth I just rubbed it with fine steel wool after the shaping was done.
While working on the Surinam snakewood fingerboard, the grain came out in a spectacular way. it was OK when I started but snakewood is weird stuff and if you get it cut at just the right angle you reveal a wonderful grain that really looks like serpent pattern.I was delighted that with so little taken off it worked . I was very anxious to see how this oud would sound and put some super cheapo Alice oud strings on it. it was promising but the strings seemed a little flabby. I found a set of Mari strings, got those on and the sound was wonderful. I'll try to get something together with a passable sound recording and share what happened.
It's basically done, I'll touch up the edges of the bowl and pegbox with a little french polish. I'll take the strings off again and oil the fingerboard- I use walnut oil with a drop or 2 of lavender oil in it that I warm up on the stove and rub on. I let it sit for 1/2 an hour and then rub it off and shine it with a soft cotton cloth- the shine is lovely.
This was a hugely instructive restoration for me.The braces were unique and work beautifully- I'll leave it up to fellow oud enthusiasts to see what they think of the sound.I was very surprised and happy that the soundboard, which looked like such a disaster, went back together so nicely and the sound really honks.
If anyone has any sound clips of other Awadikian ouds, I'd love to hear any.
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[*] posted on 2-26-2013 at 05:46 PM
piq


mo' pix

[file]26092[/file] [file]26094[/file]
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[*] posted on 2-26-2013 at 05:48 PM
piq


piq
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[*] posted on 2-26-2013 at 07:05 PM


Hi,

I'd be interested to know which milled tooth files you used on the fingerboard. Any from Lee Valley perhaps that you would suggest when starting with good flat stock?

E.g. http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=63451&cat=1,42524

Fine, xfine, or medium?

Thanks.




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[*] posted on 2-27-2013 at 10:43 AM
files


8" fine was best.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2013 at 08:49 AM


congratulations, thank you for sharing your work.
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Edward Powell
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[*] posted on 3-3-2013 at 09:55 AM


Quote: Originally posted by aasuits  


ok here goes, a lot of pix of the patient as it arrived in ER.any help with the Greek label, much appreciated.
I wouldn't be hidebound about use of hot hide glue. The Lee Valley fish glue behaves exactly as hot glue does, it's just way easier to use. I've used it for 10 years with no issues at all, and my luthier pal who turned me on to it sells his string basses in 5 figures. He wouldn't use the fish glue if he didn't stand behind it.




holy smokes i never saw such wide grained wood in my life! Is that spruce?




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[*] posted on 3-3-2013 at 04:26 PM
me neither!


hello Edward- yes, I never saw such wide grain on a soundboard either. I think it's just pine, seems pretty soft. I have to get a decent recording of a good player on this oud- I think the sound is wonderful.
I was very intrigued about this wide grain and what sort of soundboard/ tone it could possibly produce, so I was quite amazed when I got it reassembled. All the cleats- I think I counted 12 splits in the soundboard of varying degrees of severity-didn't seem to impair the sound production of this soundboard.all in all it was a very revelatory illustration of braces + soundboard= tone.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2013 at 04:34 PM


great job! I don't think how wide the grain is has any effect on strength or tone... I think it is just cosmetic. Same goes for mulit-piece soundboards.



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[*] posted on 3-3-2013 at 07:42 PM
yup


I am pretty convinced of that, about grain in soundboards, now. also multiple pieces. it would be most illuminating to try to make a simple analysis of a bunch of vintage ouds in the various traditions of building and try to compare grain and multiple-pieced soundboards and see what we could conclude.
the open-edged soundboard- with just the narrow binding helping to hold it to the bowl-also is really intriguing.
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[*] posted on 3-4-2013 at 01:12 AM


to be honest this is something I never figured out... how most ouds' soundboards do not even come to the edge... the only thing connecting the edge are the tips of the braces!... then you have this wimpy bit of purfling and that is supposed to keep the SB on the bowl!? ...well it seems to work. But when ever I have made higher tension instruments like this, there are ALWAYS problems coming.




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Edward Powell
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[*] posted on 3-4-2013 at 03:07 AM


and what are you doing with this VEENA???

...there is a player from Mumbai who want me to make for him a VEENA with oud making techniques!




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[*] posted on 3-4-2013 at 10:44 AM


No better example of wide (and wild) grained oud sound board than the seven course # 0164 oud in the Brussels M.I.M. (image previously posted on this forum by Danielo). This oud probably dates from around the end of the 18th to early 19th C.
Note the multiple piece soundboard (some panels being close to slab cut) and the pin knots! No idea of what it sounds like though.

The characteristics of what potentially makes a good sound board are known well enough (stiffness to weight ratios, low internal damping etc.) and a good luthier should be able to select the best material for a sound board, by experience, from a wide choice of sound board material even if it means joining smaller pieces to make a multiple piece sound board.
Grain width, orientation, degree of grain deviation etc. may or may not make a difference acoustically - it all depends upon the skill of the luthier and the required end result.

Some classical guitar makers today are building sound boards with stiff centre panels and less stiff 'wing' pieces to achieve the acoustic result they are seeking. It is possible that the old oud makers may have done the same thing to vary the cross grain stiffness of their sound boards - for whatever effect.



Brussels Oud.jpg - 94kB
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[*] posted on 3-23-2013 at 07:10 PM
turkish/armenian/levantine?


I've been studying lots of pix of vintage ouds of Syrian, Greek, Armenian builders. This Awadikian oud presents some interesting questions. The overall shape seems somewhat more Armenian/ Turkish as does the placement and proportions of the shamseen. The inlaid back and tiled pegbox seems distinctly Syrian/ Levantine.
I'm wondering if the bridge was copied, or used, from the original soundboard when it was replaced in 1936. Most of the old Armenian ouds have the other style bridges with a broader bottom 'shelf' tapering to a triangular shape.I plan to do my next oud based on this venerable beauty,and will use the Syrian style Nahat bridge with a central ledge.
I had to replace the bridge on this Awadikian, a few days after it was done the ledge sheared off the bridge from the string pull and being weakened from plugging/drilling new holes. The grain orientation was totally wrong, it was parallel to the face, the weakest possible choice. I redid the bridge with the grain perpendicular to the face and the sound remained superb- will get a sound clip up soon, possibly with a nice demo by a surprise oud virtuoso...........!
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