James Ham's Forum

This is a blog site maintained by James Ham to post and receive comments on all subjects related to stringed instrument making and repair - with a special emphasis on the new making of string basses.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hello Gerard,
Thanks for your comments, I use urea-formaldehyde resin adhesive which I decided on after some research and experimentation for it's long track record (it was used in WWII Mosquito bombers) and extremely strong waterproof bond. I know that Stradivari did use linen in cello ribs and I think it may prevent or reduce some cracks. I do think the silk between the maple is more effective though. By the way, I had a look at your website and I like your C-extensions. I like that you don't cut or pass the string through the scroll and that the capos are tunable-good work!
Jim Ham

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The words "plywood" or "laminated" have come to be thought of as synonyms for "cheap" or "poor quality" but many valuable antique instruments have in effect become laminated structures as a result of repairs and this does not seem to have made those instruments cheap! Here a couple of examples. My bass ribs are made of two layers of Maple with a layer of silk in between using a vacuum lamination system that I developed, this makes them much less likely to crack in the future and I think high quality lamination now is better than poor quality lamination later!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Toy

Just to get started, I'm posting a picture of the latest addition to my shop. It's a Drummond treadle lathe made in England in 1924 and still works beautifully!


Hello and welcome to my blog! I have long believed that the secrecy and hoarding of information which has been the norm in the violin world in the past has done a disservice to everyone who cares about fine instruments including the secret keepers. Fortunately, this secrecy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past! As my friend Sam Zygmuntowicz said "we have reached the end of the age of privileged information". I intend this blog to be a forum for the kind of information sharing that raises the standard of our art/craft to the benefit of all. If you have any questions or observations that you think would be of interest to other visitors to my website, please post them here and I will do my best to respond.
Jim Ham