Structural Repair

Structural repair is often times needed and gives new strength to the instrument as well as improved sound. Examples are seam repairs, neck resetting, cleating of cracks, glueing of separated blocks, grafting soundpost patches and fingerboard planing and re-glueing. I also quite often craft my own tools to repair specific projects.

• Retouching
• Neck Grafting & Resetting
• Pegbox & Hole Repair/Fitting
Cracks Repaired with Cleats
• Bridge Fitting & Replacement
• Sound Post Fitting
• Nut, Fingerboard settings
• Wood Grafting & Patches
• Finishes & Antiquing
• Restringing
• Bass Bar Enhancement
• Arching Correction - Casting
• Rib Grafting
• Photo Documentation
Sound Enhancement

Pegbox Flank Repair

Extreme variations of humidity and temperature cause stress on the pegbox because the ebony pegs expand at a different rate than the maple pegbox. Regular adjustment of the pegs with frequent playing helps prevent pegbox cracks. Shown in the violin photos above and right, a piece of maple is matched to the wood grain pattern of the peg box, and placed in a carved out section that was cracked. This technique, known as pegbox flank facing, provides the structural stability needed to house the new peg hole, as well as a sufficient surface to retouch.In this way, the repair can be blended by the restorer into the original pattern of the particular peice of maple used by the original luthier.

Tonal Improvement with Age

Violins are like wine, in that they improve with age. The wood fibers gradually condense to become more resonant. It is often worth the time and expense to repair bowed stringed instruments due to this increase in value over time.

In addition to this natural tonal improvement, many components of the violin can be adjusted to improve the tonality and the vibrancy of it's sound.  

 

Rib Patch

Above is a photo of a patch of maple wood that has been grafted to the lower bottom bout rib of a cello which had been punctured.To the right shows the blocks and clamps used to stablize the patch while it was glued.

 

 

Below is an example of Peg Hole Bushing repair. In this case the peg holes were worn out and enlarged. The peg hole area is cleaned, new wood placed in and new holes drilled and re-cambered. The final step is retouching the area.

 

Use of Hide Glue

Hide glue, made from boiled animal hide, has been traditionally used for centuries in violin making and repair. Hide glue remains to this day the most efficient and effective glue for this purpose on violins, violas, cellos and basses.

A remarkable property of hide glue is it's elasticity, which allows the parts of the instrument to expand and contract at the seams.Traditionally, bowed stringed instruments are made of spruce, maple and ebony. Use of hide glue helps to avoid cracks and sparations between these different woods, each of which expand and contract at different rates. However, the nature of the delicate form of bowed stringed instruments leaves them vulnerable to cracks and separations when the temperature and humidity changes.

Another ideal property of hide glue is what is known as the "crackling effect." This describes the way the glue "crackles" (separates) when a thin palette knife is placed inside a glued seam. This allows the restorer to gently separate the parts of the violin without causing damage to the wood, even centuries after the violin was made.

The most basic repair is re-glueing and clamping various joints. Pictured to the far left is a cello being clamped to repair the seam. To the right of that is a photo showing clamping using molds to reform the corners of an 1813 Schweitzer violin.

Grafting a Soundpost Patch

VIn this set of photos we see the steps in creating a Soundpost patch. At times the top table will need to be reinforced with a Spruce patch in the area where the soundpost resides. The stresses of the soundpost can cause problems such as cracks, indentations and warpage.

In the final photo below shows a smooth transition of the fitted SP graft.

 

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