UG Fiddlesmith

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Everything posted by UG Fiddlesmith

  1. Maybe fifteen years ago a fellow fiddler showed me how he rehaired bows and I remember him telling me not to use glue in the mortises. Now after 15 years of not using glue I wonder why so many of the bows that come across my bench have moderately or severe glued mortise plugs. Often I spend 15 to 20 minutes digging, drilling, etc trying to get out a plug and not damage for or tip. Then there are the guy (gals) who put a drop of super glue on the slide. I am always thrilled to get in a repeat rehair (one I had previousl done) and I zoom through the process. Best I tell I have rehaired 2000 bows-not a record I'm sure but I am still learning. Any comments?
  2. An old bow (1900) was brought to me with a broken tongue with a request to repair the frog; I don't feel the bow is of high value and the owner doesn't want to spend high dollars to restore it. I have ideas how to do the repair but would like to hear from others who have actually done it. If all else fails I can fit a new frog but I would like to restore the old frog. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  3. I think Claim tickets are a must; I have been rehairing for about 15 years and rehair 5 to 10 a week; I work for a medium sized shop and don't often meet the customer and several people intake the bows so I have no connection with the bow and the owner. I insist that the bow be placed in a plastic bow bag with the order placed inside and a hang tag tied to the bow. I try to get the intake person to make a brief inspection checking for cracks in the tip, head frog etc. If a name is stamped on the bow I want that noted on the Claim Ticket. Occasionally a dispute will occur but I give a careful inspection before I do anything to the bow and if anything looks "iffy" I stop and call the owner. If I had the facilities to do it I would photograph all bows at intake as someday I know that would be valuable. I am aware of a situation elsewhere where a bow was switched and I played a part in getting the original bow back to the owner so, these things do happen.
  4. A bow was brought to me with the screw broken off about 20mm from the button and the frog would not come off the stick; I attempted to remove the hair and was able to loosen the ferrule and the slide but that didn't help and finally cut the hair which allowed the frog to move along the stick but didn't want to come out. After working the frog back and forth several times and removing a lot of thick grease and dirt the frog come out. The break in the screw was flush with the eyelet which is why it finally came out but had the screw broken off and protruded from the eyelet then I don't know how the frog would be removed. Any ideas or experiences? I might add that it is a nice looking bow, gold mounted but with an awful rusty lead screw. I would have thought that a bow of this quality would have had a stainless steel screw.
  5. Recently a student violin was presented to me with all four pegs really stuck and they were really stuck and didn't want to move with a peg wrench or hammer and punch; I stuck the instrument in the refrigerator in the afternoon and the next morning the pegs were loose enough to remove with moderate finger pressure. I cleaned and lubed the pegs and no more problem.
  6. Go online and type in "Bow badger" for in interesting device which bores and rebores holes in endpins. It might fit the bill for what you are needing. If I did more bow repair I might invest in something like this.
  7. I have mostly fit medium gauge strings to instruments and would like to know when it is appropriate to use light or heavy gauge strings; according to the package the amount of tension increases as the gauge goes from light to heavy and amounts to about 10% increase per size. Thanks
  8. Thanks for the replys to the question about bow tips and epoxy; I really learned that I was doing almost everything wrong and it is a miracle that any of those tips held. It was news to me that carbon fiber was plastic-most adheasive packages say they don't bond well with plastic. I have put quite a few plastic tips on plastic bows and expect there are more to come. A lot of carbon fiber bows are being sold and the tips do break/come off. Thanks again.
  9. I filed the surface to remove old glue, scored the head with a knife, scored the tip, placed in a jig to hold it stable, mixed the epoxy and applied it, clamped it. Ditto for the the CA and accelerator.
  10. I have a carbon fiber bow that needs a new tip installed. I have tried two-part epoxy and Cyano Acrilate and the tips peeled off like a Post it note sticker. The original tip was white plastic and the back half disappeared unnoticed and when I proceeded to remove the remnant of the tip it came off with no difficulty. Any clues on how to glue stuff to a carbon fiber fiddle bow? Thanks
  11. I put one cleat at the neck end, two on one side and one on the other then it seems I need one more to tighten up the bar so it will barely move; I slide it no more than .5 mm. Someday I am going to count reps on a soundpost patch-I might need a bigger sheet of paper.
  12. I recently opened a violin with the intent of shortening the ribs as they were hanging off the back edge only to find the bass bar about 50% loose from the top-some attempt had been made in the past to reglue this bar but apparently there was too much spring to overcome. It took only a few minutes to remove the bar in one piece. I proceeded to shorten the ribs and then started on the bass bar. I planed it to thickness, cut it to rough length, layed out its position and tack glued it in place pretty well following Weishaar & Shipman and Johnson and Courtnal. After drying I used my handy little washer to scribe the curved shape of the bar, then removed the bar and trimmed with a knife to the scribed line then fitted 5 cleats to keep it in place while chalk fitting. The purpose of this thread is to describe how I kept up with the time I spent starting with a stopwatch to determine how much time it took to place the bar on the top and get some chalk transfer then remove the chalk. It takes me about a minute to do one repetition. I tallied each repepition until I was satisfied with the fit. I started with a small straight thumb place and did six repetitions then switched to a scraper to remove the chalk for 20 more repetitions for a total of 26 reps. I have done this experiment before and had a lot more reps but I am finding that the less I use the plane and the more I use the scraper the better it works and I think that is because the plane removes too much material which requires some correction. By timing myself I am sure I have improved my efficiency and thus my costs. I have spent over 5 hours installing a bar in the past. Now I need to figure out how to trim the bar and get predictable results.
  13. Brad-What you said makes a lot of sense to me. Also, your demo on making a cast was extremely well done. Thanks for all your help.
  14. Lots of really great tips on making casts-Thanks. Here's my question. Almost everyone recommends a cast when fitting a soundpost patch but I've read nothing about making a cast when fitting a bass bar, neither new making nor replacing. What is the difference?Thanks again.
  15. The sequence outlined in W & S is pretty complicated and the few attempts to make casts have been anything but easy; I am hoping someone who has a smooth technique would share some tips on how to do this efficiently. It seems to take too much time and adds to the expense of an already expensive repair. I have done at least 10 soundpost patches, most of them without the benefit of a cast and never had a failure. I do use a shaped work block and it keeps the top from rocking and rolling while I work it but doesn't fit any particular top. My only attempt to use dental compound was a total failure.
  16. I have had this happen several times before in my shop and the failures all were from Socconi; I called and got blown off by a rude person at the other end of an 800 number. Like they are only a buck each so what's the big deal. When a tail gut fails I have to go through all the setup steps again and that takes time and time is money. Fortunately most of the failures happened on my bench and not after I had returned the instrument to the customer. I now insist on Wittner and fortunately have not had any failures there. This discussion has occured before on this site.
  17. Go for it Sarah; when you have completed whatever you tried to do you will have learned something and made a step into the fascinating field of instrument restoration. The trade fiddle is a good one to start on, nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just because the repair might not look perfect or invisible doesn't mean it won't play well or sound good. Use plenty of patience and keep on asking questions and keep on reading. Another North Carolina fiddler, fixer and maker.
  18. I was unable to register as a user; I could only login if I was registered and I could find no path to register as a new user. What did I miss?
  19. I had the top off a fiddle recently in order to repair some cracks in the top and I was checking the back for any looseness in seams by tapping around the edges, etc. I was holding the fiddle by the neck and checking the different tones here and there and finally grasped the fingerboard from the loose end and discovered that the instrument went tone dead. What is going on here? The fingerboard extension beyond the neck seemed to be acting like a tuning fork. I have heard of makers tuning the fingerboard but have never read any discussions of this. Any help here? Thanks
  20. I had the top off a fiddle recently in order to repair some cracks in the top and I was checking the back for any looseness in seams by tapping around the edges, etc. I was holding the fiddle by the neck and checking the different tones here and there and finally grasped the fingerboard from the loose end and discovered that the instrument went tone dead. What is going on here? The fingerboard extension beyond the neck seemed to be acting like a tuning fork. I have heard of makers tuning the fingerboard but have never read any discussions of this. Any help here? Thanks
  21. Old nice sounding fiddles get played a lot and have a lot of peg wear, holes out of round, pegs out of round, oversized, string hole worn, pegbox hole with 1:25 taper, etc, etc. Fitting a new 9mm peg often doesn't work well as it gives you a coarse adjustment and difficult tuning-if the old peg is big then the new peg will be bigger and that spells bushing the old hole to get a smaller better tuning peg. Bushing is a complicated, time consuming, costly. Hopefully your fiddle doesn't need peghole bushings but if it does count on at least $100 per peg to bush and fit a new ebony peg. If the peghole is smaller than 9mm then a Perfection peg eliminates the need for bushing and installation really goes quick; the pegs cost about twice as much as ebony pegs but work fairly well. You can get rid of those pesky fine tuners also.
  22. An imported 3/4 bass came in for a new bridge and mention was made of a loose endpin. The bridge was routine until I restrung the instrument and it kept loosing pitch; I happened to glance at the endpin only to find it working its way out of its hole. Upon closer inspecation I found the tailblock to be less than 1" thick, badly worn and signs of failure were obvious. I am not sure that fitting a new oversized endpin plug would do much good as I feel the tailblock is about 1/2 the thickness it should be to hold the plug. I feel that a proper fix would be to remove the top and replace the tailblock with a new one at least as thick as the tapered portion of the plug. I have removed more than a few bass tops and it is not a fun job and I think that the charges involved might surely exceed the cost of replacement. As it stands right now I applied some hide glue to the endpin plug, wrapped it with a piece of 120 grit sandpaper and tapped it in place, and brought it up to pitch. Although it is holding pitch now I don't think it is a permanent fix. I still wonder about fitting an oversized plug and reeming the hole with a slight downward slant. I hope to hear some good advice on this dilemma.
  23. You are sure right about the amount of work for a crappy board; the cello was a new ebay purchase and unplayable-I would have returned it but I did what the customer requested and only with a substantial deposit. I dyed the f/bd with black shoe dye then sprayed it with black enamel. It doesn't look any worse than when it came in and actually plays.
  24. Recently a cello was brought to me as the fingerboard buzzed all over the place; it is an import and although it looked nice it was poorly finished and setup. The fingerboard was flat most of the way up the neck towards the bridge then it sloped down a little more. After removing the setup and nut and checking with straightedges I begun planeing until the entire fingerboard was flat its entire length; I corrected its profile across the width. I have done quite a few of these over the years and always used a 6" block plane, low angle, good and sharp and finely set but after 20 or so minutes of planeing I noticed my spokeshave in the tool box and wondered how it would work in working a concavity in the fingerboard and discovered that it worked faster and easier than a block plane. I forgot to mention that the fingerboard was not ebony but some straw colored material that had been painted black. It chiped a litttle in places that had sworles but when I got it to the shape I wanted I then switched back to the block plane and then a scraper and finally a few different grits of paper. I found the spokeshave to have worked well, was more productive and less tiring than a plane. The spoke shave I have is a Record with a flat sole and two adjusting nuts which made it easy to set it to a fine cut. The cello doesn't buzz any more since I worked a .9mm to 1.5mm concavity as per H. Strobel specifications. Hope to hear from someone on this subject.
  25. I have a German made Strad copy of about 1900 vintage; it has suffered from poor repair much of which I have redone but I want to fit corner blocks in the two upper corners as there appears to never have had any. The lower corners appear to be full corner blocks. I would like some ideas as to how corner blocks should be installed after the corner has already been glued up. Thanks