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Hi Guys and Gals. Let me start by saying thanks to all those who have shared their expertise here. I have not posted often but have learned much from what many of you have contributed these last several years. Whether my skills have improved from it is yet to be decided...... I recently managed to pick up a possibly awful, but interesting (but maybe not awfully interesting) violin to practice more of my psuedo-restoration skills on. First, however, I want to make sure it isn't a Strad, just in case he made some violins while vacationing in France (like I have heard here that he did in Germany sometimes). I would love to know what it really is and what era it belongs to. Second, I would welcome any expert suggestions on the best approach to repairing it. The lower bout/rib on the treble side appears to have been very poorly repaired/misaligned at one time and needs to be pulled apart and properly repaired again. I assume that taking out the bottom block, shaving the ribs to about a 1/2" taper and splicing in a new piece behind them is the best way to fix that? The ribs could be much better aligned with the plates in this area too. Also, the areas under the bridge feet show what looks like, and feels like alot of wear down into the top plate wood. However, measuring with a makeshift feeler gauge under a steel rule only shows about .006" (.2 mm) wear in this area max. Should I be concerned enough to add any wood under this area when the top plate is off? It feels and looks much deeper than that measurement! What I know about the violin. ... The label wants to infer that it is French (Caussin Luthier, Neufchateau (Vosges)). It gives every impression that it had been used quite a bit and is very worn, almost to the purfling where the chin goes and the hand go. No evidence that I can see that a chinrest was ever attached (interesting). It has markings on it that make me wonder if it once was a school violin. It has an eight digit number scratched into the back below the button (school violin???). It also has a very small number (2778) stamped into the ribs near the end pin. I do not have decades of experience, but looking at the violin in person leaves me with the impression that the belly plate and the back plate have been made with noticably more care originally than the scroll/neck were. This is because what is left of the original plate edges, surfaces and purfling just seem more carefully done. The plates are smooth on the inside (however there are no cleats on the belly plate, even though it is also made of two pieces). Cleats on the back plate in the French style I think. Bass bar is a separate piece. It has 4 corner blocks and linings. From what I can see the corner blocks look like the wider versions that allowed more clamping area, like I believe was more common on French work? The rib miters seem to meet, best as I can tell, on the C-bout side. When you get to the scroll and neck, you quickly notice that the scroll is quite noticably out of alignment with the neck laterally. The scroll carving/fluting stops well short of what you would hope to see on a better violin. Actually, the location of hole for the endpin is measurably off to the bass side by a bit, so I guess that the scroll and neck are not the only things done a little sloppy. Some measurements...bottom bouts measure 203 mm, top bouts measure 163 mm, C bouts measure 106 mm, length of back plate (not including button) is about 357. Rib height in the C bouts is 32 mm. Top plate height is about 14.1 mm. Bottom plate height is 14.7 mm. The neck seems to have been cut a bit thin originally, being around 17.3 mm thick, including fingerboard, along most of its length. I cannot see any "embossing" effect on the label to indicate older printing methods, but then it is a little hard to be sure. No other visible labeling or marking inside that I can see. No "France" or "Made in France" labels to date it to the 20th century. No signs of missing labels I can see. The rosewood pegs look old, or at least show evidence of much handwork in fitting. The finish seems to be a thin feeling alcohol-solvable one. Thanks in advance for any help you can give..... Kev