Sign in to follow this  
mirajewel

longevity of f/b repair?

Recommended Posts

What is, or should be, the average longevity of a reglued fingerboard? And what affects its coming loose?

The reason I ask is, in the 30 years I've owned my favorite violin, I have only had to have the fingerboard reglued once, and then it was just a little wiggly.

But here the other day, in not more than 6 months since it was repaired, the entire thing fell off in my hand just as I stood to perform! i felt it in practice...one minute it was absolutely fine, then the next instant I felt it shift, looked at it and saw 3/4 of it had come undone! The rest shortly followed!

I understand that changes in humidity, air pressure, etc. probably affect this, and the violin has been recently getting played a great amount, but still, shouldn't this repair have held for years rather than months? Am I possible doing something that caused it to loosen prematurely...perhaps keeping too much humidity in its environment?

i do not wish for this to happen again, especially just when I stand to perform, and then I have to play on a lesser quality and unfamiliar instrument.

Please enlighten!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to make a leap here and say that the previous person did a better job gluing the board on than the current one. My guess, from my own unhappy experience, is that Mr. Now followed the usual contemporary advice to heat everything up well, work fast, and clamp tight. In my experience this does a great job of squeezing out every last bit of glue from the joint--I'll bet if you'd looked at the underside of the board you wouldn't have seen a bit of evidence of glue there. Don't heat, work slow. Then clamp tight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my #1 violin--the one I've never worked on, except to put on a new tailpiece--the board is showing daylight in the middle and still secure at the ends. Differential shrinkage in the woods, I guess, due to dry weather. I see no evidence of dried glue, so the luthier must have used the method Michael criticized. I don't believe I'll take it apart--I'm going to try to work some thinned warm hide glue in with a knife and reclamp.

Mark_W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to speculate a little too....

I think that the glue holding your fingerboard down only recently started to fail and the end became unglued first. The repairman then worked some glue into the open area. Subsequently the remainder of the glue joint failed and the recently glued area didn't hold either.

As a rule, a well cleaned and fitted joint (that is properly glued as Michael points out)will last a long time. Working glue into a joint which has not been cleaned of the old glue will not have much longevity. Nevertheless, no harm was done by the last repair and I wouldn't critisize the choice of trying that method first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by Christopher Reuning:

As a rule, a well cleaned and fitted joint (that is properly glued as Michael points out)will last a long time. Working glue into a joint which has not been cleaned of the old glue will not have much longevity. Nevertheless, no harm was done by the last repair and I wouldn't critisize the choice of trying that method first.

I had the same speculation as did Christopher, which was why I asked the question..... I guess the answer is redundant at this point? smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your insightful replies! I do not of course exactly know what the luthier did...However, as Michael described, i did not see evidence of glue on the maple neck, only spots here and there of black ebony discoloration from the fingerboard. I did not turn the fingerboard over and look at the back of it, I guess I was too shocked at being put on the spot having to solo on another instrument not entirely to my liking, and worried I myself had caused the failure in some way.

The failure came both times from the end nearest the bridge. The top at the nut tried valiently to hang on...but, alas, its defenses finally caved in.

At any rate, the good news is, I guess, that inasmuch as now the board is completely off, it will have to be entirely reglued, and hopefully this time more along the lines of what you all have touted.

Which means, Mark W, that you also should think about repairing your violin as Jeffrey, Christopher, and Michael have described.

My concern was that perhaps i over-humidified my violin. The first time the board failed, we had been having very cold dry weather, and I actually would take it close to my steam bath and place it on towels and let it absorb some of the hot wet steam. I thought perhaps I had "melted" its glue, though the wood of the violin looked wonderful after a steam!

Recently, we have had storm after storm, lots of wet humid weather, and I keep humidifiers as well in its case, so I thought perhaps I had once again over saturated the instrument.

This same instrument I know for a fact never received any humidification for at least 20 or more years, as it had been stored in a very good case in a closet. It survived an earthquake, and the collapse of the closet down around and on it.

It is in perfect condition, not one separation, not one crack. It is perhaps circa 1910. I surely appreciate it and do not wish to harm it or cause the rest of it to fall apart!

Would too much moisture cause this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Egad!

Never give your violin a steam bath, please.

A violin wants to have continuity of temperature and humidity. While extremes in any direction are not advisable, rapid changes of temperature and/or humidity is what causes severe damage. (cracks, warping, glue failure)

Give your cigars a steam bath to revive them, but never a wooden object.

(or better yet, send your Cubans to me and I will put them in my humidor)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah,Christopher, don't worry...I did that only once, based on the advice of some on the fingerboard, and then when the fingerboard began to intially come loose, I stopped. That is not what caused this recent failure at all. And you can keep your nasty cigars to yourself, please!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>>Which means, Mark W, that you also should think about repairing your violin as Jeffrey, Christopher, and Michael have described.<<<

Hi, mirajewel, good to see your posting. Yes, if I were using this violin for performance, I'd take the precaution of a complete regluing. In fact, I've replaced entire fingerboards on a couple of older violins. I just believe in low-trauma, minimal-impact work where possible.

Mark_W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.