Sign in to follow this  
gmhg41

Broken in two pieces

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I recently acquired a violin that's broken in two pieces. The split follows the front and back seam in places, but mostly it's broken near the seam.

It's not a very expensive instrument, but it's not bad. Maybe retail $400 new. I'd like to glue it back together.

What kind of glue should I use? I know hide glue is used when building instruments but I wonder if a repair like this would be better with epoxy?

It fits back together well, although there is a small piece "flaked off" that's missing.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bob,

Some will tell you to use Titebond while most will tell you to use Hide glue and there are arguments for both.

Personally I wont use anything other than hide glue on a violin, especially on a repair. If I don't get the crack back together perfectly the first time I can always easily go back and fix it again, if using hide glue. Not so easy with anything else.

Can you show a picture of the repair you want to attempt.

I am unsure as to what you mean by broken in 2 pieces, while mentioning the top and back seam.

Do you mean the top or back came loose from the sides?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your description isn't clear(at least to me)as to the nature and location of the 'break'; however, hot hide glue is best to use. If you're not into using hide glue and wish to do it yourself, an easy way to obtain some is to buy packet of Knox gelatin (unflavored) at the grocers,make a mixture of approx 2 parts water and 1 part gelatin, heat in a double boiler (or microwave) to a temp of 130 degrees or so (about the temp when the solution begins to 'smoke' much like vapor from a cup of coffee.

BobH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: gmhg41:

I would suggest using Titebond II on any areas that are not normally held together with hide glue. Titebond II is stronger then hide glue and is reversible. Do not use Titebond III it is not reversible like II. If you ever wide up with a broken neck then you can use III, but no screws, just use dowel pins.

Al;

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll try to describe it better.

Imagine holding a violin out in front of you by the scroll, with the two f-holes facing you. Draw a vertical line down the center of the body. Left half and right half in two seperate pieces. That's what I have. The break generally follows the seams on the front and back. It goes through the end pin, and next to the neck.

So I can hold each side of the instrument in different hands and inspect the interior. The top and the back are still firmly attached to the sides. The neck is still attached, too.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

seriously though,if you were serious of putting it back together the only serious option would be to remove the plates and join them first (or try to,which isnt easy) and then replace the top and bottom blocks if they are split.If you just glued it back together as is,it would probably just break again at some point.Hot hide glue is the only glue i use on violins and the only serious option if you want a less intrusive looking repair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hot hide glue--absolutely. And fiddle collector is right about the procedure, too. You will essentially be rebuilding the violin out of its original parts.

Once you remove the top and back plates, you can add some temporary cleats from the inside of the sections, which will serve as guides. Each cleat is only glued to one side, so that when the two sides come together each side has to line up with the other, or not at all. The cleats can be removed after the seam is perfect.

There are special clamps made for joining plates across the arching like this. You can buy them fairly cheaply, or make them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

then youll also have the broken ribs to deal with also.

I`ll add that its not usually a viable repair on a less expensive instrument and only really worthwhile if you like the violin and have plenty of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, what fiddle player suggested might sound easy, but in fact it is not. ESP when you have 2 top and back open seams. If you do not have experience with repairing violins, I would suggest you to bring it to a luthier to fix it. If you bought the violin off ebay, tonally, it might sound better than average $400 violin and worth a try. To me, seam crack is a annonying thing to fix. I would open all of them up and take off the top and back to reglue the plates back. then glue the side, set neck.. just like rebuilding a violin. It is time consumng and you have to be very patient about it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All that said, if I were you, I would go ahead and do it-- just take one step at a time. And, one reason to use the hide glue, is if you get a joint wrong, a quick trip to the teakettle, and it comes right back apart. Steam takes hide glue apart as if by magic. Titebond is a different story entirely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn`t attempt it unless it was an expensive violin but if someone wants to try then fair enough.Its a good learning curve and not much of a risk with a 400$ fiddle.It cant end up in any worse condition than it is now,can it?Taking it to a repair man /woman would cost a fortune ,far more than the fiddles worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any idea how it got into this condition?

If you want to learn, this one sounds like a good one. Take it all apart very carefully. Don't break up the ribs anymore than they already are. You will also have to deal with the missing piece you mentioned.

I understand spending to much time on a cheap violin. I just spent the past 2 weeks reconstructing a Cheap Curatoli that looked like an Elephant sat on it,

just because it was well made and looks like it has been played to death (literally).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would look at it as building a violin and let someone else do the woodcarving. This is an excellent chance to learn about assembling a violin. You can build all of the clamps needed to put it back together, or you can buy the clamps for a U-haul full of money. Go to your local home center or hardware store and buy 1 length (about 36")of threaded 1/4 rod, which is threaded the whole length. Buy a 1" wooden dowell, again 36" long, and 22 to 25 #8 X #=3 inch long round head screws and 50 large diameter washers. Cut the dowell into slices about 1/2 inch long and drill #8 holes through the center so that you end up with a donut. Drill 1/4 inch holes through enough to make clamps to reach across the fiddle. Get enough nuts and washers to build the long clamps. With the long clamps, put a bend in the rod so that it will clear the top of the fiddle. Make some wedges to slip between the clamps and the top and back plates. Mix up the hot glue, make sure everything lines up flat and true, and clamp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's quite a few pieces to be gluing back together so the most important thing is to use hot hide glue so that you can easily release any areas you want to make adjustements to later when you begin putting it all back together.

So avoid PVC glues as even if they are "so-called" reversible, it's very difficult.

Especially avoid TITEBOND II as (According to Titebond)this is meant for exterior woodwork such as bird houses, mailboxes and picnic tables,due to it's water resitant properties.

Titebond also recommends it for chopping blocks so it's quite obvious it's not really reversible

Titebond technical data

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

-----I would look at it as building a violin and let someone else do the woodcarving.------

It is most likely that the instrument got a good soaking sometime in the past. The glued seams might be faulty all round. It will be difficult to join the arched top and back together without special tools (Brian Hart in Wales makes some). Also the arching, the ribs and neck might be distorted.

All in all it will be a more difficult job than making a new one!

Cheers Wolfjk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Naw...I've done several of these. It isn't that bad.

The biggest stress is in the actual "OK, the hot glue is on, the clock is ticking, go, go, go!" aspect of the game--but you can minimize this by practice-fitting each joint half a dozen times, say, so you KNOW it will go together smoothly, then just do it. And if the glue gels before you have it right, grab the hair dryer, and warm the joint up again.

One piece at a time, one step at a time...you can do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

Any idea how it got into this condition?

If you want to learn, this one sounds like a good one.


I don't know for sure. It appears like it may have fallen on the edge. Perhaps the front and back seams were weak to begin with, and the fall finished the job. It's one of the well known student brands. Perhaps Glaesel. I just want to fix it because it's broken. I don't really have a use for it beyond that.

I have been wanting to build a violin, so I could use this as a learning experience then. My first step shall be to clean my workbench and prepare my clamps and glue station! I've got a couple books that should help (one on building, and one on repairs).

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll be sure to report back how it goes. Actually, I'll probably have a question or two along the way. Perhaps I will refinish it too, to learn how to do that.

Bob

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.