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Warped fiddle

Gary Hounshell

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I am trying to fix what someone fouled up a long time ago.

 This old fiddle has been "repaired" with about 1/2 pound of

aliphatic glue.  The back was glued on to the ribs unevenly

and the whole body is warped (looking at the body from the endpin,

the right lower bout has dropped).  I have removed both top

and back.  Both have warped about 3/8 inch.  The garland

retains this new shape.  My plans were to cut out a hole in

flat plywood to accommodate the arch of the back, then glue the

garland to the back by clamping the body to the plywood.  The

top would be glued on the same way so that the body would remain

flat during the entire gluing process.  What I am afraid of is

that the back, being maple, will be under so much stress that it

will try to go back to its warped state and I will not have

accomplished anything.  Any suggestions?

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There are many here with more knowledge than I , but I think you are on the right track. I would moisten the maple from the inside, getting it fairly thoroughly damp, and then clamp it to the plywood you suggested-- allow it to completely dry, and I think it will retain the flat shape. Same with the top-- I think you will have no trouble with the top or back.

The garland is what I would worry about...If it was really flat to begin with, then I suppose it will go flat again-- but it seems counterintuitive that it could take the compound curves you seem to be describing, without a glue-seam letting go, or a crack developing.

However, you are there looking at it, and I am only trying to envision, so your word is good enough. I think if you can gradually push the garland back to flat and square (parallel sides, etc.) then the rest should be a breeze.

Maple retains new shapes quite well-- the ribs are maple, too...

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Thanks.  Would moistening the maple back (I assume it needs to

be pretty wet on the inside) allow moisture to bleed through and

affect the finish on the outside?  I'm sure moisture would

help, but I don't want to hurt anything.  I think this is

going to be a good instrument if I can do this right.  I

appreciate your input.


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I just finished a fiddle like you describe.Same problem with a bad repair down the line.I used a heavy weight clamped in place and a folded paper towl or two dipped in pretty hot water next to the back to get the back straightened out.It will take several applications to get it to straighten .Go slow as the heat and the wet towel will have a tendecy to seperate the seam if you get it too wet or to warm.


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