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warren

Is this violin too good for me?

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Dear all,

I am an absolute beginner when it comes to violin repair. The violin here is one of four broken violins that I purchased on the bay to practise violin repairing. The other three are, as I expected, pure junk. This however looks reasonably good. I have proceeded to open the top and am not sure whether I should go any further. The internal work looks decent to my untrained eyes. The only significant damage is a long straight crack on the right f hole side that is not close the bar area. The question is - is this violin something too good for a beginner like me?

Regards,

Warren

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I agree with Manfio... Looks like you did a pretty good job of removing the top... I would save it for your last project of the four... just my two cent's!

--------------------------------

MARK

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I'm going to disagree with the rest. The violin is in excellent shape now, and cracks in a clean violin are the hardest job there is to do right in the whole spectrum of repair. If you decide to do it, please just glue it--don't try to retouch it, and especially, resist the temptation to scrape the outside to make it level if it isn't after gluing. If after you've glued it, the two sides are absolutely, perfectly even with each other, you've done well, and you could run some clear varnish in the crack to seal the wood, but I wouldn't go one step further without outside help.

What makes a good repair on a crack like this is if it ends up totally invisible afterwards--not a hint that it's there, including no shiny streak of new varnish down the front. If you do less than that, down the line someone's going to be looking at it and asking, "Aw, why did he do that? This was such a nice violin." But if you just glue it and don't mess with the varnish around it, it will be much easier to straighten it out later. Retouch is usually where things go horribly wrong, and I would learn retouching on something else.

In fact, if you decide to do this, it might be worth taking it to someone who can really retouch well, and working a deal where you can watch how it's done. I was never a great retoucher, and I don't even like to do things like this--I pass them to my assistant, who's blessed with a lot of retouching talent.

And if you have the Weisshaar repair book, just rip out the retouching chapter and throw it away, please.

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I think it's a very good looking violin. I agree that you should

leave it till last. And also, maybe take it to a good professional

repair person and let him to talk you through it in detail. It

really deserves a very good repair job, and doing it yourself

should be a project to take seriously as I'm sure you will. Best of

luck, and to the violin too! (-:

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Hide glue, no scraping of varnish as Michael suggested. Perhaps a cleat or two, and weaker glue when the top goes back on. You did do a clean job with the top removal, congrats.

quote:


And if you have the Weisshaar repair book, just rip out the retouching chapter and throw it away, please.

But do keep the cheek patching section . . . ( teasing )

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A question for the violin makers out there: Is that neck and top block connection what it should be? It looks like a pretty shallow connection between neck and top block. Actually it looks like there's quite a gap between neck and top block.

Concerning whether to fix this violin: It's a nice looking one, better than the average commercial fiddle. Why not save it and make it your 35th violin you repair instead of number 4?

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I agree with Skiingfiddler... you should get quite a few top crack repairs under your belt before attempting this one...it is a nice fiddle! You did say you were a beginner... Do you even have the appropriate clamps...and how may times have you used them repairing this type of crack?

---------------------------------------

Mark

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That looks like a quite hard crack to glue well! Set up what ever clamping devices you will use and make it perfectly level without glue. If I use stretcher clamps, I usuallly apply a strip of glue on the slightly heated inside (crack is still closed) then after about 1,5 hours I take of clamps, and very carefully rub in clue from the outside, (inside glue keeps crack toghether and level) put back your stretcher clamps. Clamping pressure should be low.

Some people don't like this method, and you certainly shouldn't try it on that fiddle the first time. Practise on similar cracks. Also use thin, clean glue. Also make sure surfacesa around the crack are clean, there must not go any dirt into the crack!

The most important thing, however is what Michael pointed out; don't scrape or sand or retouch anything. If your glue job isn't perfect, it isn't such a big deal to do that over again! (In case, start a new thread; "undoing my glue job" )

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Michael Darnton

And if you have the Weisshaar repair book, just rip out the retouching chapter and throw it away, please.

Uh oh, I haven't read it. What does it say?

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Thanks for all the advice. You guys are really great.

The original fingerboard is in good shape and I don't need a new one. The neck angle seems to be correct too. I have "successfully" repaired a few cracks in the past but am not going to touch thhis one until I feel more confident about my work. In any event, if I am going to work on it, I will not go beyond fixing the crack and regluing it. Retouching or revarnishing I dare not.

Thanks and regards,

Warren

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I think you ought to get on with it as soon as you feel

comfortable.  Do not wait too long or you will never get

things done.  Afterall you bought the violins to practice

repairing.  Everything has to have a first time!  Do it

and come back here to tell us all about it.  Good luck.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
warren

The neck angle seems to be correct too.

Warren

My concern was only indirectly neck angle. It looked to me, in image .....61, like there was a gap between the neck block and the upper block in the body. But maybe that "gap" was just the overstand or the overstand's shadow.

If I re-interpret that "gap" as the overstand, then it looks like the neck block is not mortised into the upper body block but simply lies against it after the neck block passes by the ribs and linings.

My question is, then, how common is it to have the neck block abutting up against the upper body block, but not mortised into it? Is mortising into the upper body block done at all? If so, how far?

I would think that mortising into the upper body block would make for a more secure neck set.

I'm not suggesting that the connection between neck and body on this fiddle needs to be corrected. Just curious, in general, about mortised and non-mortised upper block connections with the neck.

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skiingfiddler; That 'gap' you saw between the shoulder of the neck and the top block is actually just the upstand of the shoulder which looks dark because of the varnish and shaddow. If you follow the line of the shoulder down to the block, you'll see that actually it is embeded to about 1/4 inch as is normal. Hope that clears it up.

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Thanks, Choo-Choo and Warren, for your clarifications.

Yes, I can see now that the neck block is mortised into the upper block a few mm. That's a very solid looking neck joint.

I would think that that kind of careful work at the neck joint would confirm the care that went into making this violin, in general, and would confirm the overall high quality of this violin.

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Parrallax creates the appearance of extra width of the linings in photo 061 as they approach the upper and lower blocks tending to create the appearance of a shallow mortice, as mentioned by Skiing Fiddler, in the original pix of the neck/neckblock. A nice fiddle.

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