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fiddlecollector

Would you leave a violin with this guy?

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Jacob

Luckily it isn't a real Vuillaume.

My thoughts exactly Jacob. I always find it interesting how the term "restoration" is so widely used these days. It seems no-one repairs violins any more... they all "restore" them. Oh well... at least he made a good effort on the full documentation side of things.

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It's terrible to read and to see how he did it.

What I don't understand is that if he calls himself a professional he documented every stage in the 'restoration' process indicating that he really doesn't know what the harm is.

A violin maker? Don't think so.

Consulting his website I see this guy as a woodworker, trying to sell everything that gives a sound and that is made from wood.

In conclusion: no not any instrument will go to his hands! Never.

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Question... What about the grooves on the inside of the top plate? In this case, wouldn't it have be advisable to graduate the top plate, remove those grooves, do a standard graduation of the plate?

My first violin was one of these "Vuillaumes", bought it for $40 at a garage sale, in 1971. I was told by a luthier that it wasn't a Vuillaume, that it was probably a German factory fiddle, just stamped on the back. I wonder if it had grooves inside!

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Hey Guys! Be nice!

Patricia now has a presentable memento of her mother's violin and some lovely documentation of the "reclaimation process." There was no way one could spoil the finish of that violin, anyway.

We now posses the mid 1836 Tresselt violin my wife's grandfather brought to the US when he emmigrated here to make his living in NYC playing it (and other violins later). It was made by one of his ancestors (and hers), violin makers going back centuries (in the book).

Hard to say what it would play like if my late father-in-law (a cellist) had not sat on it when he was a small boy (both bridge and soundpost puctures of the top, total back crack). The restoration is most presentable, probably revarniished, and playable, but not a big tone.

It is a meaningful thing for some people to have a tangible token of their genetic past. (Religious icons, too, must be some symptom of the same "instinct.") Someday this violin will probably go to our violin-playing granddaughter to carry the memory and stories of never-known ancestors into the future.

Andy

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One of my music students stumbled on this thread while doing some research for class and was totally confused. It would help if someone more knowledgeable than I would list what he did wrong and why the work was so bad.

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The process in the file looks like an old woman (or man for that matter) just went through a face lift...

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Tropicalfruitmom

One of my music students stumbled on this thread while doing some research for class and was totally confused. It would help if someone more knowledgeable than I would list what he did wrong and why the work was so bad.

Good point. Perhaps you could get your music student to read this article:

Conservation & Restoration

It's a very basic look at the approach involved in restoration. The fundamental principles of "minimal" and "reversible" have certainly not been applied in this case. Not that I'm saying that this violin necessarily warranted that sort of rigorous approach, but I do think it should always be the direction you come from in any job.

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I think it boils down to two issues. One is the drama of implying that this violin is somehow "important" by some implied link to J.B.

Vuillaume's family, which it has none of. The second is the stripping of the top, which is a cardinal sin in the violin business, and shouldn't have been done in conjunction with any assumption that the violin was any kind of Vuillaume. In reality, the violin was trash (as the ruts in the top amply confirm) so there wasn't any great violin sin committed. A ghost issue is the discussion of the glues used in the violin which leads me to wonder if the "restorer" used modern, non-hide glue in the "restoration", which would be another violin sin. In real terms, a VSO was given appropriate VSO treatment, so the big problem is the implication that this was a good job on a good violin, that people might reference for how good work is done.

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Michael,

It seems to me that the "restorer" made no bones about the "value" of this specific instrument. He referenced a similar instrument that had sold for $1,100. He has written a sort of vaniity piece for "Patricia" to go along with the aging family instrument ("heirloom"). It probably makes her feel good and it looks better than it did. Sort of like looking up an old family "coat of arms."

I do, however agree, with the point that restoration of good instruments requires adherence to certina principles so as to preserve as much as possible of both the original work and the playing qualities.

But it is also important to recognize the economics of repair. If a late 19th C factory (but decent) instrument required as much restoration as a famous name early 18th C one, I would cedrtainly expect the lu8thier to take some shortcuts: for example in wood matching.

Andy

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I checked out the rest of the website and saw the "restorer" makes folk instruments and there was really no harm done as long as someone doesn't use the pictorial as a "how to" lesson for restoring a violin.

I am considering sending something to them for restoration (see attached photo) after seeing what can be done in the right hands and would like other opinions.

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Calling the work an art project sort of gets the guy off the hook, though I share tropicalfruitmom's concern about the effect this presentation may have on the uninitiated. Just can't resist a quip about how the PDF file damaged my computer, maybe cause there wasn't enough carnauba in the wax.

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"Would you leave a violin with this guy?"

Depending on what violin it was, and how much he charged, I might. There are many violins I have acquired and thrown out rather than bother repairing - because I would not be able to recover even the cost of parts in good conscience.

When you have a cheap, student quality or mass produced violin that is destined for the city landfill, and no budget, then anything that is done to it in order to give it new life is fair game.

Then too, there is the fact that a family heirloom with no real monetary value - that needs a hundred dollar fix up - is not in the same category as an old Italian antique that needs a couple thousand dollars (or more) worth of high standard repair.

I've done much *worse* than what has been shown here - and will probably be called upon to do it again and again especially when it comes to old school inventory.

Sometimes I turn such jobs down from the public, or the music store, simply because I'm tired of such repairs, other times, I accept the job because I know how quickly they can be done - and that the customer has been made to understand that what they have is not worth a great deal of money, even if it is valuable to them by virtue of having been uncle bill's fiddle.

I will say that I charge a lot more now than I did many years ago, for any work including hack-type repairs - they take time away from what I really want to be doing, so, the owner has to really want the thing fixed. I have done extensive repair/refinish work with the understanding that the fiddle was going to be hung up on the wall to look good, and never strung up to tension or played...

I one time repaired an old plywood bass that had been taken out of the school inventory years before (after having been butchered, butchered, and re butchered), with copious amounts of fiberglass, epoxy, and a couple of lag bolts... ten years later, it is still being used in the school orchestra. IIRC the repair was done for under $100.00, and included many "found" parts and took the better part of a single afternoon to complete.

On the other hand, I have charged well over that same $100.00 for putting on a new violin bridge. It all depends on what you have, what you want, and how long it's going to take.

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A good job of this case is to make it playable and presentable as the luthier said at

the beginning. It was a okay job for $300-$400 in my estimate.

My question now is that: If somene ask you to "restore" such a violin, what is your best way to go about it, other than not accepting the job? What would you do it differently? Just curious.

(1) Smooth out the gloves (use finger plane if the top thick enough)

(2) Bleach the darken top to lighter color

(3) Sand it (darken part ) down

(4) Make sure neck angle is rght?

(5) new bridge, new post, new pegs

(6) A new label of the repair luthier with date

Any other ?

Thank you

(PS. Use only hot hide glue, a standard practice of a good luthier, I forgot to mention)

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Taking into account what I said above,

not accepting the job is very often the best course of action if there is no real budget, and if you consider your time valuable.

Hack repair is a sort-of art also, and must be done quickly and with confidence or it swiftly becomes not cost effective.

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