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James M. Jones

crown cap how to do

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How does one go about it? and why?

Why? Repair, decoration or a form of antiquing.

How? Easier if done after the glue up but can be done before. There are many approaches but I like making my ebony piece close to the correct thickness, jewelers saw for the inner line, scribe this onto the violin button then remove the necessary material.

You need to decide on the style as there is a blended radius, varying width and, in my opinion, the most critical component, how to finish the tips. It is best to look at images of the "maker of influence" violins to make sure the collar matches the sleeve :)

OT Which James Bond movie was it that he made a similar reference regarding dyed hair color?

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PeSt   

Am I correct in saying that the classical makers made their instruments without crowns and that they had been fitted later due to wear or damage? Or had some classical instrument been built with a crown in place as decoration when new?

Cheers, Peter

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Am I correct in saying that the classical makers made their instruments without crowns and that they had been fitted later due to wear or damage? Or had some classical instrument been built with a crown in place as decoration when new?

Cheers, Peter

My understanding is that when the baroque nailed on necks were converted to the mortised in type neck, the button was extended and re-shaped with a crown to match the new neck heel.

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My understanding is that when the baroque nailed on necks were converted to the mortised in type neck, the button was extended and re-shaped with a crown to match the new neck heel.

It's an easy and somewhat accepted way to hide damage, repair a button which has been worn away, or correct someone elses past poor repair procedures, where they cut down the button when doing a neck reset, for example.

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How does one go about it? and why?

David Burgess and Ben Conover gave good answers as to why.

The cutout in the button, where the ebony will be fitted, is prepared before the neck is set (be it graft or reset or new). You essentially need vertical sides. It's done before just because the button is easier to work on without the neck in place. The neck set should be virtually finished and ready to glue so that you can see how the end of the neck set lines up with the button so that your cutout for the crown will be properly centered on the finished button. Afterwards the neck root is glued in place. You use the same template, used to prepare the cutout in the button, to prepare the ebony cutout roughly to the same size. I usually use a slip of ebony slightly thicker than the button thickness, wider than the finished button and at least a few centimeters long for easy handling during the fitting (for example 25mm x 5mm x 100mm). The flat surface of the bottom of the neck root/heel is used to rest the ebony as you check the fit against the surfaces you have prepared on the original button (at this point only the ebony should be touched during the fitting). Initially I work by eye and, at the end, I might want to see how well it fits with some chalk (trimming away where the white chalk marks show).

When you are satisfied with the fit it can be glued in place with hide glue. Carefully cut away most of the excess ebony and trim to final shape together with the heel of the neck.

The crown is not a structural addition but merely enlarges the button area so that you can finish your neck to a decent shape that would have been otherwise impossible with the old mucked up button. Some like this decorative form of button enlargement and others do not. An alternative is to do it in maple or ivory (I am against using Ivory, but I have seen them like that on occasion).

In the instruments of Stradivari, as Sacconi says in his book, the buttons were even larger than they are now and, like the 1690 tenor viola in Florence, he believed that the original button was the same size as the heel of the scroll at the end of the pegbox. Later they were reduced in size for one reason or another.

Bruce

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There is two different way to make a crown, The U shape, used in Germany USA etc.. and the "French" way, more difficult to adjust, the shape is more like a O, so you need to adjust it from the front of the button and not from the top. Confused?

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...The flat surface of the bottom of the neck root/heel is used to rest the ebony as you check the fit against the surfaces you have prepared on the original button...

Instead of resting the ebony on the neck foot, I clamped a small piece of acrylic (Plexiglas) sheet to the inside of the button and rested the ebony on that while fitting the ebony to the trimmed button. It seemed easier than having to deal with the neck.

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Bruce, if you ever copy and paste your excellent responses to a blog, let us know !

:) You only wrote that since Bruce mentioned your name. Bruce left my name out of his comment so it get's an "simply OK" grade from me :)

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robertdo   
Cristian, the French crown has pointy ends and is more circular ?

There is no crown anymore in France, all the royals went to the Guillotine 200 years ago... :)

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Instead of resting the ebony on the neck foot, I clamped a small piece of acrylic (Plexiglas) sheet to the inside of the button and rested the ebony on that while fitting the ebony to the trimmed button. It seemed easier than having to deal with the neck.

That should work as well even though you have a clamp in the way. It's important that you are working on a surface level with the gluing surface of the back. How do they say? Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Personally I like to have the neck mortise completely finished so that I can center the trimming of the button and thus be certain of having a balanced amount of ebony on either side.

Below are two photographs of a crown I had done in the Weisshaar style that later, due to a bad accident, I had to replace the entire button, even though this one wasn't original. You can see what a pattern looks like as well. During the repair it was replaced with maple only, which I prefer.

Bruce

post-29446-1284745052_thumb.jpg post-29446-1284745062_thumb.jpg

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:) You only wrote that since Bruce mentioned your name. Bruce left my name out of his comment so it get's an "simply OK" grade from me :)

Apologies Dean, I'm not very careful about reading all the posts!! :)

Bruce

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Apologies Dean, I'm not very careful about reading all the posts!! :)

Bruce

No need for the note Bruce...I wasn't serious about that. I really just wanted an excuse to use my new avatar. That's a wild Cailifornia quail and hunting season starts tomorrow!

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No, this seem to be the full edge with ebony? Lupot family?

François Lupot, Orleans, 1770.

I realise that the whole edge is that way but do you think the round French style ebony crown perhaps came from this???

Bruce

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No need for the note Bruce...I wasn't serious about that. I really just wanted an excuse to use my new avatar. That's a wild Cailifornia quail and hunting season starts tomorrow!

I presume you're hunting with a camera, right? :)

Bruce

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