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Hairline cracks on top


Selim
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I'm not a restoration expert, hell I'm not even a repairman :)

Some day I would like to learn proper repairs or at least play that role on TV.

Anyway, my poorly informed thoughts on this are:

You already got rid of the hard part, which is matching the varnish color and height after your repair.

The saddle cracks will likely go all the way through the plate. these need to be separated, cleaned and glued.

The saddle obviously needs to be shortened.

The remaining crack needs to be inspected. If it's just on the surface then use a magnifying lens and scribe the line out at the center but undercut just a bit so you can fill this "light" area back in with lycopodium.

Those are just thoughts. In reality I'd call and ask Ken Pollard to do the job. Ken doesn't live far away. :)

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I'm not a restoration expert, hell I'm not even a repairman :)

Some day I would like to learn proper repairs or at least play that role on TV.

Anyway, my poorly informed thoughts on this are:

You already got rid of the hard part, which is matching the varnish color and height after your repair.

The saddle cracks will likely go all the way through the plate. these need to be separated, cleaned and glued.

The saddle obviously needs to be shortened.

The remaining crack needs to be inspected. If it's just on the surface then use a magnifying lens and scribe the line out at the center but undercut just a bit so you can fill this "light" area back in with lycopodium.

Those are just thoughts. In reality I'd call and ask Ken Pollard to do the job. Ken doesn't live far away. :)

Thank you, Dean, I appreciate that -- and you don't need a cracked top to come by and say hello.

For not being a repairman, even on TV, you hit many of the things that I'd consider. It's hard to tell from a photo, and I guess the other part of the photo that concerns me is what the tailpiece might be covering. Cleaning the cracks is important, and from the staining, it looks as if some of the stripper might be in there. The saddle should be shortened, I think. Depending on the state of the rest of the top, I would probably like to lift it in this area or remove it all together.

The other crack, the one off to the bass side, as it looks now I guess I'd be reluctant to cut it away and fill. It doesn't look that bad, and I think glue into the area would be stronger than removing wood. Again, hard to tell from the photo.

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It might be that these cracks have already been repaired. As Robertdo pointed out there appears to be clearance on each side of the saddle which could point to a previous repair. Unfortunately the only way you will know for sure is to separate the top plate, at least on the lower bouts. A picture without the tailpiece would be helpful.

Tony

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....curious what would be the best handling without opening the top....

The only thing you can do without removing the top is separate the cracked area from the ribs and block, brush some hot glue on the outsides of the cracks and flex the cracks to try to draw the glue in. This might not accomplish anything because the cracks are so tight and short.

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that's strange because on he picture it seems to me that the saddle is already shorter than the mortise as it should be. So why did these cracks appear?

This is a violin I made recently with not much clearance between saddle and top.

I gave more distance between saddle and mortise after the cracks happened.

Thanks for responses.

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You're obviously correct about this. My monitor had a default setting for different use (darker) and I did't see that gap on the left.

It was not a good.picture, sorry for that.

I will post a good one with no tail piece, when I am out of the office.

Thanks,

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Well, if you made the violin then later discovered the cracks, we can assume it has never been repaired before, other then to shorten the saddle. If it was mine, I'd pull the top and clean, glue, and cleat the cracks, which I'd consider the proper repair. Otherwise you could try flexing in glue as already suggested.

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If I were in this situation, I'd make a new top. It's supposed to be a new violin, and new violins aren't supposed to have cracks already.

I think this is very true. I already started a new top.

This is a violin I made 9-10 moths ago, with tiny, but enough clearance(I think so), I dont remember any crack on the top.

May be during stripping off or for some other reason, these cracks formed. The bass side crack, has no sideways pressure for example.

For this violin, I know the top wood was some thing I wanted with minimum humidity, brittle to some extend. I suspect this is the main reason.

Or level differences on lower block or top, thay might end up pressure differences at crack points..I am not sure.

It would have been more productive if you had included this info in your original poating.

Sorry for that,..

Right, the approach depends on what type of violin is in consideration.

...

Just curious, and asking just in case,

It seems cleaning the crack is a challenge,

What is the process or material for such process?

Washing it with alcohol? or some other chemical?

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Just curious, and asking just in case,

It seems cleaning the crack is a challenge,

What is the process or material for such process?

Washing it with alcohol? or some other chemical?

Probably one of two things happened:

The violin was varnished with the cracks open.

The violin was stripped with the cracks open.

Either way, I'd expect them to be badly contaminated.

A few things which could be tried for cleaning:

If you still have the goop that was removed during stripping (a combination of stripper and varnish), experiment with finding a solvent which dissolves it. Acetone, alcohol, both, either combined with water, lacquer reducer, enamel reducer, etc.

See if the solvent component is listed on the stripper, and see if its something you can get your hands on. Or you might be able to use the stripper itself, as long as it doesn't contain anything which will interfere with a glue bond, like waxes. You've got some detective work on your hands.

The cracks look to be badly stained, and this may not go away. There are many complex procedures which can be used to deal with surfaces that won't bond or won't clean, such as inserting or overlaying wood. Whatever repairs are done, if the violin winds up going to a customer, I think they should be informed.

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I gave more distance between saddle and mortise after the cracks happened.

Thanks for responses.

Hi,

I could not download the first picture. Now I can see the cracks, I'm sure there were hairline cracks in the spruce before you started making the instrument. Sometimes they are difficult to see.

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This is a violin I made recently with not much clearance between saddle and top.

I gave more distance between saddle and mortise after the cracks happened.

Thanks for responses.

You could have run in the super-thin cyano-acrylate glue before stripping. That would stop the cracks and fill what was there. Left them clean of debris also.

If I were in this situation, I'd make a new top. It's supposed to be a new violin, and new violins aren't supposed to have cracks already.

The super glue, remove top, cleat, slight scrape, then strip would have been invisible.. If you are asking a lot for a new violin, Mike is perhaps correct. Or you if you sell for less 2-3k, forget it.

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Probably one of two things happened:

The violin was varnished with the cracks open.

The violin was stripped with the cracks open.

Either way, I'd expect them to be badly contaminated.

A few things which could be tried for cleaning:

If you still have the goop that was removed during stripping (a combination of stripper and varnish), experiment with finding a solvent which dissolves it. Acetone, alcohol, both, either combined with water, lacquer reducer, enamel reducer, etc.

See if the solvent component is listed on the stripper, and see if its something you can get your hands on. Or you might be able to use the stripper itself, as long as it doesn't contain anything which will interfere with a glue bond, like waxes. You've got some detective work on your hands.

The cracks look to be badly stained, and this may not go away. There are many complex procedures which can be used to deal with surfaces that won't bond or won't clean, such as inserting or overlaying wood. Whatever repairs are done, if the violin winds up going to a customer, I think they should be informed.

Just a quick add-on for David's post:

In some cases, if there are multiple contaminants in the crack, one solvent may work well on most, but not all, the components. Don't forget good ol' H2O as a follow up (and often very effective) solvent and some manual removal (dry; with a very small home-made wire pick and magnifiers for example) may also be required.

If I were in this situation, I'd make a new top. It's supposed to be a new violin, and new violins aren't supposed to have cracks already.

Less to explain that way, I think.

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this is a very special situation in which some dufus has gone on the internet and reccomended super glue for repairing cracks, only if you want to devalue the violin and make future repairs much harder, super glue joins fail just like hide glue then what do you do? put a note to future repairman use super glue only, no stop i dont want to give john any ideas..... :blink: :blink: :blink:

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