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re-gluing the fingerboard

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I usually setup my violins in the white first, then remove the fingerboard etc.. when I am ready to varnish. One thing I have noticed is that I seem to get a slight overhang on both sides as if the fingerboard was a bit too narrow at the mortice. The scroll end of the fingerboard fits extremely well but there is always a slight overhang at the heel.

In the past I just use a small scraper to remove a bit of the varnish at the heel and then do a "re-touch" of the varnish. Is this common? Are there other methods that can avoid the varnish re-touch?

post-24376-0-11669900-1343239083_thumb.jpg

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Could it be that the fingerboard when glued back, is not pushed enough toward the pegbox? because of the smaller size at the nut one can get the impression that the width is fine, but pushing 1 or 2 mm on the pegbox side would make the width at the mortice level a better fit, while still fine at the other side?

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I have the same problem! I've never been able to get the my fingerboards back in the exact same spot after varnishing -- they are always slightly off. I would love to hear the tips and tricks of more experienced makers on how you deal with this issue

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Could it be that the fingerboard when glued back, is not pushed enough toward the pegbox? because of the smaller size at the nut one can get the impression that the width is fine, but pushing 1 or 2 mm on the pegbox side would make the width at the mortice level a better fit, while still fine at the other side?

Before I remove the fingerboard I drill a small 1mm hole at the nut side of the fingerboard at a 45 degree angle. This hole is hidden when the nut is installed but it fixes one end of the fingerboard. This allows me to easily adjust the other end to divide the overhang equally on both sides. I don't mind doing a varnish touch up after using the scraper but I would rather not.

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Ebony moves a great deal with changes in humidity. There may be a missmatch of dryness between the neck and fingerboard after the varnishing process. Perhaps you could leave your ebony a little oversized to start with, and trim it later.

I see no reason to remove the fingerboard when varnishing a violin. It's much simpler just to leave it on there and push the varnish under, as most of the old boys did. Then there's no worry about clamping on the button, retouching varnish etc.

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I have the same problem! I've never been able to get the my fingerboards back in the exact same spot after varnishing -- they are always slightly off. I would love to hear the tips and tricks of more experienced makers on how you deal with this issue

When glueing an existing fingerboard back onto an existing neck, I always use what my father used to call the “idiot-proof” method (suits me!). This involves cramping it up dry with three cramps, until I have it in exactly the right place, then removeing just the bottom (or top, doesn`t matter) cramp, warm it with a hairdryer, then insert the glue there with a pallet knife and replace the bottom cramp. Then put it in a corner somewhere and forget it for a few hours, then remove the top two cramps, warm & insert the glue there and put the top two cramps back on again. This is sure to work and be in exactly the same right place, without panic or swearing, even if the phone rings and customers walk in whilst you are glueing.

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Before I remove the fingerboard I drill a small 1mm hole at the nut side of the fingerboard at a 45 degree angle. This hole is hidden when the nut is installed but it fixes one end of the fingerboard. This allows me to easily adjust the other end to divide the overhang equally on both sides. I don't mind doing a varnish touch up after using the scraper but I would rather not.

In that case could it be that when you carve the neck in maple one rasp, cut, scrap at the same time you compress the maple a little bit more than the ebony. So that later during the varnshing time the maple extends a little bit, giving this extra width?

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When glueing an existing fingerboard back onto an existing neck, I always use what my father used to call the “idiot-proof” method (suits me!). This involves cramping it up dry with three cramps, until I have it in exactly the right place, then removeing just the bottom (or top, doesn`t matter) cramp, warm it with a hairdryer, then insert the glue there with a pallet knife and replace the bottom cramp. Then put it in a corner somewhere and forget it for a few hours, then remove the top two cramps, warm & insert the glue there and put the top two cramps back on again. This is sure to work and be in exactly the same right place, without panic or swearing, even if the phone rings and customers walk in whilst you are glueing.

Thank you! Jacob I like 'idiot-proof' methods! Suits my personality

Chris

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I dry-clamp the fingerboard in the exact position I want then glue two temporary L-shaped positioners -- one to the neck at the nut position and one to the underside of the fingerboard at the wide end of the neck. After allowing the glue holding the positioners to dry for a bout half an hour, I unclamp and remove the fingerboard. The positioners look like this:

post-4504-0-25039300-1343250569_thumb.jpg

Then I apply glue and re-clamp the fingerboard, using the positioners to locate the fingerboard on the neck.

Even using the positioners, I rarely end up the the fingerboard perfectly aligned with the neck, and I have to do a bit of scraping to even everything. I think I will have to give Jacob's idiot-proof method a try.

My experience with old violins is that if the fingerboard becomes loose, it is usually a bit too narrow to go back on the neck in the exact postion that it was in before. Apparently, ebony shrinks a little more than maple in my climate. Sometimes I locate the fingerboard a little closer to the scroll when I re-glue it.

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When it's happened to me it was the result of varnish build up in the area your arrow is pointing at in the photo.

Now I go easy with the varnish in this area when varnishing with board off. In well worn instruments there isn't much varnish right at the junction of board and neck anyway. It tends to build up slightly at the neck table interface.

Best regards,

E

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Since you are going to have to scrape off the excess varnish, sand and polish the neck anyway try setting the neck about 3/10 of a millimeter short then when you glue the board back push it up to the correct length. that makes the board just a tiny bit wider in relation to the neck and the neck finishing procedure takes care of any tiny overhangs. On old instruments where you have to remove the board you can remove a half mm at the nut end to refit the board which often shrinks after removal. Then use Jacobs gluing method which I've never used but will be trying soon.

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I would try to have all the woodwork finished, including fitting the fingerboard, sanding, polishing and colouring the neck, before varnishing. I see the neck colour as part of the ground coat, not to be disturbed again. If you refinish a neck after varnish, you are likely to have a white 'tideline' at each end.

Any varnish that needs to be removed at the end can be wiped back with a little meths or turps. I always shoot the fingerboard and finish the nut last, as the fingerboard changes shape a bit in the UV box.

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Before I remove the fingerboard I drill a small 1mm hole at the nut side of the fingerboard at a 45 degree angle. This hole is hidden when the nut is installed but it fixes one end of the fingerboard. This allows me to easily adjust the other end to divide the overhang equally on both sides. I don't mind doing a varnish touch up after using the scraper but I would rather not.

I'm still trying out different methods. For several fiddles I put in a brass pin near the nut, and a tight (interference fit) slot milled in the fingerboard to fit the pin. At the heel end, I made matching 1/8" wide slots in the neck and fingerboard, and used a square 1/8" piece of brass (also interference fit) to align them. The brass square was removed as soon as the glue set, but the pin at the nut stayed in place. It worked well, but there was still very slight mismatch between maple and ebony when the fingerboard was removed and replaced. The repair guys also howled about the idea of a metal pin in the neck.

Now I'm trying the old way of just putting the fingerboard back on by eye (or feel). I'm trying to leave just a hair extra on the fingerboard, to be trimmed after the final gluing. So far, it seems OK, and a lot less effort than milling those precise holes and slots.

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I was taught to spot glue the board on 2 mm back from the final position when shaping the neck. That way, when you glue it back on in the final position, you are either right on or the ebony is overhanging

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Brad's method for locating works quite well. I have something similar for cello, but the wooden tabs are large enough to contain jack screws, so I can make fine adjustments if needed before the clamps are completely tightened.

To end up with the fingerboard at least as wide as the the neck on mew instruments after varnishing, I do something a little like Nathan. I leave the neck about 1mm thick. Before reattaching the fingerboard after varnishing, I plane that mm off the top of the neck, leaving it narrower than the fingerboard.

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Thanks again for all the suggestions. It is always good to review some of our methods with other makers.

The 1mm steel guide pin I use at the nut end of the fingerboard is always removed after gluing. Having just setup four violins they all have had this small problem. The fingerboard and neck fit perfectly in the white but somehow after varnishing there is a slight overhang on both sides. Maybe the wood at the heel swells a bit after varnishing. I don't know.

One thing that I have tried is to burnish the overhang, covering it first with a piece of paper and pressing with a wooden dowel. It does help a bit. I like the idea of sliding the fingerboard by 1-2 mm except I will have too rethink the 130 mm stop in the white.

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I would try to have all the woodwork finished, including fitting the fingerboard, sanding, polishing and colouring the neck, before varnishing. I see the neck colour as part of the ground coat, not to be disturbed again. If you refinish a neck after varnish, you are likely to have a white 'tideline' at each end.

Any varnish that needs to be removed at the end can be wiped back with a little meths or turps. I always shoot the fingerboard and finish the nut last, as the fingerboard changes shape a bit in the UV box.

Yes you have to finish the woodwork and stain the neck before varnish but I find that I have to repeat the process after gluing the board back for exactly the reason that the OP was saying. If I don't then the board winds up not lining up perfectly at the edges. If I didn't take the board off for varnish which I usually don't on antiqued instruments then I use the procedure you do. What do you do when you do have to refinish a neck on an old instrument? I find that white ring disturbing enough that if the fiddles worth it I strip the whole neck heel, color the neck and retouch the heel.

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Brad's method for locating works quite well. I have something similar for cello, but the wooden tabs are large enough to contain jack screws, so I can make fine adjustments if needed before the clamps are completely tightened.

To end up with the fingerboard at least as wide as the the neck on mew instruments after varnishing, I do something a little like Nathan. I leave the neck about 1mm thick. Before reattaching the fingerboard after varnishing, I plane that mm off the top of the neck, leaving it narrower than the fingerboard.

You and Brad are prett clever!

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Yes you have to finish the woodwork and stain the neck before varnish but I find that I have to repeat the process after gluing the board back for exactly the reason that the OP was saying. If I don't then the board winds up not lining up perfectly at the edges. If I didn't take the board off for varnish which I usually don't on antiqued instruments then I use the procedure you do. What do you do when you do have to refinish a neck on an old instrument? I find that white ring disturbing enough that if the fiddles worth it I strip the whole neck heel, color the neck and retouch the heel.

I never varnish a new fiddle without the fingerboard in place, so I don't have the problem.

If I recut the neck of an old violin I usually, like you, clean it off right back to the button and varnish from there.

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When glueing an existing fingerboard back onto an existing neck, I always use what my father used to call the “idiot-proof” method (suits me!). This involves cramping it up dry with three cramps, until I have it in exactly the right place, then removeing just the bottom (or top, doesn`t matter) cramp, warm it with a hairdryer, then insert the glue there with a pallet knife and replace the bottom cramp. Then put it in a corner somewhere and forget it for a few hours, then remove the top two cramps, warm & insert the glue there and put the top two cramps back on again. This is sure to work and be in exactly the same right place, without panic or swearing, even if the phone rings and customers walk in whilst you are glueing.

Hi Jacob,

I have been doing that for many years which I learnt from your father too .... works perfectly very time!

I sometimes have the same problems of the fingerboard not fitting when gluing back after varnishing ... a lot depends on the age of the fingerboard as quite often newly bought fingerboards tend to shrink slightly. The same could apply to the neck, especially if it has been hanging in the hot sun.

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Hi Jacob,

I have been doing that for many years which I learnt from your father too .... works perfectly very time!

Good morning Brian!

I often catch myself useing his tricks, although I can well remember thinking “oh God, not again” back then. :)

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Good morning Brian!

I often catch myself useing his tricks, although I can well remember thinking “oh God, not again” back then. :)

Hi Jacob,

Those evenings in your father’s workshop were the highlights of my days at Newark.

I used to try and go visit him every few weeks and it was like a pilgrimage to a great Master .. he is still my mentor and many of things I do now came from his guidance.

He was a ‘real’ violin maker who was so enthralled by tone, and not just a woodworker .. he would often put on a record (no CDs in those days) for us to listen to and then point out the subtle qualities of that instrument …. I always left there feeling so inspired!

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Jacob,

I only had a fortnight of your Fathers teaching, but he changed my whole approach to making.

I still use some of the tools he showed us (his purfling tools cannot be bettered), but most of all he gave us a view of what it is to be a solid working craftsman.

I also liked the fact that he didn't seem to like the noises made by sine wave generaters! :unsure:

Conor

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