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INVISIBLE REPAIRS


GlennYorkPA

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As a collector of antique violins and bows (not forgetting cases :rolleyes: ) one often comes across choice examples scarred by the negligence and carelessness of man. Impressed by pictures that surface regularly on the internet (including this forum) showing invisible repairs that astonish by their virtuosity, I approached a respected restorer about a bow repair.

There was an undercurrent of ethical concerns about overly perfect restoration which might be deemed ‘deceptive’. Never the less, we proceeded with the work but the result is not satisfactory. There was no attempt to match new wood to old resulting in a visually obvious repair.

I’m sure it was possible to do a better job but have the feeling that somehow, I didn’t qualify for the best work. Money was never an issue - it’s ethical scruples on the restorer’s part that are getting in the way.

Are the advertised invisible repairs simply to proclaim a skill which is not being offered to clients in practice?

What are other people’s experience?

Glenn

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As a collector of antique violins and bows (not forgetting cases :rolleyes: ) one often comes across choice examples scarred by the negligence and carelessness of man. Impressed by pictures that surface regularly on the internet (including this forum) showing invisible repairs that astonish by their virtuosity, I approached a respected restorer about a bow repair.

There was an undercurrent of ethical concerns about overly perfect restoration which might be deemed ‘deceptive’. Never the less, we proceeded with the work but the result is not satisfactory. There was no attempt to match new wood to old resulting in a visually obvious repair.

I’m sure it was possible to do a better job but have the feeling that somehow, I didn’t qualify for the best work. Money was never an issue - it’s ethical scruples on the restorer’s part that are getting in the way.

Are the advertised invisible repairs simply to proclaim a skill which is not being offered to clients in practice?

What are other people’s experience?

Glenn

I think that the highest standard of any repair is that which most completely restores an item to the identical condition that it was in prior to requiring the repair. Likewise, the job of an auto body shop is not to deceive a future buyer that the car has not been in an accident. It is to repair it to a standard which makes it as close as possible to original. However, I doubt any body shop would ever try to simulate age in making a collision repair by artificially dulling the finish or fading the color.

I think that an invisible repair on a violin or bow is the highest standard of repair, and provided that the repair is successful in restoring the function to its original condition, then the highest standard has been achieved. If the owner then chooses to deceive a buyer, that is his issue to deal with. I cannot accept high morality claims as an excuse or as a defense for sub-standard work.

Jesse

I don't always drink...

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while most crack repairs can be made close to invisible by really top restorers, theres a lot of time and cost involved, some dealers wont sell violins with visible cracks, and part of that is not marketing violins with visible repairs, as the cost of making them invisible might be prohibitive. i know dealers who cant make cracks disappear who only buy violins with no cracks!! and i know dealers who can make cracks disappear who will buy violins with visible cracks and market them to other dealers rather than put them on the shelf at their shop where they have a higher standard.

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I always find it rather odd that restorers dont seem to mind making damage ,etc on violins,etc... invisible but when it comes to bows all this ethical practice comes into play.

How many Strads do you see with gaping post cracks ? They were restored generally to the highest standard available to the owner,but isnt it up to the owner to divulge all the damage?? The restorer is hired to just do the work ,they should be immune from any hint of trying to deceive so whats wrong with doing an invisible repair if asked and are capable?

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I always find it rather odd that restorers dont seem to mind making damage ,etc on violins,etc... invisible but when it comes to bows all this ethical practice comes into play.

How many Strads do you see with gaping post cracks ? They were restored generally to the highest standard available to the owner,but isnt it up to the owner to divulge all the damage?? The restorer is hired to just do the work ,they should be immune from any hint of trying to deceive so whats wrong with doing an invisible repair if asked and are capable?

I'm grateful to Jesse and Lyndon for their comments which accurately mirror my own.

Fiddlecollector raises an interesting point that this ethical handwringing seems more prevalent in the bow world rather than the violin world where prices are generally much lower than for violins.

He's also right that where the item is important enough, it will be accompanied by documentation which will probably (invariably?) record damage repair. In any case, where prices go through the roof, you can bet that CAT scans are close at hand.

Mine was just a garden variety Hill bow wanting some tlc after a previous botched repair.

Glenn

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A few comments:

Repairs are like the regular stuff you have to do to your car to keep it running well and safe.

Restoration is a whole different thing. Restoration involves repair and other things that will bring an object back to what it was when it was new from the maker. The problem with violin restoration should be obvious. We weren't there, so what it was when it was new is a matter of opinion, taste, knowledge, and hubris.

When you suggest that a seller/player/owner has the responsibility to divulge all repairs implies that the owner knows about all of the repairs!

When A. Bone stamped "rep bone" on a bow, was that a defacement of the object or a reasonable warning regarding a repair that might well be invisible?

Although a visible repair that removed no orig. material may be the museum standard, after reading the IPCI volumes, I am beginning to see the conservators and the violin makers/restorers are far apart and it will probably stay that way.

If you can see a repair, but it is structurally sound, should it be made "invisible" or left alone? What if a dealer says that the item will be more sellable for a better price if the crack is no longer visible?

I would suggest the physician's ethic of doing no harm, but I'm not sure that, aside from epoxy, super-glue and zip-strip, what "harm" is agreed upon broadly.

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A few comments:

Repairs are like the regular stuff you have to do to your car to keep it running well and safe.

Restoration is a whole different thing. Restoration involves repair and other things that will bring an object back to what it was when it was new from the maker. The problem with violin restoration should be obvious. We weren't there, so what it was when it was new is a matter of opinion, taste, knowledge, and hubris.

When you suggest that a seller/player/owner has the responsibility to divulge all repairs implies that the owner knows about all of the repairs!

When A. Bone stamped "rep bone" on a bow, was that a defacement of the object or a reasonable warning regarding a repair that might well be invisible?

Although a visible repair that removed no orig. material may be the museum standard, after reading the IPCI volumes, I am beginning to see the conservators and the violin makers/restorers are far apart and it will probably stay that way.

If you can see a repair, but it is structurally sound, should it be made "invisible" or left alone? What if a dealer says that the item will be more sellable for a better price if the crack is no longer visible?

I would suggest the physician's ethic of doing no harm, but I'm not sure that, aside from epoxy, super-glue and zip-strip, what "harm" is agreed upon broadly.

Kudos, Duane. Those few sentences sum it up quite clearly and succinctly. To add to your list, harm, is agreed upon quite broadly when it comes to painting old fiddles with pink lacquer. :rolleyes:

Thanks

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A few comments:

Repairs are like the regular stuff you have to do to your car to keep it running well and safe.

Restoration is a whole different thing. Restoration involves repair and other things that will bring an object back to what it was when it was new from the maker. The problem with violin restoration should be obvious. We weren't there, so what it was when it was new is a matter of opinion, taste, knowledge, and hubris.

When you suggest that a seller/player/owner has the responsibility to divulge all repairs implies that the owner knows about all of the repairs!

When A. Bone stamped "rep bone" on a bow, was that a defacement of the object or a reasonable warning regarding a repair that might well be invisible?

Although a visible repair that removed no orig. material may be the museum standard, after reading the IPCI volumes, I am beginning to see the conservators and the violin makers/restorers are far apart and it will probably stay that way.

If you can see a repair, but it is structurally sound, should it be made "invisible" or left alone? What if a dealer says that the item will be more sellable for a better price if the crack is no longer visible?

I would suggest the physician's ethic of doing no harm, but I'm not sure that, aside from epoxy, super-glue and zip-strip, what "harm" is agreed upon broadly.

I appreciate your comments but beg to differ on almost all of your points.

The most notable point of disagreement is your contention that :'Restoration involves repair and other things that will bring an object back to what it was when it was new from the maker'.

Who wants an antique anything that looks fresh from the shop? That may be the American aesthetic (violins like polished snooker balls) but it isn't mine.

I was careful to refer to items 'scarred by the carelessness and negligence of man'. That's very different from legitimate patination and wear and tear due to the passage of time.

So your statement about "The problem with violin restoration should be obvious. We weren't there, so what it was when it was new is a matter of opinion, taste, knowledge, and hubris" is irrelevant. I didn't need to be there to know that there wasn't a post crack when the violin left the shop originally so this offensive damage should be repaired invisibly and with the original structural integrity if that is possible.

With today's space age materials and improved techniques, that should be possible.

Futhermore, if I'm paying for the repair, I get to specifiy what I want. Sorry, but I don't want a lecture from my repair guy on the philosophical niceties of invisible repairs - they are excuses for shoddy workmanship - although I'm happy to debate them here. :)

Glenn

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You are welcome to disagree.

The person who can make your repair invisible is not(usually)the person you get to meet at the shop. The individuals who have cultivated and mastered (as much as one can) those skills don't want to meet you (in general) and would usually prefer that their names not be known to the masses. There are exceptions. At that level, if you bring in your grandfather's 1926 Roth and you want the post crack and bass bar crack go away, well, you might suggest that you are paying for the repair and you want them invisible but...the person who can do that repair really doesn't want to spend their time on a Roth. What "they" want is a cool old instrument that engages them. They choose the repairs.

I would further suggest that the Lady Blunt is not polished like a snooker ball.

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Futhermore, if I'm paying for the repair, I get to specifiy what I want. Sorry, but I don't want a lecture from my repair guy on the philosophical niceties of invisible repairs - they are excuses for shoddy workmanship - although I'm happy to debate them here. :)

Glenn

Hi Glenn,

I don't know the case to which you refer, so I will try not jump to any conclusions about the correct or incorrect philosophies of this particular situation.

I can say that when I consider a restoration, it's most usually a conversation concerning expectations, ethics and reality. I am certainly sensitive to what the client wants, but what I believe is best, or ethical, does not always correspond to the client's wishes. I believe clear communication is critical, so I make an effort to assure this is accomplished.

The caveat here is often those who have gone before. There are cases in which approaching "invisible" in an area that has been corrupted by inadvisable repair might require some really invasive work. That's when I slow down to consider the options... one being to decline the work. In other words, a client may specify what they want, but I may not consent to the job.

If performing a restoration, among some other considerations, I wish to accomplish it in the most cosmetically and structurally sound method available, but while disturbing as little of what is original to the piece as possible.

Now, for anyone interested, my background includes working for a conservator (while I was in school), so I have experience on that side of things as well. There are certainly differences in the way a museum conservator approaches an object and how a restorer does, but most good restorers I know have a desire consider this aspect carefully when planning a job. I won't argue or list the variables between the two here, but I will suggest that the goal of museum conservation is not always bring a piece to a usable state, and in the restoration of an instrument outside a museum this is most often the goal.

When restoring a fault, crack or other damage on the corpus of the instrument, there is most usually internal support on the interior... so while the repair may be "not easily detectible from the exterior" does not necessarily make it "not easily detectible". Also, touchup coatings are usually detectible by blacklight. If one wishes to take things further, I suppose access to a CT scanner might come in handy. :)

Personally, I do think that bow restoration has it's own challenges in terms of ethics. Some of the modern glues leave little trace in a fresh fault, and are difficult to detect even by blacklight (especially when covered by a finish) even though they may not last well during prolonged use. A spline is a good visual way to indicate repair to the tip, and considered to be a viable and reliable repair when accomplished correctly, but it does remove significant original material. Pinning is still the method of choice by some. I suppose a badly battered and/or previously repaired head might be more attractive if it were repaired by grafting new material (to replace the torn up bit), but again, more original to lose. A great replacement frog, if left unmarked, might "pass" in certain circles if it were carried around in ones change pocket for a few months. Still, few argue about the goal accomplishing aesthetic, functional repairs on bows... though there may be some disagreement about just what that means in certain circumstances.

Disclosure is extremely important... but in time (a generation), the accuracy of this disclosure may suffer, or possibly be non-existant. Frankly, I get much more reliable information when I have a chance to look at a dealership's records than I do from the presenting owner (in almost all cases). Detection is simply the most reasonable long-term method to confirm the condition of a piece, but like most things, this is not "foolproof".

Anyway... my 2 cents. Debate on. :)

PS: Glenn; Are you sure you want this thread on the auction scroll? Let me know if you want it moved.

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In our workshop we had the habit of marking a repaired bow with a 'code' on the bottom facet, between the mortice and the leather. We did this with little holes made with a small drill. One hole meant a crack in the stick, or head, two meant a replaced handle. We did this more as a reminder to ourselves than anything else. I wonder could such a scheme be adopted internationally?

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In our workshop we had the habit of marking a repaired bow with a 'code' on the bottom facet, between the mortice and the leather. We did this with little holes made with a small drill. One hole meant a crack in the stick, or head, two meant a replaced handle. We did this more as a reminder to ourselves than anything else. I wonder could such a scheme be adopted internationally?

I believe the Hill workshop adopted a few codes for specific bow repairs as well... but I'd wonder if a code scheme would be readily welcomed internationally.

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Duane88 - I wouldn’t dream of discussing a repair with anyone other than the person undertaking it but I get you point. In fact, I think you are correct in that the masters of repair are highly sought after and can pick and choose their projects.

Ed - what brought this thread about is a repair the the head of a bow . Splits in the head had been badly repaired in the past with brass pins and the ugly mess needed to be straightened out. The idea of attacking the head with a circular saw and fitting a spline without the benefit of color matching appalls me. That said, the particular case interests me less than the general topic.

mmmm - exactly - ethical reasons. Whose ethics? Owner’s or restorers? Buyer’s or seller’s? Nobody is God here.

Jeffrey - many thanks for patiently explaining your thoughts and position. Not sure I follow the logic following ‘Personally, I do think that bow restoration has it's own challenges in terms of ethics.’ Are you arguing that virtually undetectable repairs are peculiar to bows and not violins?

(Please move the thread. I don’t know how it found its way onto the auction scroll).

crussell - interesting idea but the code can only be read by the shop that applied it and, as Jeffrey said, no such code is likely to find general agreement.

How aesthetics change!

The Portland vase is the only piece of cameo glass to come to us from antiquity. It is priceless. It was smashed by a drunkard in the 19thC and restored. When I saw it in the British Museum in the early 1980s, it has been disassembled and pieced together again with white glue and white infilling where pieces of the black glass were missing. This work was done in the 1940s with the idea of making it very clear which pieces were original and which not.

I understand that another restoration was carried out in the late 1980s using epoxys and the breaks and replacements are now almost invisible.

In similar vein, visitors to the National Gallery can admire Velazquez’ Rokeby Venus and never suspect that it had been attacked it with a meat cleaver. Perhaps the issue here is that these items are unlikely to appear on the market and if they do, the repairs are well documented so the question of deceit doesn’t arise.

My point is that there are no absolute ethics relating to restoration. It’s all a matter of taste and expediency. My next project is to find someone willing and able to make an ugly post crack disappear from the back of an otherwise very attractive 18thC Italian violin. Right now, it’s the only thing that people notice and that bugs me. I don’t want their sympathy. I want them to admire what is good about the instrument. And no matter how perfect the restoration, a glance inside will always tell the story.

Glenn

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Jeffrey - many thanks for patiently explaining your thoughts and position. Not sure I follow the logic following 'Personally, I do think that bow restoration has it's own challenges in terms of ethics.' Are you arguing that virtually undetectable repairs are peculiar to bows and not violins?

(Please move the thread. I don't know how it found its way onto the auction scroll).

Hi Glenn;

Thread has been moved and I left a link where it was.

I will try and explain my statement. In my experience, it is all too common to discover difficult to detect repairs in bows (which are often detected when the repair fails; as the cosmetic and commercial interests were being served by the repair rather than function) than in violins. Sure. Deceitful or ill advised repairs exist on both bows and instruments, but there is a special (severe) commercial relationship between ANY fault on a bow stick and it's commercial value. I believe this may tend to motivate some individuals in an unfortunate way.

To that end, I don't think you'll find one single dealer who has actively purchased bows through auction that has not been "stung" by this sort of repair. It's really up to that merchant to discover hidden faults once the bow is back in the shop, as only so much can be done in the auction view. Personally, I hope that in the past I discovered all of them, but it's possible I did not.

Players are not immune to this problem either.

The only person that I can recall who was banned from the repair shop when I was with "the firm" was a player/dealer who brought damaged bows in to have "invisible repairs" accomplished. I believe it was David or Mark who discovered these same bows were being sold as undamaged to this person's clients.

By your description (above): If a bow requires a reinforcement at the tip to remain viable for use, it simply does. Since a spline is not installed entirely "with" the grain of the tip, is not of the same piece of wood the bow was made from, and has two visible glue lines, it's not going to be invisible unless someone applies opaque barn paint over it. Pins remove less material, but have a different failure rate (and it sounds like they already failed on the bow you're discussing).

Now here's something you may not have considered (or may not be aware of): There are a good number of players who would love a good playing bow by a recognizable maker who can't afford one, or players who would like a well repaired bow as a spare or loaner for their students. If a bow is presented to me for possible sale with a repaired tip without a spline, I will (and have) decline to handle it. If it's presented with a spline I will consider it. Especially so if the spline was accomplished by one of the bow makers that I know do it well and back up their work. So... being able to see the spline actually increases the appeal for me, functionally and commercially.

That about sums up what I meant by my statement.

BTW: The vase and the Venus were restored to a point of museum aesthetics, and I imagine using the materials and technologies available at the time. I'd also imagine the restorations were not taken on without some serious discussion... and they won't be used to play Prokofiev. :)

Now, concerning your situation; I wouldn't dream of telling you what to do with your own bow, I wasn't there for the conversation you had with the restorer, and I don't know the party involved.. I'd say that if you want whoever this person is to do the job, you'll need to accept their approach. If you want to search out someone who is willing and able to do the repair for you the way you want it (there may be other options), have at it! However, you've pretty much admitted that the reinforcements to a SP crack will prevent misunderstanding of a proper repair to a violin later on... so I think you already see a bit of a difference in approach here. Though on the outside surface, seeing a spline is about the same as seeing a patch, though it may not match your initial hopes or expectations.

Good luck in any case!

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Hi Glenn;

Thread has been moved and I left a link where it was.

I will try and explain my statement. In my experience, it is all too common to discover difficult to detect repairs in bows (which are often detected when the repair fails; as the cosmetic and commercial interests were being served by the repair rather than function) than in violins. Sure. Deceitful or ill advised repairs exist on both bows and instruments, but there is a special (severe) commercial relationship between ANY fault on a bow stick and it's commercial value. I believe this may tend to motivate some individuals in an unfortunate way.

To that end, I don't think you'll find one single dealer who has actively purchased bows through auction that has not been "stung" by this sort of repair. It's really up to that merchant to discover hidden faults once the bow is back in the shop, as only so much can be done in the auction view. Personally, I hope that in the past I discovered all of them, but it's possible I did not.

Players are not immune to this problem either.

The only person that I can recall who was banned from the repair shop when I was with "the firm" was a player/dealer who brought damaged bows in to have "invisible repairs" accomplished. I believe it was David or Mark who discovered these same bows were being sold as undamaged to this person's clients.

By your description (above): If a bow requires a reinforcement at the tip to remain viable for use, it simply does. Since a spline is not installed entirely "with" the grain of the tip, is not of the same piece of wood the bow was made from, and has two visible glue lines, it's not going to be invisible unless someone applies opaque barn paint over it. Pins remove less material, but have a different failure rate (and it sounds like they already failed on the bow you're discussing).

Now here's something you may not have considered (or may not be aware of): There are a good number of players who would love a good playing bow by a recognizable maker who can't afford one, or players who would like a well repaired bow as a spare or loaner for their students. If a bow is presented to me for possible sale with a repaired tip without a spline, I will (and have) decline to handle it. If it's presented with a spline I will consider it. Especially so if the spline was accomplished by one of the bow makers that I know do it well and back up their work. So... being able to see the spline actually increases the appeal for me, functionally and commercially.

That about sums up what I meant by my statement.

BTW: The vase and the Venus were restored to a point of museum aesthetics, and I imagine using the materials and technologies available at the time. I'd also imagine the restorations were not taken on without some serious discussion... and they won't be used to play Prokofiev. :)

Now, concerning your situation; I wouldn't dream of telling you what to do with your own bow, I wasn't there for the conversation you had with the restorer, and I don't know the party involved.. I'd say that if you want whoever this person is to do the job, you'll need to accept their approach. If you want to search out someone who is willing and able to do the repair for you the way you want it (there may be other options), have at it! However, you've pretty much admitted that the reinforcements to a SP crack will prevent misunderstanding of a proper repair to a violin later on... so I think you already see a bit of a difference in approach here. Though on the outside surface, seeing a spline is about the same as seeing a patch, though it may not match your initial hopes or expectations.

Good luck in any case!

Hi Jeffrey,

I'm in awe of your patience and writing skills! :)

I draw two conclusions from this thread:

1. Perfect and undetectable repairs are possible (though unobtainable) with bows but not violins.

2. The bow restoration world holds itself to a higher standard of ethics than presidential hopefuls who are applauded for their unethical behavior

3. In answer to my original question, others might qualify for invisible repairs but I do not.

One of the rewarding thing about collecting violin cases is that I have never come across a fake one and repairs are very rarely undertaken so, compared to violins and bows, they can be had for very little money. They also share with other works of art the attribute that they can't be used to play Prokofiev.

Glenn

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Hi Jeffrey,

I'm in awe of your patience and writing skills! :)

Thanks Glenn... but this is "where I live" on a daily basis... and since I've been doing it for a few decades and am entering the late middle-age portion of my life, I've figured out how to put at least some of the information into a coherent form!

I draw two conclusions from this thread:

1. Perfect and undetectable repairs are possible (though unobtainable) with bows but not violins.

Well... two things I think should be made clear. Difficult to detect repairs are possible for both (though on a simple "stick" under a great deal of tension the ramifications might be slightly different), but the word "perfect" may not apply... especially if the item is not left in a state that allows it to be used as designed. For that matter, I don't think I've ever competed a project and had the word "perfect" come to mind. It's usually more like "that's as good as I can make it".

2. The bow restoration world holds itself to a higher standard of ethics than presidential hopefuls who are applauded for their unethical behavior

Not much of a bar really, is it! :)

3. In answer to my original question, others might qualify for invisible repairs but I do not.

Not sure where that one comes from. High level repair is expensive, and performing a difficult to detect repair may not always be the correct and ethical way to go (in your case, do to the previous repair you described, the job might be quite invasive).

One of the rewarding thing about collecting violin cases is that I have never come across a fake one and repairs are very rarely undertaken so, compared to violins and bows, they can be had for very little money. They also share with other works of art the attribute that they can't be used to play Prokofiev.

Agreed! :)

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3. In answer to my original question, others might qualify for invisible repairs but I do not.

Not sure where that one comes from. High level repair is expensive, and performing a difficult to detect repair may not always be the correct and ethical way to go (in your case, do to the previous repair you described, the job might be quite invasive).

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

It comes from the implication that only those with criminal intent can get invisible repairs and only willing accomplices will provide them.

I am aware of a small but flourishing trade in obviously repaired bows by respected makers. This is to put good quality sticks into the hands of deserving students who don't have the financial resources for perfect examples. We all know that decent repairs, invisible or otherwise, have little or no impact on the performance characteristics of either bows or violins.

The requirement for perfection comes from the irrational demands of the collector who may or may not use the item. Often it is consigned to a case for safekeeping where it provides a hedge against inflation coupled with bragging rights.

I admit to having a foot in the collector camp.

Glenn

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While we're on repair ethics-Can I ask a sort of off-topic question?

What about quick&dirty repairs? Are those frowned upon? I had a student knock my viola off a table(8'x3', it was in the middle. I *thought* it was safe...I was mistaken). The neck broke, right where it joins the body. The luthier was very reluctant to do a fast repair that was visible. I didn't care, and begged for it to just be repaired as quickly as possible(end of the semester, had 2 juries, 4 concerts and a chamber recital within 7 days). In the end, he only reluctantly did a fast, visible repair because he didn't have a loaner of a similar size/stop length. Now I'm curious, was he likely reluctant from an ethics standpoint, or just from a reputation standpoint? edit: Or a 'I'd prefer not to do this on Saturday to give it back to you on Sunday, standpoint' is possible too. :P

(Keep in mind we're dealing with a $2000 viola here, nothing terribly special)

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...What about quick&dirty repairs? Are those frowned upon?...

Not frowned on by me if done on a cheap instrument and if the customer gives informed consent.

...The neck broke, right where it joins the body. The luthier was very reluctant to do a fast repair that was visible. I didn't care, and begged for it to just be repaired as quickly as possible... In the end, he only reluctantly did a fast, visible repair because he didn't have a loaner of a similar size/stop length. Now I'm curious, was he likely reluctant from an ethics standpoint, or just from a reputation standpoint?...

I don't know what his reason was. Depending on how your neck broke, it could have been hard to do a quick repair that would hold up under string tension.

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While we're on repair ethics-Can I ask a sort of off-topic question?

What about quick&dirty repairs? Are those frowned upon? I had a student knock my viola off a table(8'x3', it was in the middle. I *thought* it was safe...I was mistaken). The neck broke, right where it joins the body. The luthier was very reluctant to do a fast repair that was visible. I didn't care, and begged for it to just be repaired as quickly as possible(end of the semester, had 2 juries, 4 concerts and a chamber recital within 7 days). In the end, he only reluctantly did a fast, visible repair because he didn't have a loaner of a similar size/stop length. Now I'm curious, was he likely reluctant from an ethics standpoint, or just from a reputation standpoint? edit: Or a 'I'd prefer not to do this on Saturday to give it back to you on Sunday, standpoint' is possible too. :P

(Keep in mind we're dealing with a $2000 viola here, nothing terribly special)

I think there are a number of reasons why he would be reluctant to take this on, some of which you have already covered.

Quick and dirty repairs certainly are frowned upon. Things which are repaired in the correct manner after a break will last longest, and can be made to look pretty much invisible. It is best to get things right first time for this.

Quick repairs done out of desperation usually don't hold up that well long term, and having to redo them later makes it very tricky and time consuming, more so than it would have done in the first place. I have heard of people's work being rubbished by other shops/restorers/teachers thinking that the quick repair they did is representative of the quality of their work in general, not a situation anyone would want when running a business.

Unfortunately accidents always happen at the worst times, and there is never an easy answer. If you have an instrument insured, sometimes it is possible to hire one whilst yours is being repaired, and the costs covered by the insurers.

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