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liang7079

Knife marks in the varnish (new bridge)

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Hi guys: First post here. I just got a new bridge which I am very happy with, improved the sound and response tremendously. However I noticed the are 2 lines right behind the feet of the bridge which the luthier said are markings in the varnish. Is this something that happens, that pen or tool marks are left in the varnish when a new bridge is being made and fitted?  Can this be fixed and prevented?

 

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Edited by liang7079

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I use a couple small pieces of very low tack tape to mark the position of the bridge while fitting the bridge and soundpost. They are easily removed when finished and leave no mark. Permanently marking the bridge position on the top would not be something I would consider, though I have seen it done. Can you upload a photo? Another explanation could be that the new bridge is slightly forward of the old position and you are seeing marks that the old bridge left in the varnish.

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Hi guys: First post here. I just got a new bridge which I am very happy with, improved the sound and response tremendously. However I noticed the are 2 lines right behind the feet of the bridge which the luthier said are knife marks from when the bridge was being made. Is this something that happens, that knife marks are left in the varnish when a new bridge is being made and fitted?  Can this be fixed and prevented?

 

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Sounds like hooey to me.  This should never happen.  Older fiddles often have wear marks from the feet, but in cutting the bridge, you don't have the bridge on the violin at the time.  Even I know that.  :)

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Sounds like hooey to me.  This should never happen.  Older fiddles often have wear marks from the feet, but in cutting the bridge, you don't have the bridge on the violin at the time.  Even I know that.  :)

There are colleagues who make a very faint scratch on the belly to mark the bridge position exactly. One should be able to polish this out. Few (if any) antique violins have any original varnish at the bridge position. Herron-Allen even goes to the extent of recomending that one should scratch the varnish off where the bridge is.

Of course nobody makes accidental knife marks there in the process of fitting a bridge. My brain hurts.

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I make some reference scribe lines for bridge position on violins I make, but that's a lot different from imposing that on historical instruments.

 

As has already been said or implied though, most historical instruments have so little remaining unadulterated original varnish, that I wouldn't consider it a major sin to scribe a line on some retouching varnish.

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I mark the bridge position with a small needle prick at the back corners and rub a little chalk in. It's highly visible but can be retouched away with a tiny amount of color if needed. I would think tape would make it difficult to see the way the bridge foot fitted. 

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The markings actually could be from Grease pencils (same colors and look), however when I showed it to my luthier he tried to gently scrap them away with a plastic tool they were not really coming off. Do these pencil markings sometime end up sticking into the varnish and need to be retouched/removed by reworking the varnish?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grease_pencil

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I would think tape would make it difficult to see the way the bridge foot fitted. 

 

The tape is on the sides of the bridge with pencil marks that mark the north-south position. It's the way I was taught and how I've always done it. I've haven't felt it impeded my ability to fit the feet but perhaps it does and I just don't know it. 

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The 'lines' are probably just where the bridge feet were digging into the varnish before it was moved up.

I wouldn't bother retouching it.  

 

I am sure that Ben has nailed the correct answer!  :)    ( so no need for the OP to worry)

 

For what it is worth I use little squares of masking/drafting tape ( 2x2mm) to mark the exact position of the bridge feet when I need to remove a bridge of mark a position for fitting. These can be applied and removed without any effect on the varnish.

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Liang,

 

Out of curiosity, is this a new violin, and is the new bridge made by the maker?  It doesn't sound like there is much of a problem.  Bridges make marks on varnish which can be different depending on the nature of the varnish.  However, I don't think very many makers or repairers scribe a line in the varnish to mark location; they are more likely to do what Nathan mentioned.

 

Take a look at the 9th row, center picture:

 

Violin Bridges

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Hi thanks for your answers. The marks are definitely NOT from indentations from the bridge feet, as they extend out a bit, and the bridge was moved closer to the tailpiece. I spoke to the original luthier (in another city) that made the bridge, chinagraph pen was NOT used to mark the position, the luthier said the making could have been there already and surfaced when the table was cleaned to set the bridge.  I will see what the luthier in Edinburgh says when I go collect the instrument, 

(the markings make a slight clicking sound when scrapped gently with a flexible plastic piece, and are said to have set into the varnish)

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Liang,

 

Out of curiosity, is this a new violin, and is the new bridge made by the maker?  It doesn't sound like there is much of a problem.  Bridges make marks on varnish which can be different depending on the nature of the varnish.  However, I don't think very many makers or repairers scribe a line in the varnish to mark location; they are more likely to do what Nathan mentioned.

 

Take a look at the 9th row, center picture:

 

Violin Bridges

The location of the image on the page will depend on the screen resolution used, and current images available.  Do you mean that horrible picture with the razor blade?  :blink:  :rolleyes:

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Oh, sorry.  I didn't know that.  The picture is of an old, good violin without a bridge and shows how deep a furrow can occur.  I'll count the total number of pictures and report back.  I hate it when this happens.

 

It's the 38th picture:  a brownish instrument with just the F-holes and bridge area filling the entire photo.

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Oh, sorry.  I didn't know that.  The picture is of an old, good violin without a bridge and shows how deep a furrow can occur.  I'll count the total number of pictures and report back.  I hate it when this happens.

 

It's the 38th picture:  a brownish instrument with just the F-holes and bridge area filling the entire photo.

On my computer, just now, it's #40.  Is this the one?

post-55791-0-06124000-1447283760_thumb.jpg

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I can't help thinking that two quite separate issues are being conflated in this thread.

First, it is hard to tell what is happening in such an out of focus picture (post #14). To me it would seem that someone has forgotten to wipe off chinagraph markings for which one would simply require a rag, dampened with a little turpentine substitute.

The excessive depressions in the belly (photo post #18) are a fairly routine repair, in fact I am in the middle of doing one right now. These are surely caused by a violin being strung with a badly fitting bridge (or one sitting in a position where it wasn't fitted) for years or decades. In particular I would blame those who fit hollow bridge feet. That this effect could be caused by someone who marks his bridge foot position, is surely improbable.

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On my computer, just now, it's #40.  Is this the one?

attachicon.gifruts.jpg

 

Yes, thanks.  That's the one I intended;  just to show that over the years a bridge can take its toll on a top.  I wasn't trying to show something specific to liang's description.  (I think you counted a couple of pictures as being two pictures ((or I did the opposite) to get to 40, but we got there. )  :)

 

 

In the mean time, I just saw the picture liang posted in #14.  That appears to show carving into the varnish or into the wood; if so, it's obviously not good, or a normal practice. 

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Hi the lines around the bridge in photo in # 14 are white pen marks from chinagraph, not craved in marks. The photo was intend to show the similar position and marks on my own violin however I was not able to wipe them off. 

 

Could these marks have already been there and covered up from French polishing and retouching, and now resurfaced because the table was cleaned for setting a new bridge?

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Hi, newbie here, I am self-taught and I have been making violins for about 5 years now and this thread got me curious.  Why scribe bridge position markers in the first place?  Aren't the f-hole nicks enough as a position reference?

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