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violin crack repair (missing wood on the varnish side)


laustephen498
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Hello, I am repairing a violin front with a few cracks. And some of the wood on top of these cracks are missing (i.e. varnish side). However, the bottom wood still remains.I was thinking to use wood filler or cut away the wood to insert a new piece of spruce. Does anyone have any ideas?  Thank you!

 

Top (varnish side): https://postimg.org/image/5kr0x6nr5/

Bottom: https://postimg.org/image/mwrdimh8h/

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Jeffrey is correct. You need to get that crack glued closed before you even think about working on the front touch up. Fitting replacement wood in a crack is very likely to turn out very badly for a less than skilled luthier.(could end up worse than before you did it). My preference, after the crack is secured, would be to use a thickened sandarac, or Deft filler, followed by retouching.

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Yes, I'd say that it would be better to use a transparent "filler varnish" in this case, (also reversible) than to inlay wood, or use a "wood filler", which is typically an opaque compound.

 

Inlaying wood is a very tricky proposition, requiring that the split of the wood be oriented perfectly to the original, or the inlay will stand out like a sore thumb at some viewing angles. Pigmented "wood putty" can be even more problematic when it comes to standing out like a sore thumb at various viewing angles..

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What would be the preferred filler?

 

A spirit based filler varnish (I've described what I use in previous threads)... probably fortified with something to add some body and reduce shrinkage like aluminum hydroxide and allowed to thicken slightly before application.  Other transparent or semi transparent body producing additives are available as well.

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Personally, I've never had stellar outcomes with Deft, while also acknowledging  that some very good people have recommended it in the past.

Like Jeffrey said, current best practice seems to be heavily loading a spirit varnish with mineral content, a mineral which is transparent in the varnish medium, doesn't expand or contract with variations in solvent content (resins alone can be horrible that way), and isn't so hard and abrasive that it trashes your cutting tools.

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Yes, thank you very much for the advice!

I have glued it tight with the G clamp method mentioned by the strad. Sorry for the old photos.

 

Previously, I tried a wood filler (carpenter glue and fine wood dust). After filling the cracks, I put some retouch varnish on top.However, the wood filler is melt and softened by the retouch varnish. Probably I did something wrong? Cause I was worried that if i use the spirit based filler varnish, the filler varnish will be melt by the alcohol from the retouch varnish. Is there a way to separate the wood filler/filler varnish and retouch varnish? 

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Previously, I tried a wood filler (carpenter glue and fine wood dust). After filling the cracks, I put some retouch varnish on top.However, the wood filler is melt and softened by the retouch varnish. Probably I did something wrong? Cause I was worried that if i use the spirit based filler varnish, the filler varnish will be melt by the alcohol from the retouch varnish. Is there a way to separate the wood filler/filler varnish and retouch varnish? 

 

Again, I believe you will have better luck with a varnish "filler".  When touching up (adding color) apply with a relatively dry brush (don't saturate).

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