Sign in to follow this  
Joe Swenson

What would you charge to repair this violin top?

Recommended Posts

Hi all.  Been long time.  :rolleyes:  Getting back into "things" again including repairs for the local music store. 

They have an old Amati style violin they need repaired, if its worth it.  I'm just getting started with them and need to get some idea what to charge them.  The top has what looks like a major bass bar crack, as well as other cracks on the bass side and one nearer the center. 

I'm afraid taking the top off will cause further damage.  Any advice is appreciated...

Cheers!

Joe

IMG_5838-2.jpg

IMG_5840-2.jpg

IMG_5841-2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well for sure the top's got to come off, and the value of the violin might be less than the labor cost to fix those repairs. if they want the cracks hidden that's more cost and time consuming. So first from what I see if I was charging is, what extent is the requirement of the repair. I see at least 4 and maybe a 5th crack (one might be old repair). so that's most likely 5 days to repair then another couple days to glue top back on. also I see if it gets fixed there might have to be a compromise meaning you'll be giving them a bargain price to get it done or they just want it fixed regardless of value of instrument (sentimental) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, duane88 said:

Define "repair".

Take top off. Repair 3 - 4 cracks. Not sure what the bass bar crack will involve. Removing bass bar. Fixing crack. Replacing bass bar?  I'd opt for minimal repair path for that which would mean leaving in bass bar if possible. Then Replace top.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The top needs to come off to get the cracks aligned, and to address the bassbar crack. I would probably charge about $500 for that, but since I have my shop in my home, I don't have the overhead of a larger shop.  

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of those cracks are old and contaminated, so a "nice" repair would involve cleaning them. Hard to say how much work that would be without having the instrument in my hands, and maybe experimenting a bit with what it takes to dissolve or soften the gunk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Some of those cracks are old and contaminated, so a "nice" repair would involve cleaning them. Hard to say how much work that would be without having the instrument in my hands, and maybe experimenting a bit with what it takes to dissolve or soften the gunk.

 

4 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

The top needs to come off to get the cracks aligned, and to address the bassbar crack. I would probably charge about $500 for that, but since I have my shop in my home, I don't have the overhead of a larger shop.  

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the replies.

Yes I should have explained this is a rental instrument for the store. So he wants enough done to make it playable.

The bass bar "crack" seems like it has been repaired a while back in the bridge area as the crack edges are worn. It seems to have grown since then and new adjacent cracks developed. 

It seems to be a decent instrument. Top is fairly thin,  and has a nice sound and responds well when handling the instrument.  Top is fairly thin, which is probably part of the reason for so many cracks.  Soundpost may need replacement. The fingerboard projection is about 4 mm too low (@23 mm) and it needs the bridge replaced. Someone at some point took it and stripped most of the varnish off the instrument.  You can still feel the sticky surface of the remaining varnish and ground coat that is left. In addition to bare spots of wood in places.

Yeah so the total work needed to be done on this is more than cracks.  I'd think $500 is probably fair.  It probably a $500 violin when its done. :rolleyes:

Joe

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Joe Swenson said:

Yes I should have explained this is a rental instrument for the store.

Doesn't make much sense to me to fix this up for that purpose, considering what else you could do with $500 bucks in a business like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, deans said:

Doesn't make much sense to me to fix this up for that purpose, considering what else you could do with $500 bucks in a business like that.

I'll second that emotion.  IMHO, they're expecting a white-glue-and-paper "repair" out of you that would make most of us here slightly queasy, and for next to nothing.  Good luck.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2017 at 7:32 PM, JacksonMaberry said:

What's a Bitcoin?

Don't you dare ask what an iota is.....just back up the truck now, quick before 5g hits the market....and that's 11,091, at the moment,super subject to change

edit; sorry that went up to 11, 171 in the 2 minutes it took to post the reply...hey, that's almost 6k over someones 6k bubble :lol:

 

edit,  iota day of mentioning it12/2  .78cents....day of edit 12/5 , 3 days later 4.88$ :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jezzupe said:

Don't you dare ask what an iota is.....just back up the truck now, quick before 5g hits the market....and that's 11,091, at the moment,super subject to change

edit; sorry that went up to 11, 171 in the 2 minutes it took to post the reply...hey, that's almost 6k over someones 6k bubble :lol:

I'm not smart, daring, or wealthy enough to play this kind of game. As per usual, the get rich quick schemes will have to benefit someone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Joe Swenson said:

 

Thanks for the replies.

Yes I should have explained this is a rental instrument for the store. So he wants enough done to make it playable.

The bass bar "crack" seems like it has been repaired a while back in the bridge area as the crack edges are worn. It seems to have grown since then and new adjacent cracks developed. 

It seems to be a decent instrument. Top is fairly thin,  and has a nice sound and responds well when handling the instrument.  Top is fairly thin, which is probably part of the reason for so many cracks.  Soundpost may need replacement. The fingerboard projection is about 4 mm too low (@23 mm) and it needs the bridge replaced. Someone at some point took it and stripped most of the varnish off the instrument.  You can still feel the sticky surface of the remaining varnish and ground coat that is left. In addition to bare spots of wood in places.

Yeah so the total work needed to be done on this is more than cracks.  I'd think $500 is probably fair.  It probably a $500 violin when its done. :rolleyes:

Joe

 

Now that you have a number in mind, go back and think through its relationship to a reasonable hourly rate.  Just to pull a number out of the air, at $50 an hour, your $500 allows you 10 hours to do the work.  MAYBE, just maybe, if you don't need to mess with the bassbar or clean any cracks or do any touch up when you're done AND the top comes off like a champ without any tear out on the gluing platforms or the blocks, 10 hours is in the neighborhood.  But that's a lot of potentially expensive ifs.  And we haven't even mentioned the set-up work you list. 

You're setting yourself up to lose money on the work if you try to give the customer (the store) a firm quote without seeing the inside first.  Maybe you're willing to eat some of your costs to build a relationship.  But there is a limit to that appetite too.

If you do proceed with an estimate, make it preliminary and subject to change once the box is open.  Give them a clear explanation of what you MIGHT find once the top is off so they are more likely to appreciate your risk.  If they want a firm estimate up front without any flexibility to accommodate the unforeseen, walk away.  Unless, of course, this is all about love and none about money...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently paid $1,000 for repairs that seem less extensive.  My violin had 3 cracks, 2 pretty small and a third still smaller than depicted here.  Also included in that repair was a new block made of willow wood, and a new sound post and custom bridge.  I provided my own strings.  The work done is beautiful, I'm satisfied with the sound and appearance of my repaired violin.  See attached pic for the worst crack that was repaired.

Will's cracked violin.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it in their rental stock ?   ...  functional repair only,  no cosmetics

Is it customer violin of little value? ...  Say it is not worth repair and quote a high price.

A customer violin of higher value:  Tell them to take it to a professional restorer.

I repaired violins for a chain of music stores for many years.   I would not touch anything that looked like it needed difficult retouching.   If the customer wanted a first-rate cosmetic job,  he would not bring it to a "music store"  if that were the case.   Be friends with some nearby shop who wants to take on such projects.  If the customer does not like the outcome,   THEY take the heat.

I survived intact for all the time of my service to my music store chain and was never backed into a corner.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the late response which is my way lately. 

Thanks so much for all the good advice!  I appreciate the time you took to provide your insights and perspectives.  It will help me going forward with this customer. 

We've talked again and discussed all the repairs the instrument "needs" and come to an agreement as to what he wants done.  He doesn't want the top removed and the cracks addressed.  He just wants a violin he can sell for a couple hundred dollars.  So minimal repairs.  I'm just going to shim the neck and make it playable again.  New bridge and sound post.  The cracks are pretty stable for now and don't "buzz" at all.  I may try to work some hide glue into the cracks to help stabilize them.  Tried to do some manual external alignment of the main new crack ans its not moving easily so I'll just leave it alone aside from a little hide glue on the exposed edge.  

Thanks again. As always Maestronet has the answers!

CHeers,

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add another perspective:

If this was something like a Strad, it might easily be a multi-thousand dollar job. Not that there is "a Strad tax" on repairs, based on an assumption that the owner has endless money, but because a much higher level of diligence is required to best preserve irreplaceable objects.

Not to mention the insurance costs. The last time I checked,   my increase in insurance premium for having a roughly six-million-dollar instrument in the shop was around $6000 per week.

So depending on the quality and care of the job, and the specific instrument, Jerry's estimate of "pretty close to 1 bitcoin" could be in the ballpark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.