GeorgeH

How to Repair Button Separation From Neck?

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As can be seen in the pictures, this neck heel has cleanly about separated about 1mm from the button, but otherwise, the neck is seems firmly attached to the mortice and does not move. The back seam has barely separated on both sides of the block, but I can’t tell if the block itself has separated at all from the back. From the inside it appears to be firmly attached. 

The neck cannot be moved back in-place, not can the back or button be pressed to move the button back to the neck. Everything is pretty rigid.

The overstand is 7mm; the fingerboard length is 170mm; and the fingerboard projection is 18mm.

I am guessing that it is going to need (and may benefit from) a neck readjustment, but as a non-luthier, I would be interested in hearing options from luthiers.

What would you do? How difficult a repair?

Thank you.

button_neck_root.jpg

neck_heel_repair.jpg

block_2.jpg

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Just now, jacobsaunders said:

It Needs the neck taking out, and re-fitting. Not a job for a Do-It-Yourselfer 

Thanks, Jacob. I should have added that I was not in any way contemplating to fix it myself!

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Sometimes water does the trick, if you wet it with a thin spatula and clamp and wait an hr or so, then it might go back, but projection is very low.

 

KYC

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5 minutes ago, chungviolins said:

Sometimes water does the trick, if you wet it with a thin spatula and clamp and wait an hr or so, then it might go back, but projection is very low.

Thanks for your reply. Does this mean that you think that the button pulled away from the neck? And, yes, the projection is low., which makes me think that the neck has pulled forward.

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I'm  seeing two possibilities why it doesn't move back to the original postion: First is, that somebody tried to fix it with glue which now blocks any movement, or the string tension led to a strong deformation, so that there's no more correct fit of block, neck and button.

In both cases wetting might help a bit, but IMO the only proper and lasting repair would include removing both neck and end block from the bottom, cleaning and adjusting it to reinstall everything to the right position.

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Resetting neck is always best option but costy, $500 -$1,000.

It doesn't look like it's been glued before, so with aforementioned technique, if you glue it might look o.k.

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Thanks @Blank face

My guess is that it is strong deformation, your second suggestion.

I am wondering if the solution described by @Michael Darnton might work:

"You pull up a neck by loosening the whole top from upper corner to upper corner, pulling the neck back, and putting a shim under the end of the neck where it meets the top endgrain, hidden by the fingerboard, to hold the neck back, then gluing everything back."

10 minutes ago, chungviolins said:

Resetting neck is always best option but costy, $500 -$1,000.

Yes, hoping to avoid that!

I guess the cheapest option would be to just put a shim in-between the neck and button and live with the low fingerboard projection.

Edited by GeorgeH
Added cheapest option

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The block might be loose too; re-gluing just the button to back surface area would be a temporary fix at best.

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4 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

 

I am wondering it the solution described by @Michael Darnton might work:

"You pull up a neck by loosening the whole top from upper corner to upper corner, pulling the neck back, and putting a shim under the end of the neck where it meets the top endgrain, hidden by the fingerboard, to hold the neck back, then gluing everything back."

This method was discussed before (with different opinions), but it would have an effect only on the neck projection, not on the gap between neck button and underside of the block.

I forgot to mention that it's necessary to remove the neck from the block, too, and reset it. I don't know about the costs in your region (and here it won't be so costy by far), but resetting a neck lowered by string tension is an operation very common in a violin's life and trying to avoid it will make things worser in the long run.

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10 minutes ago, Blank face said:

This method was discussed before (with different opinions), but it would have an effect only on the neck projection, not on the gap between neck button and underside of the block.

I forgot to mention that it's necessary to remove the neck from the block, too, and reset it. I don't know about the costs in your region (and here it won't be so costy by far), but resetting a neck lowered by string tension is an operation very common in a violin's life and trying to avoid it will make things worser in the long run.

If you place a shim as described, this will create a gap between the button and bottom of the neck because the bottom angle changes when you introduce the shim. It's not a huge gap, but to repair it properly, the bottom of the neck should be shimmed or re-shaped too.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

Thanks @Blank face

My guess is that it is strong deformation, your second suggestion.

I am wondering if the solution described by @Michael Darnton might work:

"You pull up a neck by loosening the whole top from upper corner to upper corner, pulling the neck back, and putting a shim under the end of the neck where it meets the top endgrain, hidden by the fingerboard, to hold the neck back, then gluing everything back."

Yes, hoping to avoid that!

I guess the cheapest option would be to just put a shim in-between the neck and button and live with the low fingerboard projection.

Don't do that! With the button separated like that, there are other things going on as well. The neck pull-up mentioned is for a totally different problem. It will only make your problem worse, and in the long run, may cost you much more, if a luthier has to undo some cobbled repair attempt. Take it to a luthier. It's possible that there may be a repair less invasive than a neck reset that will fix the problem.

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13 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

Don't do that!

Thanks, Fiddledoug and @Bill Yacey. I wasn't planning on doing anything but taking it to my luthier! I really appreciate everybody's comments and suggestions so I can understand my options prior to my visit. Very helpful, and I will follow-up with the results.

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The two exterior photos don't give views from enough different angles to know for sure, but it looks like the upper block has come completely unglued from the back, with the lower portion of the block and neck and ribs levered outward by string tension, reducing the edge margin in the block area.  The gap doesn't show on the inside because the neck/block assembly has rotated, pushing the inside edge of the block against the back. If this is the case, fixing it might be as simple as cleaning the joint, pushing things back in place, and regluing. Or it could get more complicated, like needing to open the back/rib seam all the way to the corner blocks to redistribute excess rib material in order to be able to push things back into place. Or it might even require shortening the ribs in the upper bouts to get things back into place.

Again, that's just a guess from what can be seen in the photos. When we have a chance to examine something in person, we can examine it from dozens of different angles, flex parts to see how they move, and get a much more solid idea of what is going on.

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14 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

If this is the case, fixing it might be as simple as cleaning the joint, pushing things back in place, and regluing.

Thanks for your insights. I hope it is something this simple, and the neck does not have to be separated from the block. I'll let you know.

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5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

It Needs the neck taking out, and re-fitting. Not a job for a Do-It-Yourselfer 

That all depends on the Do-It-Yourselfer.  :P

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As David mentioned earlier, I do not think you have enough information yet.  Best to find out what caused the problem, Is the bridge cut to match the 18 mm projection, etc.  At this point it is kinda like trying to cure a limp by making the other leg shorter.

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Jerry's of course right.  Showing us the whole fiddle would also help make mere wild guesses into SWAG's.  You ever done an ebony crown?  :)

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It would be interesting to see a side view of the violin showing the 7mm neck overstand and the 18 mm projection.  Like this one.

Lot 188.JPG

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7 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

As David mentioned earlier, I do not think you have enough information yet.  Best to find out what caused the problem, Is the bridge cut to match the 18 mm projection, etc.  At this point it is kinda like trying to cure a limp by making the other leg shorter.

LOL. There were two bridges with this violin, and both are short (~32mm from center top to apex). This violin does not have high arching. To @David Burgess point, the bottom of the ribs on either side of the block have moved toward the outside edge, so it may be that the bottom block has indeed come unglued. (see picture)

As I mentioned, everything feels rigid to me, but maybe I am (cautiously) just not attempting to wiggle things hard enough. 

So, yes, agreed, best to figure out what has caused the problem. I will post here whatever I find out.

Just now, Violadamore said:

Jerry's of course right.  Showing us the whole fiddle would also help make mere wild guesses into SWAG's.  You ever done an ebony crown?  :)

I love violins too much for me to ruin them in attempts to fix them, although this love is a high-rent affair, I must admit. :wub:

9 minutes ago, Brad H said:

It would be interesting to see a side view of the violin showing the 7mm neck overstand and the 18 mm projection.  Like this one.

Attached

bottom_treble_rib.jpg

bridge_arch.jpg

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I think 33mm bridge height, measured on violin, is normal so yours is within the ballpark.  

9 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

As I mentioned, everything feels rigid to me, but maybe I am (cautiously) just not attempting to wiggle things hard enough

Yeah, probably a good idea.  I hope it is just a loose block.  

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