GeorgeH

How to Repair Button Separation From Neck?

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It's not very hard to guess that "the block is loose", of course.:rolleyes:

If this was the only issue, it would be easy to press it back in the right place, what is obviously not the case.

16 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

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.

This rigidness made me assume that there must be some heavy and stuck deformation, probably of the bottom,  maybe of ribs and block, too, what makes it impossible to put everything back together. The problem here is not the neck projection, rather to make everything fitting again.

Otherwise I agree that without seeing it in person all remains (informed) speculation.

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

It's not very hard to guess that "the block is loose", of course.:rolleyes:

If this was the only issue, it would be easy to press it back in the right place, what is obviously not the case.

This rigidness made me assume that there must be some heavy and stuck deformation, probably of the bottom,  maybe of ribs and block, too, what makes it impossible to put everything back together. The problem here is not the neck projection, rather to make everything fitting again.

Otherwise I agree that without seeing it in person all remains (informed) speculation.

The projection issue and the deformation will solve themselves as the block is put back in place and the heal of the neck matches the button once more, and it also explains the neck not being loose in the mortise.   It is not easy to push back due to the existing glue sticking slightly, and will take just a little pressure and an opening knife to free it up.  Occam’s razor, everything is accounted for and all the issues are explained. 

C67867BD-BD69-41A8-A9B1-A702AEA8C26E.jpeg.fc37d3dfada79917c642215c0aafdbdf.jpeg

Burgess’ post:

“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.”

 

 

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It's getting a bit circular now; even the possibility that it's blocked by glue was mentioned before.

I think, David has listed up all possibilties very well and elaborated, it's more or less the same what I had in mind, expressing it slightly shorter. So IMO there's nothing more left than to bring it to a restorer's shop to decide what to do.

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7 minutes ago, Blank face said:

It's getting a bit circular now; even the possibility that it's blocked by glue was mentioned before.

I think, David has listed up all possibilties very well and elaborated, it's more or less the same what I had in mind, expressing it slightly shorter. So IMO there's nothing more left than to bring it to a restorer's shop to decide what to do.

Except, there is no justifiable reason to “remove the neck from the block, too, and reset it”, that is a pretty huge difference....more or less:mellow:

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25 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Except, there is no justifiable reason to “remove the neck from the block, too, and reset it”, that is a pretty huge difference

And a huge relief, I hope.

I'll post pictures and describe the repair when complete. It will probably be at least a few weeks. The shop may be experiencing an influx of crack work due to the extended cold snap and low humidity that we just experienced here in the northeast US. 

Thanks again to everybody who chimed-in and offered advice. 

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18 hours 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.

 

KYC

Sorry to be pragmatic, buts whats the violins monetary  value ?

If its a $10,000 violin, then take it to a luthier.

If its something worth $50, and it does not have an emotional attatchment, and it has no use as a musical instrument, (you do not play the violin)then I would attempt a diy repair.

This may make all the luthiers here cringe, but I would boil a pan of water, find an old thin butter knife and after dipping it in the boiling water, try to slide the knife under the block and melt the old glue. Then using the same knife and hot hide glue, spread some glue inside, pull the button shipshape and clamp.

If after doing this the neck angle is too low, not straight ,or whatever, then its off to Ebay or a local auction house !

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Sorry to be pragmatic, buts whats the violins monetary  value ?

Hi Delabo,

It is a decent violin that is definitely worth restoring. It does not deserve to have me to make matters worse. :D

I have a wonderfully skilled luthier nearby to maintain and repair my violins; and I feel I owe it to posterity to take good care of them.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Except, there is no justifiable reason to “remove the neck from the block, too, and reset it”, that is a pretty huge difference....more or less:mellow:

Except, that button and end block area of the bottom might be distorted in a way that it needs to be refitted more or less...but this decision can be left to the actual repairer.B).

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

Except, that button and end block area of the bottom might be distorted in a way that it needs to be refitted more or less...but this decision can be left to the actual repairer.B).

Except, the photos that were shot, one with oblique light, do not show even a hint of distortion.  ;)

E98AA197-E95D-4D72-802D-F7CB11CED8D0.jpeg

A683B100-88DE-44C1-B5BF-67547CB61F29.jpeg

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57 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Except, the photos that were shot, one with oblique light, do not show even a hint of distortion.  ;)

 

This is pointless. The photos are telling nothing about how the arching might be distorted from a possible former curve or about the condition of the neck block's underside. The only way to know is cleaning it, taking it carefully apart and see, if it will come together again or not.

We can go on this way, but I don't know what to learn from it.<_<

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14 minutes ago, Blank face said:

This is pointless. The photos are telling nothing about how the arching might be distorted from a possible former curve or about the condition of the neck block's underside. The only way to know is cleaning it, taking it carefully apart and see, if it will come together again or not.

Sure.....

Give credit where credit is due; Bill and David were correct.

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Jerry, I don't see how anyone can be pronounced to be "correct" until they have the violin on the table in front of them.

I see a sideways misalignment between the button and the heel of the neck, so I think it would be best to say to GeorgeH "until we get this in our hands and see how everything's moving (or not), it would be best to budget for taking everything apart, cleaning it all out, doing a bit of shimming perhaps, and sticking it all back together".

It certainly looks to me like it could all go back with a bit of leverage, but will the neck be straight? Absolutely no way of knowing from these photos. For that reason I think that Blank Face is urging caution and/or pessimism and I would do the same.

GeorgeH, perhaps you could sight through the endpin and tell us if the top block is loose, cracked, whatever ...?

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Seems IMHO, like an appropriate order of operation would be to assess for other damadage , loose ribs, cracked block,whatnot,if none is apparent ,try and loosen and clean the joint with water, and knife,if that’s a go , let is fully dry loose and dry clamp up , correctly, if that’s good, slip in some glue and secure, now if the neck needs resetting, it can be removed without blowing things up. any other problems can be addressed at this point as well.Now the top could be pulled,linings replied to ribs .....????? Thoughts?

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6 minutes ago, martin swan said:

It certainly looks to me like it could all go back with a bit of leverage, but will the neck be straight? Absolutely no way of knowing from these photos. For that reason I think that Blank Face is urging caution and/or pessimism and I would do the same.

 

22 hours ago, Blank face said:

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.

 

21 hours 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.

?.. I think reglueing  the block to the back would be the more cautious route, would it not?

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6 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

The projection issue and the deformation will solve themselves as the block is put back in place and the heal of the neck matches the button once more, and it also explains the neck not being loose in the mortise.   It is not easy to push back due to the existing glue sticking slightly, and will take just a little pressure and an opening knife to free it up.  Occam’s razor, everything is accounted for and all the issues are explained. 

C67867BD-BD69-41A8-A9B1-A702AEA8C26E.jpeg.fc37d3dfada79917c642215c0aafdbdf.jpeg

Burgess’ post:

“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.”

 

 

Yup.

Added caveat; pushing the block and ribs back in place will return the neck projection to what it was before. If it was wrong before it will be wrong again although in that case it may make sense on an instrument such as this one to push the ribs even further thereby raising the neck angle but requiring a modification of the button which would of course be absolutely inappropriate on a nicer violin.

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3 minutes ago, martin swan said:

GeorgeH, perhaps you could sight through the endpin and tell us if the top block is loose, cracked, whatever ...?

There’s a shot of the block early on, looks good, no piles of glue no obvious splits. Could just be some long sweaty sessions on a hot humid summer day into case and slowly moving. 

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If the repair can be done with the neck attached to an intact top block then great, but that's not something we can know for sure at this stage ... so it's better to prepare for a bigger job.

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2 minutes ago, martin swan said:

GeorgeH, perhaps you could sight through the endpin and tell us if the top block is loose, cracked, whatever ...?

Hi Martin,

The top block looks fine. As David Burgess pointed out, one will not see a separation at the bottom of the block because it has been pushed down. I do see slight separations of the bottom rib seam on either side of the block.

I do think that all the evidence points to a top block that has come loose, and then maybe re-adhered somewhat. Anyway, I am not trying to force it to move. I do not know the history of this violin at all. Maybe it sat in a humid attic for a few decades? Who knows.

I don't see any distortion in the back, and it looks everything looks lined-up to fall back into place fairly easily.  

I have no idea what the brand on the block is, though. Do you?

 

block_2.jpg

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Just now, James M. Jones said:

There’s a shot of the block early on, looks good, no piles of glue no obvious splits. Could just be some long sweaty sessions on a hot humid summer day into case and slowly moving. 

Good point.  No distortion, no cracks, the projection is low, the ribs are open on the back next to the button, the margin is tight next to the button, the block looks good with no obvious splits or piles of glue, and the neck is solid in the mortise.  Doesn’t sound like it needs a neck reset to me.

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We will all be very happy for GeorgeH if his violin doesn't need a neck reset.

I can't understand the confrontational or competitive tone - I would hope we're all trying to help, and I find Blank face's comments valid. 

Personally, given what was in the first post, and given what we can see of the quality of the fiddle, I would assume that I would end up taking everything apart. I don't like the idea of a 7mm overstand.

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8 minutes ago, martin swan said:

 

If the repair can be done with the neck attached to an intact top block then great, but that's not something we can know for sure at this stage ... so it's better to prepare for a bigger job.

My apologies Martin.  Being at the bench for 40 years I have seen this many times before.  If you look back, my first post was urging more information, when the next photos came all the check marks were then in the right boxes.  

My issue was in the “more or less” comment when the truth was less than more, and way more less.

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Just now, nathan slobodkin said:

Yup.

Added caveat; pushing the block and ribs back in place will return the neck projection to what it was before. If it was wrong before it will be wrong again although in that case it may make sense on an instrument such as this one to push the ribs even further thereby raising the neck angle but requiring a modification of the button which would of course be absolutely inappropriate on a nicer violin.

Or we could reglue to it’s original set and do a New York set,pull back, rather than adjusting the button, removing material should be a last ditch option in all cases,yes? Seeing how the top is designed to come off and all , and is generally seen as holding lesser value of the two, kind of a horse apiece, from a labor stand point , but from a preservation and conservation point ,let’s not cut what does not need cutting.

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If there has to be any kind of intervention beyond slipping in some runny glue and clamping things up. then it's as well to do a complete job while the opportunity is there. The two things that concern me are the overstand and the apparent slight sideways misalignment between button and heel. If everything can be cleaned out and nicely aligned without separating the neck from that rather interesting top bloc , elevation, centre line, bish bash bosh, then all the better. But it won't necessarily go that way.

 

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Just now, martin swan said:

 

If there has to be any kind of intervention beyond slipping in some runny glue and clamping things up. then it's as well to do a complete job while the opportunity is there. The two things that concern me are the overstand and the apparent slight sideways misalignment between button and heel. If everything can be cleaned out and nicely aligned without separating the neck from that rather interesting top bloc , elevation, centre line, bish bash bosh, then all the better. But it won't necessarily go that way.

 

Can’t argue with that.  As Nate mentioned, all reglueing will do is put it back to where it was.

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