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Ajm

Worm damage repairs

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I recently acquired a 100 year old Bohemian violin and on opening it found it has worm damage to the ribs and lining on the upper left side. It also has a worm hole running along the back from the upper left corner to about 2/3 of the way along the upper left bout. the holes are +/-1 mm across and in most places leave little more than the varnish on the outside and about the same on the inside.

What is the best way to repair this?

I will have to replace some of the linings which were only 4 mm tall. Injecting the holes with hide glue and then filling the holes was suggested to me. What kind of filler might be acceptable? Lycopodium? Any other advise would be appreciated. 

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Nothing reversible works really well. If you inject hide glue into the tracks, the glue will eventually dry up, vibrate loose, and cause a buzz or rattle. Same with lycopodium.

Ken Meyer gave a lecture on his use of a wood filler that he colored and placed in the worm tracks. That was at the VSA meeting held in SLC 20 or so years ago.

Problem is, what you can see is only the beginning.

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35 minutes ago, BassClef said:

Please provide an xRay or MRI of the entire violin.

Or maybe some photos?

MRI is a water based modality. Perhaps a CT would be better...

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14 hours ago, duane88 said:

...

Problem is, what you can see is only the beginning.

I am convinced the tunnels improve the acoustics.

Unless you have proof that the tunnels have adversely affected sound quality - best to leave them alone.

:mellow:

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Woof.  The danger of not doing anything with worm track is if the instrument gets dropped, takes a hit, or perhaps even squeezed too tightly the results can be really bad. Dealing with them is a mixed bag of pick your poison.  The current thinking tends to bend towards using non-water based fillers. If the repair fails, the filler can be removed and replaced again.  At least with open trenches.  I've had good luck with a flexible two part epoxy called woodepox on open trenches on the inside of ribs.  Externally, some commercial fillers work well, and with practice, you can retouch them effectively.   Some also have good luck with scanning/cnc replacement of missing material.

Closed track is much more problematic.  The trend has been towards injecting them with various flexible epoxies.  As you can imagine, there are difficulties with this...

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Agree with Jerry. On the ribs, the least invasive repair with the least alteration to what's original might be to try using a filler for the voids, and backing up on the inside with heavy linen. Backing up with wood would be stronger, but also might alter the sound of the fiddle more.

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We haven’t seen much of the violin otherwise, but there comes a point where one asks oneself if it „is worth it“. I have a big box of old rib galands from the bancrupcy of Carl Zach in 1896, and would probably use a couple of new replacement ribs from there. You could also look in your junk box if you have any usable spare ribs.

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