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lilandfinn

Worm damage?

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Can I get your thoughts on these markings? I’m concerned that it could be from wood worms, but would like a second opinion. In any case, would such damage preclude you from buying an instrument? Thanks!

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16 minutes ago, lilandfinn said:

Thank you both! I’m always a bit nervous to buy online, but I couldn’t pass this one up. I’m glad to hear it isn’t likely to be worms!

 What kind a violin is it? Can you share the top and sides? Usually, if a violin does have worm damage it will have it in many different places. The mark that you shared looks either like a sap line, where the sap made the wood darker, or a pocket of some kind that was exposed when the violin was being carved, and was filled in with wood because the plate was too good to discard.

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

 What kind a violin is it? Can you share the top and sides? Usually, if a violin does have worm damage it will have it in many different places. The mark that you shared looks either like a sap line, where the sap made the wood darker, or a pocket of some kind that was exposed when the violin was being carved, and was filled in with wood because the plate was too good to discard.

The seller listed it as a Markneukirchen violin although I’m fairly certain it’s from Mittenwald. I’ll add some pictures for you to check out. I didn’t see anywhere else that looked suspicious, but I’m pretty green. 

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2 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I’d be more concerned about the broken button. 

Admittedly, I had not noticed that in the pictures...any idea what such a repair might run? Hopefully it’s worth the cost and hassle! 

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Ha! I see the mittenwald notch in the one-piece bottom rib! Finally!!

so if the button is broken, what does that signify and is it a big deal? One of my students just bought a very nice old instrument with a broken button, and it sounds and plays wonderful.

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6 hours ago, lilandfinn said:

Admittedly, I had not noticed that in the pictures...any idea what such a repair might run? Hopefully it’s worth the cost and hassle! 

The cost varies from shop to shop, depending on how it’s repaired. If a button reinforcement is done by putting a patch in, the cost will likely be somewhere between $600 and $1000. If a clavette is put in instead, it might be a bit less. If the violin is important to you, it’s worth the investment. 

 

4 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

so if the button is broken, what does that signify and is it a big deal? One of my students just bought a very nice old instrument with a broken button, and it sounds and plays wonderful.

The broken button shows that the neck broke out at some time and tore the button off with it. It’s been repaired, but you can’t know how well it was done without looking inside. If it was simply glued back together (hopefully with hide glue), you have no way of trusting it to last. The button is crucial to the neck joint, so any compromises to the strength of the area are dangerous. This is why shops turn good violins away when they see broken buttons and it’s why the value goes down drastically when they’re discovered.

A violin that’s had a proper repair for this problem ought to last indefinitely, but the knowledge that the damage occurred still detracts from market value. The silver lining is that once repaired, these instruments can sound just as good but be more affordable for players, making them “players’ instruments” but not necessarily “collectors’ instruments.”

4 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Also is there a cheek graft on the bass side of the peg box? Or is the whole scroll a different piece than the peg box? Or is it merely an oddly grafted head?

To me it appears that there’s a cheek graft. Most likely the pegbox suffered some bad cracks and the repairman grafted wood to make the area look whole on the outside and to reinforce the weak area. This repair is generally frowned upon nowadays because it requires the removal of original wood and compromises the aesthetics of the maker. There’s also a question of whether that repair really solves the problem permanently. 

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11 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

The cost varies from shop to shop, depending on how it’s repaired. If a button reinforcement is done by putting a patch in, the cost will likely be somewhere between $600 and $1000. If a clavette is put in instead, it might be a bit less. If the violin is important to you, it’s worth the investment. 

 

The broken button shows that the neck broke out at some time and tore the button off with it. It’s been repaired, but you can’t know how well it was done without looking inside. If it was simply glued back together (hopefully with hide glue), you have no way of trusting it to last. The button is crucial to the neck joint, so any compromises to the strength of the area are dangerous. This is why shops turn good violins away when they see broken buttons and it’s why the value goes down drastically when they’re discovered.

A violin that’s had a proper repair for this problem ought to last indefinitely, but the knowledge that the damage occurred still detracts from market value. The silver lining is that once repaired, these instruments can sound just as good but be more affordable for players, making them “players’ instruments” but not necessarily “collectors’ instruments.”

To me it appears that there’s a cheek graft. Most likely the pegbox suffered some bad cracks and the repairman grafted wood to make the area look whole on the outside and to reinforce the weak area. This repair is generally frowned upon nowadays because it requires the removal of original wood and compromises the aesthetics of the maker. There’s also a question of whether that repair really solves the problem permanently. 

Thank you very much for the information, I’m sure my students cello is fine, because she bought it from the most honest man I know. I did not know that it damages the value of the instrument, but the cost was so low it probably took that into account.

To me the violin looks very nice, Would the broken button and the cheek graft dissuade you from buying it?

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14 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

To me the violin looks very nice, Would the broken button and the cheek graft dissuade you from buying it?

It would depend on the price. If you could get it at a low enough price it might be worthwhile.  I like the challenge of a good restoration project but the shop probably wouldn’t be willing to invest. It would be a tough sell. 

I may be mistaken, but it doesn’t appear to me to have its original varnish. If that’s the case, all these issues together would make me want to avoid it.

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10 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

It would depend on the price. If you could get it at a low enough price it might be worthwhile.  I like the challenge of a good restoration project but the shop probably wouldn’t be willing to invest. It would be a tough sell. 

I may be mistaken, but it doesn’t appear to me to have its original varnish. If that’s the case, all these issues together would make me want to avoid it.

PhillipKT, there are actually grafted cheeks on both sides. I payed $750 for it, which I’ll feel satisfied with if the button repair is stable. I’m not so keen on the idea of sinking a thousand more into it right of the bat, but I may suck it up and do eventually if needed. I should add, I’m not not a collector, but a violin student that started at age 29 and still has miles to go before I can justify having nice things! My grandfather used a mittenwald violin for most of his career so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot(more of a serious emotional weakness) for them. This one was supposedly owned by a violinist who lived in Chicago at the same time as my grandfather, so I like to think they could have played together at some point. Definitely a stretch, but I’m sappy like that. ;) 

The Violin Beautiful, thank you for all of your valuable commentary. I’m glad to know the potential pitfalls of this particular violin a bit in advance! It will certainly soften the blow a bit should the repairs end up costing more then the instrument when I take it to the luthier ;) 

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1 hour ago, lilandfinn said:

The Violin Beautiful, thank you for all of your valuable commentary. I’m glad to know the potential pitfalls of this particular violin a bit in advance! It will certainly soften the blow a bit should the repairs end up costing more then the instrument when I take it to the luthier ;) 

You’re welcome. Whenever I have customers that are in a similar situation, I like to put it this way: if you’re looking to cash in on this violin as an investment, it’s unlikely to make you any money. But if you’re looking for an instrument to play and enjoy for a long time and don’t intend to sell it, it has the potential to be a fine companion. 

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7 hours ago, lilandfinn said:

PhillipKT, there are actually grafted cheeks on both sides. I payed $750 for it, which I’ll feel satisfied with if the button repair is stable. I’m not so keen on the idea of sinking a thousand more into it right of the bat, but I may suck it up and do eventually if needed. I should add, I’m not not a collector, but a violin student that started at age 29 and still has miles to go before I can justify having nice things! My grandfather used a mittenwald violin for most of his career so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot(more of a serious emotional weakness) for them. This one was supposedly owned by a violinist who lived in Chicago at the same time as my grandfather, so I like to think they could have played together at some point. Definitely a stretch, but I’m sappy like that. ;) 

The Violin Beautiful, thank you for all of your valuable commentary. I’m glad to know the potential pitfalls of this particular violin a bit in advance! It will certainly soften the blow a bit should the repairs end up costing more then the instrument when I take it to the luthier ;) 

I think it is a nice violin, the wood looks good to me, and frankly, it doesn’t look as if it needs to much work. I think even if you spend maximum dollars getting it fixed, you would still be money ahead.

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On 12/24/2018 at 5:52 PM, PhilipKT said:

PS what kind of bow do you have?

if you’re in Chicago there’s lots of violin shops that offer quality advice.

stay warm!

Thanks for the good advice! I’ve got cheap carbon fiber now off of amazon that I’ve been using. If you’ve got any recommendations on a good student now, please let me know :) I don’t believe the violin in question has a bow with it but I won’t know for sure til it arrives, hopefully next week! 

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26 minutes ago, lilandfinn said:

Thanks for the good advice! I’ve got cheap carbon fiber now off of amazon that I’ve been using. If you’ve got any recommendations on a good student now, please let me know :) I don’t believe the violin in question has a bow with it but I won’t know for sure til it arrives, hopefully next week! 

You should post a general question about bows, I’m no expert.

but what I constantly tell people is that pernambuco is an endangered species, and older bows, even factory bows, frequently had good wood because so much was available, and master makers could be as picky as they chose.

look for older factory names and you can find some quite nice bows for a good value.

I have a very nice silver Ernst Kreusler bow, a nice factory German bow made-I think- 80+ years ago. It cost about $300 at auction, and would retail for maybe twice that. Great bow for the money.

the experts here can recommend many such names, and you can get a nice bow without blowing the bankroll.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

You should post a general question about bows, I’m no expert.

but what I constantly tell people is that pernambuco is an endangered species, and older bows, even factory bows, frequently had good wood because so much was available, and master makers could be as picky as they chose.

look for older factory names and you can find some quite nice bows for a good value.

I have a very nice silver Ernst Kreusler bow, a nice factory German bow made-I think- 80+ years ago. It cost about $300 at auction, and would retail for maybe twice that. Great bow for the money.

the experts here can recommend many such names, and you can get a nice bow without blowing the bankroll.

Wonderful! That sounds like a fun project next after I get the violin up and running. :) 

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