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squelch21

Smoothing belly damaged by ill fitting bridge

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Photo attached.

I suspect that the damage to the belly here was done by a poorly fitting or leaning bridge. I want to smooth this area out to get good bridge contact, but sanding it down to flat and revarnishing seems extreme. Is there an accepted way to fill this in?

37FDE04D-BF38-4B7E-931D-E637C400925D.jpeg

Edited by squelch21

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The problem is that there is no varnish which hardens quick enough to function as a solid filler.

Besides I am not sure if this came from an ill fitted bridge. A well fitted bridge can lean over and cause exactly the same damage. 

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Looks just like torn out varnish to me, sticking to the bridge feet.. the bridge seems to have had at least different 3 positions in a range of 2cm?

I would not go against Jacobs advice, ... but i did sand and shellac such spots on my own violins :rolleyes:

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As Andreas already implied, there is no re-touching varnish known to man, that will not, in the medium term, stick to the new bridge feet. Herron-Allen (from memory, please don’t ask me to search for a page reference) actually recomends scraping the varnish off from the area beneath the bridge feet, which I find extreem, however you will hardly find an 18th C or earlier violin with original varnish under the bridge feet. Best workshop practice is to do nothing rather than make things worse.

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I wouldn’t sand it. Clean out any dirt and sea with clear varnish, then touchup if desired. 

This is not as simple a task as it sounds, and it might be better left alone, especially if the wood isn’t exposed. Take it to a luthier you trust for an evaluation. 

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In case a touch up is necessary in the bridge region I'm usually putting a thin foil under the bridge feet and leave it there for a while, the best some months or even longer if possible.Here I would leave it as is, such microscopic gaps won't do no harm as long as the feet have otherwise a good fit.

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19 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

The problem is that there is no varnish which hardens quick enough to function as a solid filler.

Besides I am not sure if this came from an ill fitted bridge. A well fitted bridge can lean over and cause exactly the same damage. 

solar rez....but still Jacob is right, leave it, it's character 

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15 hours ago, Blank face said:

In case a touch up is necessary in the bridge region I'm usually putting a thin foil under the bridge feet and leave it there for a while, the best some months or even longer if possible.Here I would leave it as is, such microscopic gaps won't do no harm as long as the feet have otherwise a good fit.

We say we are getting a perfect fit and make the feet look like they fit but on most old instruments there must be gaps underneath. I go for an even distribution of pressure over the contact surface but have wondered if the roughness of the top modifies sound some what and if not why not.

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