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Robb

Repair question- button repair/neck graft

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I decided to work on a  violin I have had for  a while. My assessment is that is needs a button graft and neck graft or a button graft and attempt to repair and use the old neck avoiding a neck graft. The previous repair is solid but poor in the way it looks(poorly glued broken button and  a dowel was inserted into the heel of the neck) as well as having too steep an angle resulting in a height of 35 mm at  the bridge instead of 27mm. Should I remove the top and remove the top block to save the neck and avoid a possible graft(which I have done grafts in the past on other instruments) and then repair the button or take off the back to repair the button after removing the neck and do a graft. Both the top and back have open seams and appear that they would be relatively easy to remove. This violin is usually a $8-9,000.00 violin retail in good playable condition and I think worth repairing. It also needs varnish retouching something I would let someone with more retouching experience handle. Your opinions the best way to proceed would be appreciated.

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Well, it looks like I see a dowel in the heel, so the question first is dowel or plug covering screw?

It is possible to probably salvage the neck, and with that damage to the button I think that the safest way to remove the neck is to chisel the block out and replace it. Using the karate chop method of removing the neck will probably leave you with a big mess.

If the instrument were to be available for sale at the 8-9k price, I wouldn't want to see a plug in the heel of the neck! Depending on your skills, if it is just a dowel and you recarve the heel you could make it minimally visible.

If I wanted to offer it for top dollar, I would probably do a button reinforcement and a neck graft, but I don't have the violin in hand, so it is difficult to tell what is really going on.

Is it something like a Geminder Art Violin?

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Its an A W Kaufmann San Jose. Its my understanding his violins are generally good sounding and sell retail in the price range I mentioned base on the information I was able to get off the internet.  Regardless of the value I still plan to make the repairs.

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That is a nice looking fiddle. Almost bid on it myself, but the button, neck, and fingerboard looked like too much work. Was the peg box treble-side A-hole repaired, too?

 

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The  A peg hole looks ok to me I don't see any breaks or repairs. The vanish has crazing so it might looked cracked in a photo.

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I work on 2 of them. That's why it looks familiar. 

It is worth the graft, although a second look makes me wonder if the scroll goes with the body.

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In person the varnish matches the rest of the instrument well and has the same crazing. Not sure about the style but definitely not a commercial  scroll.

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5 hours ago, Robb said:

 

My assessment is that is needs a button graft

 

 

 

Since the violin has it’s button, there is no need to graft on a new one, just clean the dirt out of the break and re-glue, then perhaps patch from behind. The violin would not be so expensive here.

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I would look for Mittenwald features, like one piece lower rib with a notch, assymetrical corner blocks with morticed C bout linings etc., because in my eyer it looks like a Mittenwald Verleger from the early 20th century, possibly exported in the white and finished/varnished by a Mr. Kaufmann.

So it's neceassary to take it into bits I would rather remove the bottom, remove block and neck as a whole (lifting the belly in this area). The broken button could repaired  and patched invisible now like it was described several times before with a partial cast and an inlaid patch. Once the neck root is separated from the block the dowel can be cut off and the neck used as it is then, or one could graft on an uncompromised neck for aesthetical reason, a personal decision. In my eyes there is clearly a crack at the A peg hole which needs service, too.

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I agree with Duane about carving out the block. Whether it's a dowel or screw, trying to remove the neck any other way could make a mess. Since I do a lot of other woodworking, I have a small, hand held metal detector (multifunction stud finder) that I use to look for small bits of metal or hidden fasteners. Something like that could come in handy here, to determine screw or dowel.

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The features that you mentioned Blank face are not there . The rib  is two piece with the flames slanting in different directions at the joint. There is no Mittenwald notch. The linings run continuous over the corner blocks on the outside of them. All the photos I have seen look fairly similar to the violin I have. I know that doesn't mean he didn't buy the violin in the white somewhere but he is fairly consistent. There was a discussion on another violin blog about these violins and I believe Michael Darton commented on them favorably about the sound and the unusual label that maker uses. Mine has the picture label and he inscribed his name on the back. I  find it interesting the discussion regarding several American makers buying violins in the white and finishing them very interesting. Would be good if we could clarify this more and how  it impacts the value.It appears that older violins by some American makers have definitely gone up in price. I appreciate all the comments.

 

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Should you wish a conversation about where the violin might have been made, it would be helpful to take (or have someone else take) better pictures, since yours are a bit out of focus, and turn into dots when enlarged. I had a good squint, perhaps I need new glasses. Also re. the work, does the dowel (which I can hardly see) stick out of the inside of the top block, or is it just a cap covering up a wood screw. Also the neck at the top nut position looks fairly narrow, how many mm is it there?

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35 minutes ago, Robb said:

The features that you mentioned Blank face are not there . The rib  is two piece with the flames slanting in different directions at the joint. There is no Mittenwald notch. The linings run continuous over the corner blocks on the outside of them.

So it's not made from a Verleger box, sounds more like an inside mould construction. It was mostly the shape of the scroll reminding me of Mittenwald, but this could be made as a sort of copy, too.

It's not unusual in Europe, too, that violinmakers used prefabricated parts or boxes, either from Markneukirchen, Mittenwald or Mirecourt, during the late 19th/first half of 20th century period. Can't tell more about the OP, because this maker is comoletely unknown to me.

Reg. the repair, I think that most agree that the upper block should be separated carefully from the neck. I personally would prefer it to do the way I described; if you are deciding to make a complete new neck, it won't be necessary to chisel it out, but just cut the pegbox from the neck after removing both neck and block carefully as a unit from plate and ribs.

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2 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Also the neck at the top nut position looks fairly narrow

Agree, with a strange "step", this would be another argument for a new neck.

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Jacob the top nut area is 24mm. There is a small hole on the inside of the block but I can't be sure if it is a screw tip or not. I'm sure I can figure more out when I disassemble it in the net day or so when I have more time.

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I will take better pictures I rushed those because I was mostly interested in the repair process. I would like opinions on the violin origins and will post when I disassemble so I can also show the interior work as well as better exterior shots.Thanks

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46 minutes ago, Robb said:

Jacob the top nut area is 24mm. There is a small hole on the inside of the block but I can't be sure if it is a screw tip or not. I'm sure I can figure more out when I disassemble it in the net day or so when I have more time.

An optical illusion then, must be a wide peg box. It will be interesting to see the new pics, also with the inside work (and label in this case!). Don't let anyone hurry you

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This is the most massive button I've ever seen at a violin.:P Maybe it wasn't completely off and cleaning/reglueing would be enough here. The little added piece at the upper right side seems to be original-

Now it looks different, nothing like I would recognize as a "white box", and probably the A peghole isn't cracked as you suggested, too.

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Jacob, I don't disagree but one is advertised at Frank's Violinos  in South America for $8000.00 if I calculated the exchange rate correctly. Also according to one individual on Violinist.com they purchased one from Ifshin Violins in 2017 for $9000.00.  I would assume it was in top condition. I have no idea why people have some violins by this maker priced at this level other than he has a reputation for good sound(I know violins aren't priced based on sound). There are a number of older American violins  by what are considered good makers selling or advertised in the $7-10,000.00 range or more that not too many years ago would have been much less. So how does one price antique violins ? I know this has been discussed many times before. Reputation ,workmanship, rarity,not sound, someone considered an expert says it's good,etc.

Edited by Robb
Incorrect spelling

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Regarding value how would this be impacted if this violin or any similarly valued violin(I understand there are different opinions on the value of this violin) is properly repaired ?

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4 minutes ago, Robb said:

Regarding value how would this be impacted if this violin or any similarly valued violin(I understand there are different opinions on the value of this violin) is properly repaired ?

It will be worth more than it is now.

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