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Hairline cracks at top of back and front plate near top block


BGS9004
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Hello hello, question please, have an instrument built in 2014, so relatively new, yet there is a tiny crack on the back plate that extends from the edge of the plate maybe 1/4 inch past the purfling (but not visible in pic, it's suuuuper fine hairline crack). I drew a line past the purfling to show about where it extends to. And on the front there are two tiny cracks starting to form, but do not extend past the purfling. The instrument has not been subjected to any traumas or any extreme weather and was around $10K.

The crack on back plate has been the same for about a year now, hasn't gotten any larger. And just noticed the two in the front. 

Got some input from a couple knowledgeable folks on Tapatalk forum, and definitely made sense on what the issue could be - the top block is likely shrinking and pulling in the plates where the top block is glued to the plates. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this or can chime in with their input also, would appreciate it. 

Haven't had the chance to take it to where it was purchased from yet or the nearby luthier that it wasn't purchased from (that I kind of trust more), would like to be as informed as possible before maybe complaining to the dealer it was purchased from 3 years ago. Definitely plan on taking it to local luthier to look at once they are available.

I know much worse cracks form in worse places, they are repaired without issue oftentimes (with varying impact on dollar value of instrument) and the instrument sounds just fine, but this kind of seems ridiculous to me on an instrument for that price that is only 6 years old. Still thankful it's not a larger crack in a worse place, though!

Thanks for your time and input, much appreciated. 

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Edited by BGS9004
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5 hours ago, BGS9004 said:

Got some input from a couple knowledgeable folks on Tapatalk forum, and definitely made sense on what the issue could be - the top block is likely shrinking and pulling in the plates where the top block is glued to the plates. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this or can chime in with their input also, would appreciate it.

I've never heard of tapatalk instrument forum before. I would say what you have been told there is incorrect however.

Where you have the crack at the edge of the button, if indeed it is a crack, is nowhere near the ends of the neck block. The neck block is parallel, so at the button, there will easily be more than an inch on each side. Cracks around the button usually would be as a result of an impact. Do you ever leave the cello unattended, and laying on it's side?

If shrinkage does occur in the plates themselves, they can crack at the edges of the blocks, at the edge of the neck, either side of the saddle etc. When stress builds up it will either pop a seam, or start to crack the plate. When there is a large gluing surface, this area will not pop open.
What do you do to monitor and then regulate the humidity, in order to maintain it at the correct level?

With an antiqued instrument, some of the marks put in by the maker can be misleading. The ones in your pictures for example, look very dark and obvious, which would not really be the case for fresh hairline cracks, which would look rather stark white in comparison, or very hard to see. Do you have any photos of these areas from when you bought the cello?

 

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8 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I have no opinions on the cracks, although if the maker is still alive, why not just contact the maker?

Regardless of where he is in his status, I’m pretty confident every effort will be made to deal with the issue.

This is the best advice, and would seem to be the obvious thing to do, rather than have numerous people making guesses at what is going on from a few pictures. Most of whom will be entirely wrong, and causing large amounts of worry.

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Hey all thanks for your input. 

Hehe think I've past the large amount of worry stage, which was definitely at a few weeks ago before even asking folks, it doesn't seem to be a catastrophic issue / I probably didn't purchase a total lemon! My knowledge is limited on technical structural aspects of cello, collecting info here and then also getting in-person opinions will be helpful.

Re: bringing to the dealer that's also the maker - so a year ago when first noticed they told me the hairline crack on the back that extends past the purfling is not an issue. Which is why I want other opinions, maybe they just don't want to deal with it?

Re: cracking the plate due to plate shrinkage - do those cracks usually originate on the edge or can originate from within the plate first then make their way outward? Seems like these cracks could be the start of plate cracks considering the one on the back extends past the purfling, albeit it's stopped in its tracks / is verrrrrrrrrry thin.

Re: the cracks in front being a potential characteristic added from antiquing, they feel the same as the one in the back, can run finger over it lightly and feel that there is a crack that's more superficial than an effect or a crack in the varnish.

Re: leaving cello unattended on it's side (I assume you mean ribs?) - no I leave it unattended in one of those cello stand things. Leaving it like you mention puts stress that can cause cracks?

Re: temperature/humidity control, am in Northern CA, was told this isn't an issue so much. 

Did not take photos this closeup when purchased unfortunately, however for certain the crack in the back was not there. I'll try and get a better picture showing past the purfling.

Thanks again 

 

Edited by BGS9004
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14 hours ago, BGS9004 said:

So it is a possibility that some cracks are not worrisome and may just stay as small cracks without getting larger? Yes yes I will check in with the maker :)

Thanks again. No one so far has told me to sound the alarm, red alert, which is a good sign!

I would suggest you need to get this looked at promptly, and should contact the maker at your first opportunity.
Unattended cracks are only going to do one thing ultimately, and that is eventually get bigger. The neck block area on a cello is highly stressed.

I don’t think anyone is going to be able to answer your question without seeing the cello in person, photos are of limited use in this instance.

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On 12/13/2020 at 11:30 PM, BGS9004 said:

No one so far has told me to sound the alarm, red alert, which is a good sign!

The photos are not really clear enough to be sure if it is safe or not, so I don’t really think you can take away from this that it’s fine.
What most are saying is take it to the maker, and get him/her to look at it. Might also be worth a second opinion from an independent restoration specialist.

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