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jacklinks
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What is the estimated cost to repair a top soundpost crack including removal and reinstalling the top, cleating the length of the crack,’patching the soundpost area, and retouching the top where the crack was. Crack runs the entire length of the violin. 


Yes, I know a luthier will need to look at it, etc. etc. , but I am curious about a ballpark cost.

This is on an approx $4,000 Chinese violin, so not a high level instrument but not bad either. Just trying to decide if it is even worth trying to repair. Thanks. 

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3 hours ago, jacklinks said:

This is on an approx $4,000 Chinese violin, so not a high level instrument but not bad either. Just trying to decide if it is even worth trying to repair. Thanks. 

As has been mentioned, depends on the ability and rates of the person doing the repair... but:

I would guess you'll find a proper and cosmetically successful repair a full length top crack and inlaid patch is more expensive than you might expect at most good shops.. and after the repair you'll need to factor in the 20% to 25% depreciation in value this kind of repaired damage warrants.

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If this is a modern Chinese instrument and you know where it was made, why not contact the manufacturer and inquire about having a new top made? Because of the factory set up they have, the dimensions are probably consistent enough that they could Set a top pretty easily, the varnish would be basically the same, and you would have a 100% instrument instead of one with a full length sound post to crack, however well repaired.

I have a colleague who owns a cello made by the guy who made mine, and in a freak accident the top of the instrument was badly damaged, and the maker just made another top for it. Same workmanship, same varnish, even the same wood, because the top is from the same tree.

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20 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

If this is a modern Chinese instrument and you know where it was made, why not contact the manufacturer and inquire about having a new top made? Because of the factory set up they have, the dimensions are probably consistent enough that they could Set a top pretty easily, the varnish would be basically the same, and you would have a 100% instrument instead of one with a full length sound post to crack, however well repaired.

I have a colleague who owns a cello made by the guy who made mine, and in a freak accident the top of the instrument was badly damaged, and the maker just made another top for it. Same workmanship, same varnish, even the same wood, because the top is from the same tree.

Bear in mind; whenever I tell somebody to put anything in the dustbin, everybody and their brother ascends the barricades

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34 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Bear in mind; whenever I tell somebody to put anything in the dustbin, everybody and their brother ascends the barricades

Sure but think about it, if you spend $1500 repairing the top on a $4000 violin you end up with a total that is worth far less Then the 5500 total you have spent, and probably won’t sound as good either.

But if you spend 1500 or so getting a new top put on, by the same manufacturer that made the violin in the first place, you once more have a $4000 violin that sounds and looks at it should.

If the alternative is to chuck it(werf‘s weg) And spend another $4000, it’s at least worth looking into that alternative. Certainly my colleague with a fine Caron cello Is quite happy to have another undamaged top on his.

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59 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

If this is a modern Chinese instrument and you know where it was made, why not contact the manufacturer and inquire about having a new top made? Because of the factory set up they have, the dimensions are probably consistent enough that they could Set a top pretty easily, the varnish would be basically the same, and you would have a 100% instrument instead of one with a full length sound post to crack, however well repaired.

I have a colleague who owns a cello made by the guy who made mine, and in a freak accident the top of the instrument was badly damaged, and the maker just made another top for it. Same workmanship, same varnish, even the same wood, because the top is from the same tree.

I have had to make new tops for several of my cellos and by the time it is varnished and set up it is at least  1/2 the work of making a whole instrument. As some one once said "every repair is easy as pie" so don't forget to multiply your estimate by 3.14.

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23 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I have had to make new tops for several of my cellos and by the time it is varnished and set up it is at least  1/2 the work of making a whole instrument. As some one once said "every repair is easy as pie" so don't forget to multiply your estimate by 3.14.

I never suggested it was cheap, I only suggested that the replacement cost might the same as repair cost, and the result might be worth it. The player gets a perfect condition cello from the maker, which means it’s not a hybrid instrument, Because the same hand made the original as well as the replacement, and they got it for less than the cost of a new instrument( Plus there’s a good chance that their insurance paid for it.)

Also, as an elite maker, you are in a different position because you are an artist working by yourself, and this instrument presumably was created in a factory setting, so the cost would probably be less.

It’s just a thought. Certainly, if I Had a full length soundpost crack on my top I would durn sure I have the maker make me another top and hope he finished it before God called him home.

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53 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Sure but think about it, if you spend $1500 repairing the top on a $4000 violin you end up with a total that is worth far less Then the 5500 total you have spent, and probably won’t sound as good either.

But if you spend 1500 or so getting a new top put on, by the same manufacturer that made the violin in the first place, you once more have a $4000 violin that sounds and looks at it should.

If the alternative is to chuck it(werf‘s weg) And spend another $4000, it’s at least worth looking into that alternative. Certainly my colleague with a fine Caron cello Is quite happy to have another undamaged top on his.

Phillip, I think you make a good point, in concept.  I just don't think it would hold out $ in this case.   The cost of the top (part from supplier, not the finished job) plus the "regain" of devaluation is put against the cost of the SP patch with devaluation.  If I was able to get the top from the workshop, it still has to be installed (hopefully fitting the outline well, 3.14...) and touching up the varnish.  Then, making a new bridge and saddle.  If the total of all that comes to less than a SP, then I agree with you. I"m thinking that it wouldn't.  In the case of a nice handmade instrument by Nathan, or the maker of your cello, it makes much more sense to me.  

As to whether or not to repair..... I look at decisions  differently than some.  The damage devaluation is already there, the original devalue is already there from new, to used.  I look at how much is the instrument worth, now, broken.  Broken, new chinese $4k fiddle is worth.....maybe, $500 at the most.  All decisions are made from that point, not having anything to do with what he has into it.  If we state that it's worth $500 (I think that's generous, from a dealers view) and add $1500 for the repair (pretty much where I am at), then you have your fiddle back for $2k.  Could you buy a fiddle you like better for that $2K, or $2.5K (with generous trade in)?  My guess is no, or they never would have bought it in the first place.  Just how I look at it.

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Bear in mind; whenever I tell somebody to put anything in the dustbin, everybody and their brother ascends the barricades

Just a general aside.... if the choice is repair or dustbin, there are many who would relieve you of the psychic burden of the dustbin.... might even pay shipping...

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10 minutes ago, Mystic said:

Just a general aside.... if the choice is repair or dustbin, there are many who would relieve you of the psychic burden of the dustbin.... might even pay shipping...

I think what Jacob meant was he has been fighting off people from HIS dustbin!!:D

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1 minute ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Beare's shop told me they budget 10hrs labor for a soundpost patch, at $100/hr, that's only $1000, Ive hear prices of $2500 for a patch, is that $250/hr?

 

1 minute ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Beare's shop told me they budget 10hrs labor for a soundpost patch, at $100/hr, that's only $1000, Ive hear prices of $2500 for a patch, is that $250/hr?

Thanks for posting that, it's nice to see.  I have an old photo copy of their hours/job I got from someone years ago, but not sure what each job includes (ala carte etc)That might be ala Carte.  I do pricing this way since most of the time I do a SP patch, there is other work. Maybe not though.

     I'm not at the shop, but I THINK I book:

3-5 hrs for the belly on/off, including retouch, unforseen usual problems in ending with a neat job, etc.

3 hrs for cast

4 hrs for patch 

That's pretty much in line with Beares.   I wouldn't be doing touchup work within that estimate though.   We don't know if Beares would be charging a little more for cleating if the crack rang long, as opposed to a slight short crack enveloped within the patch.   I like that Beares bases all on hours rather than (subsequent) dollars.  Makes it more "apples to apples" in discussing jobs between restorers taking out the "location/financial" part. FWIW, I would estimate to a customer around 15 hrs for this job, with retouch.

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1 minute ago, Wood Butcher said:

Did that include the cost of a new bridge and sound-post, or any tax?

Good point.  Shouldn't be any sales tax(bridge blank??), but you will definitely need a post.  The change on the bridge foot is usually so slight that I can recut it that amount.  

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There's a thread right now about location of pegs after bushing. Some of the members are lamenting that an amateur is working on a decent Saxon instrument.  But this is just the type of instrument that a shops would tell you "isnt worth it" after tallying up the repair costs. So someone decides to have a go at it themselves. This is the type of thing that's slipping through the cracks in today's economy.

Maybe I'm now way off topic.

 

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