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Crack assessment?


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Hello!  I guess this post is mostly an attempt to assuage some fears as I’m currently traveling for work and won’t be able to see my luthier for at least a week.  
 

I recently noticed these “cracks” in the top of my instrument by the treble foot of the bridge, but on the right side (towards the bass side of the instrument), so not really near the sound post.  They appear to be running flush along the divets in the wood grain.  
 
I had a luthier here look at it who said it just looks like splitting of grain filler due to wood shrinking, but these look like actual cracks in the table to me.  Are these anything to be worried about?

 

 

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As I look on the top, the dark grain lines appear to be filled with something (filler or dark varnish) as there are areas that also show bare thin dark grain lines just left of the foot and the two offending lines appear to be among the thickest of the well-filled ones so some cracking or peeling of the filler from wood may be there. The reflections may make the cracks appear deeper than they really are but the shrinking filler can also pull some wood fibers with it...

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1 minute ago, FiddleDoug said:

Please take a better picture, with really good lighting, that shows more than one square inch. Since it's on the bass side, it would be a bass bar crack, not a sound post crack.

No, he said its on the bass side of the treble bridge foot and yes it is still technically a soundpost crack, quite possibly caused by a soundpost fit to far in from the outer edge of the bridge foot

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

Look at how much fill is in the other grain lines. There is a lot.

In the area of concern, it looks to me like some of the fill has shrunk or fallen out from between the grain, perhaps from vibration and stress in that area?

WTF?? There is no "fill". its called winter growth, it is harder and darker than the lighter summer growth, and if anything the winter growth is higher than the surrounding wood so it wouldn't need to be filled in for any reason.

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There seems to be a third 'crack' visible particularly in the lower photo.  I would bet one of Doug's embarrassed 'Oops' on cracks.  I'd also bet that the outside crack formed first, then when some of the stress was relieved the crack stopped growing and the stress was transferred to the next grain over.  I would also guess that the very end of the bridge foot is slightly mis-fit so exerted little pressure until the outside crack formed.  The third is shorter because there's never any direct pressure on it by the foot of the bridge.  Or - I could be entirely wrong.  It's a good story though, he says hopefully.

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3 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

WTF?? There is no "fill". its called winter growth, it is harder and darker than the lighter summer growth, and if anything the winter growth is higher than the surrounding wood so it wouldn't need to be filled in for any reason.

 No. When the plate is scraped the winter grain is cut clean while the softer grain compresses and then swells up leaving the hard grain lower than the soft grain.
 

As to what is shown in the photos I think these are real cracks either from some stress or from a previous  defect in the wood.

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1 hour ago, nathan slobodkin said:

 No. When the plate is scraped the winter grain is cut clean while the softer grain compresses and then swells up leaving the hard grain lower than the soft grain.
 

As to what is shown in the photos I think these are real cracks either from some stress or from a previous  defect in the wood.

Maybe is you are going to wet the wood, in either case there is no scenario where the winter grain will be depressed enough that it needs to be filled in with filler, although the varnish would fill any depressions, but the OP is clearly showing cracks, not depressions

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8 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

Are we to understand that these pix are north of the bridge? I've never seen a post crack that was only there, and generally this side of the bridge is under compression from the bridge, not from the post, from inside.

Nothing south of the bridge? Not a post crack.

 

They are only north of the bridge (currently).  I'll try and get some better lit photos, although it's a bit hard in this hotel room at the moment, hahah...  The post is currently not too far in and was not fit overly tightly so I don't think it's a result of that.  I sent these photos to my luthier back home who expressed that, although difficult to really tell what's going on without seeing it up close, he also suspects it's a result of fill that has shrunken or fallen out.  Unfortunately I guess I won't know for sure for another few days.    

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It’s hard to say definitively whether these are cracks or deep scratches. Since one comes right off the corner of a bridge foot, it makes me wonder whether the bridge might have gotten dragged on the top (like being set back up under tension after slipping or being put in at an angle next to a string lifter) and the corner scored the wood. 

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4 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

It’s hard to say definitively whether these are cracks or deep scratches. Since one comes right off the corner of a bridge foot, it makes me wonder whether the bridge might have gotten dragged on the top (like being set back up under tension after slipping or being put in at an angle next to a string lifter) and the corner scored the wood. 

Could be, but it seems an unlikely coincidence that such scoring would occur right along the winter wood.

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