Many cracks need to be properly glued, and cleated on the inside.
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Here's an old German fiddle, about 100 years old. The inside of the top has been smoothed out, bass bar replaced, and bushings put into peg holes. This will also get a new fingerboard..
So, you’ve got this old fiddle that you found in the attic
What will it take to get it into nice playing condition? That will depend on what repairs and restorations need to be done. In the best cases, it might just need a good cleaning and some new strings. Old “attic” violins in this condition are a minority. Most will need at least some repairs and adjustment. Most commonly, I see instruments with some open glue joints, worn out pegs, cracks, worn finger boards, and poorly fitted bridges. In many cases, repairing cracks will require opening up the body. In some cases, the cost of the repairs can exceed the value of the instrument. In some cases, I can use slightly non-traditional repairs to “salvage” these instruments at a slightly lower cost.
Let’s take a look at some repairs.
Crack repair- This instrument had extensive cracks in the belly. Part of this was caused by extreme thinness in the lower part. This picture shows the cleating that was necessary to repair the cracks. The linen patches in the thin areas will prevent further cracking without excessively stiffening the area.
Pegbox bushing- This is a fairly common repair. As the pegs are used, there is some wear and enlargement of the holes. When it gets to the point where the holes are too large to fit new pegs, bushings are in order. Shown here are spiral bushings. These are very strong, and less intrusive than full bushings. These are also used to help repair some pegbox cracks.
Bass bar replacement. – Not commonly done, but in the picture shown, it was a necessary part of a crack repair right at the bass bar.
Bridge replacement- Necessary in the case of any neck angle change, or if the bridge gets broken. Neck angles can shift as instruments age, or be the result of repairs. Fingerboard replacement will also require a new bridge. Very inexpensive instruments are often not set up well, and may require bridge replacement or adjustment.
Here's an example of a repaired crack under the bass bar, which required replacement of the bass bar.
SOME OF THE SERVICES THAT I CAN PROVIDE ARE:
*Cleaning and polishing *Fingerboard planing and replacement
*String installation *Peg fitting and replacement
*Soundpost setting and replacement *Peg hole bushings
*Bridge adjustment and replacement *Internal repairs, including bassbar work
*Nut adjustment and replacement *Varnish touch-up
*Crack and seam repairs *Neck resetting
*Bow rehairing and minor repairs
I will work with you to determine how much work needs to be done to bring your instrument into playable condition and present you with an estimate for the work. My prices should be competitive to, or lower than many other shops.
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