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#1 matthew tucker

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:46 PM

This violin has a badly collapsed neck block section. You can see how much the ribs are warped. It is impossible to just clamp this back into position, so I have removed the back. The violin is handmade but has at some point been reglued with PVA or worse.

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The neck block is still well glued to the front, but the forward tilt of the neck block has popped the bassbar inside.

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My instinct now is to remove the neck and block, straighten the ribs, replace block, and reset the neck.

I have not worked on something so small before, and unlike double basses, it appears there are rules to be followed :-)

Your guidance is appreciated.

all the other pictures are here:

http://www.flickr.co...57613745951286/
... double basses mostly

#2 COB3

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:27 PM

From what you are showing, there, Matthew, I really doubt such harsh measures are necessary.

I would reglue and clamp the bassbar, with the neck and block pulled back to the normal location.

Maybe dampen the top plate a little from the inside, to help relax it, as the moisture workes through the plate a little-- but that may not be a good idea.

I would clean up the back plate, and the edges of the garland where it will mate to the back, then glue that baby back together, with the neck at its correct angle. I really doubt it will fail again. Looks like it could be a nice fiddle, to me.

Chet
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#3 COB3

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 01:43 AM

Notice that the collapse apparently had begun earlier, and someone wedged the fingerboard to get the projection up a little higher. If you repair it properly, I suppose it may be high enough you'd want your wedge back out. Just one more thing, hmm? It does look quite repairable, though, and a good learning experience.

Chet
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#4 welshman

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 09:46 AM

Hi,
It looks like the neck block/rib/table joints are all ok, I would resist taking the ribs and neck off to reglue but I would look for gaps in the ribs to block joints and make sure they are cleaned out and reglued if their is any gaps behind them, removing the neck from the mortice is major surgery and doesn't look needed unless you want to correct the neck overstand and angle that I assume is what the shim is for. Remove all the old glue and replace the pin, I suspect that the ribs will straighten out after the neck and block are realigned to the button, you may have to loosen the ribs from the table to help, based on what i see I would look for bad glue elsewhere in the rib structure. I like the idea of misting the inside and letting the table relax before reglueing the bassbar, cleaning out the old glue might accomplish this too.
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#5 troutabout

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 11:32 AM

That shot of the neck block looks like the block may be broken 1/3 of the way across. I'd check that and glue it tight if it is or there'll be more trouble later.

#6 FiddleDoug

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:01 PM

One of the real keys to this will be to see what the neck angle is before you glue it. Re-glue the bass bar first, and then, after cleaning up all the old glue from the ribs and back, clamp everything back together. If the neck angle isn't correct, you should probably do a full neck reset. With the back removed, it would be very difficult to remove the neck from the existing block, so you will probably have to replace the block as well, before doing the neck reset.

#7 matthew tucker

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 05:35 PM

Chet, I followed your advice, and wet the insides of the fiddle, and clamped to a flat board overnight with a slight overbend and with a cork block under the fingerboard. This morning the neck angle is much better, holds in position, but I have a few adustments to make with the upper bout ribs as they are now a bit more squat.

I went to clean out the bassbar where it has come away and discovered that that, too, has been glued with PVA. Now, I could just glue down the 3" free end, or I could remove the whole bar and start again. probably regret it if I don't start over again. decisions decision ...

And should I remove that FB wedge, or just clean it up and reset the neck angle with edge in place. decisions decision.

And I wonder if the main belly centerjoint has been done with PVA? :)

The neck block area is sound, by the way, apart from being glued with PVA. Is that a tautology?
... double basses mostly

#8 matthew tucker

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 06:04 PM

As I send the tops of the blocks flat, I am met with the tell-tale odour of araldite. And I thought the PVA was bad enough. sigh ...

Welcome to the world of student violin repair, I hear you all chime ...
... double basses mostly

#9 GMM22

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 06:04 PM

Off topic, but then perhaps not with the peculiar thread title. Someone very recently drew my attention to this remarkable video.

http://www.youtube.c...k...;emb=0&aq=f
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. AE

#10 Janito

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 06:15 PM

There are some who believe in reincarnation...any indication here?

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#11 matthew tucker

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 06:45 PM

I'd like to see an elephant making a violin. THAT would be impressive.

(BTW, centre seam repaired badly with araldite too)
... double basses mostly

#12 COB3

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 08:05 PM

Wow! you really have bitten into a wormy one, haven't you? :-) Steady on, Matthew!

By the time you have finished this, you will have mastered many things usually left to more experienced hands.

BTW, what is "araldite"?
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#13 GMM22

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 08:59 PM

You're a hard man to impress Matt. I am already convinced that had nature equipped him with two dextrous extremities, he might well be able to fashion a violin. Nonetheless, at least he can paint one for you.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. AE

#14 matthew tucker

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:33 PM

"Araldite" is epoxy.

I'm a film editor by trade. I am naturally suspicious of any video I see where there are "cuts" just where the action starts to happen. Particularly on Youtube. I'm not saying elephants can't paint, but they can't make violins. Double basses, perhaps, but not violins.
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#15 GMM22

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:57 PM

One need only review any modern Hollywood movie to know that technology exists to render just about any visual impression, however, I am positive that in this case, it is exactly as it appears. There are several such videos, and I think cuts in one or two are merely to speed up the presentation and keep the viewer interested, as they work very slowly. From all such videos taken as a whole, sufficient evidence reveals that they are bona fide painters.

But I have to agree with your analysis of their potential limits for making instruments. In fact, I am now inclined to think they would rather make Vuillaume's Octobass before anything else.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. AE

#16 matthew tucker

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:10 AM

... sufficient evidence reveals that they are bona fide painters.


OK. :)

Meanwhile, for next time, is there a better way to clamp a bass bar with the back off?

Posted Image
... double basses mostly

#17 GMM22

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:58 AM

Perhaps I lost you with my combination irony and sarcasm, blended with a dash of truth and humour.

The screw heads may have a propensity to slide off the bar, and/or make unnecessary marks. In this and similar gluing cases (not always involving a bass bar ) scrap wood pieces with grooves can act as buffers preventing any possible denting while facilitating a more stable coupling and force direction that is les prone to shifting.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. AE

#18 matthew tucker

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 02:52 AM

Perhaps I lost you with my combination irony and sarcasm, blended with a dash of truth and humour.


You lost only my interest. Youtube is full of remarkable videos of bona fide talent. Perhaps I chose the wrong smiley to expound my reaction.

I'm still wondering if there a better way to clamp a bass bar with the back off. But let me rephrase that. What is the accepted method of clamping a violin bass bar with the back off?
... double basses mostly

#19 Alan_Coggins

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:21 AM

I'm still wondering if there a better way to clamp a bass bar with the back off. But let me rephrase that. What is the accepted method of clamping a violin bass bar with the back off?


I've never had to do it. In fact next week I have to take the top off a violin to sort out an unstuck bass bar and it's the first time I've come across it happening. It's really not that common.

Matthew... you mentioned it was a hand-made instrument. Any idea of the maker?

#20 matthew tucker

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:50 AM

Matthew... you mentioned it was a hand-made instrument. Any idea of the maker?


I'm still trying to ascertain if it's one by Ian Ament, or something else. There is no label or maker's mark. I'm in touch with Ian, and he has seen the pics, and said it could be one of his (he's made about 40 violins, and has a record of selling a violin to the owner at around the date claimed). He says, unsurprisingly, that he has only ever used hide glue. But I haven't found a trace of hide glue in this instrument yet ... so either it has been "fixed" by an epoxy and PVA junkie, or had home-made repairs. I think the top is glued with epoxy, too. The gluing surface of the button is damaged and I am doing a scarfed edge repair.

I suspect many would just toss it. I'm fixing it to overcome a fear of small stringed objects and because it means something to somebody.

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... double basses mostly




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