Fiddle Repair

Fiddle Repair

My son was loaned a fiddle that he broke accidentally, causing the
neck (? correct name) to crack in half (the area just below where the pegs sit and where the strings are tightened. Is that repairable? I am thinking it is not.

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Where do you live Geri? I’ve seen some great instrument repairs in the past, you could have it looked at before you have to break the news to the owner…

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It could be fixed, unfortunately that would probably mean replacing the neck, which is fairly expensive. It is not something you can do yourself and, depending on how good the fiddle is, it may be more expensive than replacing the fiddle.

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Can be fixed with top quality marine 2 pack epoxy, if you can make it sit in exactly the same fit as before it was broken. Thin even coat on both sides and something clamplike to hold it til the glue dries.
I use West System Techniglue which cleans up with metho until it hardens, then it’s sandpaper.

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NEVER repair a break or crack in a fiddle with anything other than the animal-based glue that a luthier would use, and most certainly not epoxy resins or other artificial glues - including that white wood glue.
It is also very likely that the break will first need very careful and skilled carpentry to clean up the break and get the two parts to fit together without altering the length of the neck. And then there’s the revarnishing of the mended neck to be done - again a job for the skilled man.
The comments in the first paragraph applied to other stringed instruments including guitars. I remember my guitar teacher’s frustration, not to say hidden anger, when he was faced with re-repairing customers’ damaged guitars that they had so-say "repaired" themselves using epoxy resins. Such re-repairs generally necessitate cutting out the repaired wood and carefully gluing in a replacement section using the proper glue for the job.

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If it was the scroll that snapped that’s one thing. Scrolls are often repaired and rejoined to the neck, but it may cost more than the value of the instrument. If it’s the neck that broke off, depending on the nature of the break, that’s another matter, also expensive to have repaired.

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PLEASE DON’T use epoxy as recommended by mcknowall, who apparently knows next to nothing about wooden instrument repair.

Take the fiddle to a violin repair shop and ask for their advice.

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A look at mcknowall’s membership details and the link therein also confirmed my fears.

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Hi. Was it a valuable violin. If so you should take it to a repairer for advice and not do it yourself. You owe that to the owner.

If not and it is a clean break across the neck then its value is gone. If you wanted to make it continue to be playable it would still be valueless with such a break. Then you would go for the high powered glue and maybe a pin and someone would be still playing it years down the track.

I doubt animal glue would be sufficient for a break across the neck.

Hope its not a valuable instrument or the owner may want to bash you for this.

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Sounds like you have a cracked pegbox, which is a *very* expensive kind of thing to fix. Best thing, as others have said, is to take it to a luthier and get an assessment of what it would take to fix, and an estimate of what it would cost. Then take the estimate to the fiddle’s owner and let the owner decide what to do. It might not be worth fixing. If it’s insured, you can offer to pay the deductible, plus any other fees involved. If it’s not insured, you’ll have to offer to replace it. Best of luck. Maybe you’ll be fortunate and it will be a cheap fiddle anyway and won’t cost much to replace.

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ha ha, next time mcknowall offers any advice om anything, I’m gonna post a link to this thread

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Great site this but unfortunately you do get regular awful, damaging advice on various subjects. Bad musical advice only costs time and experience to repair but bad instrument advice can be very expensive.

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At least you’d be able to play the fiddle under water

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……….in fact, didn’t Handel write a piece just for that?

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Mcknowall is a professional antique restorer of 30 yrs standing. You lot are a bunch of fiddlers and musicians . No disrespect but perhaps you might consider your own qualifications regarding repairing wood before knocking anothers? Unless of course we have some undercover Luthiers or professional antique wood restorers?

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Antiques Roadshow:

Yes, what we have here is a fine example of an early Chippendale chair. Just look at the beautiful curves of the legs. A real work of art. Lovely. It’d be worth maybe £25,000 but for the unfortunate repair. Some eedjit glued it back together with the stuff you glue yachts togther with.

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The advice was simple. If it is a broken neck or any other broken piece of wood and you are able to house the break precisely as it was the techniglue specifically and epoxy generally is the only glue. Of course most people know if it is a broken glue joint then epoxy is most unsuitable and hide glue is best as it only requires a bit of heat and moisture to break in future. Different kettle of fish altogether.
Now kiddies, which fiddle repair can we use white (pva) glue on?

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I’ll be the first to take the cheap shot—-mcknowall works on bodhrans. Ha!

But it actually has relevance—-fiddles are not bodhrans, and are an entire world of complexity away in terms of construction. You NEVER go near a violin with epoxy. Especially if you’re not a professional luthier—-and mcknowall was advising the person to do a home fix! And then SAND the thing afterward! What was the person supposed to do about the varnish after that, eh?

Yup, I’m a fiddler of three years—-no qualifications in fixing violins whatsoever. But I know enough to go to a professional restorer if my violin has a problem—-especially a crack near/in the pegbox. I think that’s pretty good advice for anyone.

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The best advice you can give anyone on this website is to never ever take advice from this website.

Doh, now no one will take that advice.

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Yes you pompous little fart, that is exactly what a competent restorer would use for a repair on the cranky grain of a curved chair leg. Nothing else has the necessary strength. Again, for the joints on such a chair one would use a glue more sympathetic to the needs of future repairers.
Stick to what you know, like insulting people etc.

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Ionannas, funnily enough I play with a luthier and have done for years but you don’t have to be a luthier or even play a wooden instrument to know that you shouldn’t use epoxy on a fiddle. Bad advice is just bad advice.

To get back to the original post, it would be worth actually finding out the value of the instrument before getting it repaired. It may well be a cheap fiddle and cheaper to replace than repair. Never try a self repair on a decent instrument, you must send it to an expert.

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Do they have antiques in Australia?

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No, they’re all in Edinburgh

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Not true, llig. I came here when I was shopping for my first fiddle three years ago, and got some excellent advice—-some of it from you, as it happens. And it helped me find a very nice violin. So thanks!

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Fiiiiiiiiight!

(with no apologies to Harry Hill whatsoever)

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I was going to suggest splicing it with a nail gun but that lame attemp at sarcasim would probably start a bigger row :-(

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There is at least one member here whom I know who is a professional luthier and who occasionally posts (he hasn’t on this discussion). I’m sure there are others.

Like many string instrumentalists who have been playing a long time I have come into contact with knowledgeable instrument makers and repairers (one was my guitar teacher many years ago) and have picked up useful bits of information - one of which comes out loud and clear from everyone without exception: DON’T use epoxy/pva on a fiddle, cello, guitar etc. Animal glue does the job very well and has the advantage that it enables the instrument to be easily disassembled for repair without damaging the wood.

Another point to be considered is that the whole structure of a fiddle, from the pegbox to the cord that connects the tailpiece to the body of the instrument, vibrates when the instrument is played and is relevant to the tone production and quality of sound. All the components are interrelated acoustically. If a repair is made with epoxy, that may very well interfere with the transmission of sound vibrations. A simple test: while playing a fiddle or a classical guitar ask someone to grasp the pegbox tightly - the tone deadens noticeably.

As kennedy says, we’re not dealing with items of furniture but with one of the most complex acoustic constructions ever devised. You mess around with it at your peril.

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I feel I have to wade in here….

Expensive instrument - take it to a luthier, let him/her decide what glue is appropriate.

Cheap instrument - why not have a go yourself? If any of it has ‘come apart’ as in the neck or back or belly or whatever has come adrift, then use hide glue. BUT if the neck is BROKEN on a cheap instrument you’re going to need something stronger than hide glue, and if it was one piece of wood before and you can align the pieces correctly, why not use epoxy and, in effect, make it one piece of wood again?

Can I reiterate that these thoughts are for cheap instruments only - as others have said, take a good one to a luthier.

Hey, I never thought I’d find myself disagreeing with Will! :)

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We had a game of conkers one night, and in the struggle Chris’s banjo fell over and snapped just at the top of the neck.

Chris fixed it with epoxy and brought it along the next week.

It sounded bl**dy awful.

Just like it did before it got broken.

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I’m a professional violin restorer, and I have to say that in principle I agree with McKnowall. His only crime was to not ask the quality/value of the instrument.

Certainly if it is a good fiddle it needs to go to a professional luthier for either a graft or internal dowel. depending on the nature of the break, which will cost at least £300.

But if it is a £70 student instrument, no luthier will touch it, because to be economically viable the repair would have to take less than an hour, and no one wants their name linked to a bodge up. In that situation there is absolutely nothing to lose by trying the DIY approach.

If it is the peg box that is broken a simple glue job probably won’t hold, but if it is the neck it will.

As to the type of glue, you want the strongest bond possible. In this case a high quality epoxy (but definitely not the 5 minute stuff) is ideal for the job. The only reason we normally use hide glue for violin work is that it is reversible - i.e. our repair work can be undone at a later date if required. That isn’t an issue with a cheap violin, so go ahead, use epoxy.

As for a glued joint in the neck affecting the sound, I suppose in theory it might have a slight affect. But the majority of baroque violins have been modernised by having their original pegpox grafted onto a new neck - with a simple glue joint. I’ve never heard anyone complain that the glue joint has ruined the tone of their Strad or Amati!

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I’ve been a luthier too, making mandolins at the Flatiron shop 30 years ago. I’ve also done a wide range of violin repairs.

I don’t care what the monetary value of this fiddle is—it doesn’t belong to the original poster. It was on loan. No one should attempt an uninformed (or after reading this thread, and ill-informed) repair with epoxy on someone else’s fiddle without first telling the owner and getting permission to give it a toss.

A fiddle doesn’t have to be "valuable" to be an excellent sounding and playing instrument. And it’s sadly true that some luthiers won’t "waste their time" repairing a good fiddle simply because the cost of the repair exceeds the perceived value of the instrument.

In any case, none of this is for the fiddle *borrower* to decide. Give it back to the original owner and offer to pay for any reasonable repair or replacement.

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It’s typical of mcknowall and Ion to assume that absolutely no one else here has actual credentials and first-hand experience—that we’re all as dumb as mud. Not much civility in that.

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Will:
"And it’s sadly true that some luthiers won’t "waste their time" repairing a good fiddle simply because the cost of the repair exceeds the perceived value of the instrument."
I think you’ve missed the p[oint here. I, (and I think most luthiers) would be more than happy to perform a proper £300+ repair on a £70 fiddle, if the customer is willing to pay. But what we would not do is to do a quick, cheap bodge job on a cheap fiddle, because when people see it you then get a reputation as a bodger, and people stop bringing you good instruments for repair.

So if this is just a student instrument, what would be the point in spending £300+ on a repair, when you can buy a new replacement for £70 (and gain a spare case and bow)?

I do agree about the decision resting with the owner though. I think what I would do is try the epoxy job (or get someone who ‘does a bit of woodwork’ to do it), then show the owner the results and ask if it is acceptable. If not, buy them a replacement.

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"…try the epoxy job…"

I wouldn’t even presume to do that without first getting approval from the owner. It should be their decision alone.

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Skreech, what I’m getting at is the all-too common case of a luthier not understanding the value a player places on a favored fiddle, even if it’s a "cheap" instrument. I’ve seen shops hand off a repair job to an under-experienced apprentice because the fiddle is deemed unimportant, and then the repair ends up diminishing the qualities that made the fiddle valuable to the owner.

As Bob says, the decision is up to this fifdle’s owner, not the person who borrowed it.

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I think the original poster has been and gone to this discussion..

He/she did ask a simple question, not a debate on morality.

Or an depth analysis of different glues.

Why do simple questions on this site always end up getting so complicated??

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T

Welcome to The Session where all simple questions are endlessly debated.

Now back to the debate…

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Will, sentimental value doesn’t come into it. If someone breaks your £70 violin, you can’t expect them to pay £300 to get it fixed instead of £70 for a replacement.

If someone hits your £1,000 car and writes it off, you can’t expect them to pay £10,000 to get it fixed just because you love it a lot. You get the £1,000 it was worth and that’s it. The same with a violin.

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Skreech, we’re not actually in disagreement. I’m not saying the borrower should put more money in than the fiddle is worth. But the owner may want to and that’s their choice alone.

Bottom line: don’t loan your fiddle out to anyone unless you can afford (financially and emotionally) to replace it.

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I’ll go with that. :)

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Agreement is not permitted…. it will ruin the debate! Very clever, though.

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”I wouldn’t even presume to do that without first getting approval from the owner. It should be their decision alone.”

”In any case, none of this is for the fiddle *borrower* to decide. Give it back to the original owner and offer to pay for any reasonable repair or replacement.”


I agree absolutely. I dont think the OP was thinking that if he fixes it yer man might not notice the big break ! :-)

If its a joint that has broken then obviously hide glue is required. however if the wood its self has snapped then an invisible permanent repair can be achieved with epoxy combined with a surface coat of superglue and fine wood dust [ from the same area as the damage’ ]this sanded and carefully re-varnished and aged will be invisible to all bar the careful trained eye.

Is this job one for the home repairer ? probably not. can it be done? yes, best done by a pro.

Sure you could always drill a couple of holes lash some glue on it and stick some bolts through! that’ll fix it.:-)

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"surface coat of superglue and fine wood dust"

LOL, that’s just the sort of "repair" I’ve had to laboriously fix over the years that makes most luthiers want to superglue the DYIer’s hands to his buttocks.

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leoj, I agree that disagreement is not permitted. :-P

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erm, that *agreement* …..

D’oh!

(I’m not Homer Simpson, but I play him on this site….)

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Hot glue, of the hide variety, under pressure is forced down into the pre warmed wood and acts as double ended nails. The potential problem occurs where the thin layer between the two pieces is too thick, the ‘nails’ can then break and the joint becomes ineffective.

A fact i picked up recently .

Super glue and fine wood dust is a standard Luthiers trick I was taught by one of the finest Luthiers in Ireland.

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Epoxy and wood dust may be used to fill around fingerboard inlays, but in 30 years I’ve never met a luthier who would use this mix as a surface repair on any instrument. Goes beyond bizarre.

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Well even you haven’t seen it all eh will? so now you learn something new. Its not epoxy and dust, its superglue and dust. Im surprised its new to you will, being as how you’ve been at this so long and all… It produces an excellent finish.

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will, I won’t say I agree with you on all the points you make here but, and I’m really making a concession here, I won’t disagree with you either. Just want to clear about that.

If it’s your damn fiddle go on and encase the thing in epoxy for all i care.

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Right, and blue tack is good on your bridge, right?

Ion/jig/tradpiper, you’re spouting excellent advice here…assuming someone wants to ruin a fiddle.

Just to be clear, superglue is NOT a recommended musical instrument finish. Duh.

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Heh, some sites have a policy against offering medical advice. Maybe this one should have a policy against offering repair advice.

I can’t believe I stooped to the level of pointing out that superglue isn’t a musical instrument finish….

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Besides, such nonsense isn’t "new." I’ve seen it, had to deal with the mess it makes on otherwise fixable instruments. Ion misses the point yet again.

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What we need to get back to is making fiddles by the really traditional methods of the 17th and 18th centuries (Stradivari, Amati, Guarneri etc), using natural materials (sharkskin for rubbing down the wood is an example), mixing your own varnish, and making your own tools. That would sort out the men from the boys. There are still some craftsmen today who use these old methods when they are making a facsimile of a great instrument.

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Yes, there are many good makers who won’t use sandpaper on any of the wood going into a fiddle because specks of the grit embed in the wood and may inhibit tone.

When I had a chance to hold and inspect a Guarneri Del Gesu, the thing that stood out most was how obvious the carving marks were, especially on the scroll. But chisel cuts were also obvious on the top and back.

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Once, the drummer in a band I played in (had to be the bloody drummer) tripped over a wire that was attached to my fiddle causing it to leap out of my hands a smash to the floor face down breaking the top into three pieces. The insurance was great though, they put me in touch with a very clever bloke and I always remember a thing he stressed to me about the repair … that someone should always be able to undo it. You can still see the lines, but the fiddle sounded better after the repair than before (probably only because the clever bloke had to put a new sound post and bridge on)

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A guy in my chamber orchestra plays a fiddle made in 1700. In the 3 centuries since it was made it has had so many repairs that the front looks like a railroad marshaling yard seen from the air. It still sounds great and plays well.

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The question was simple. "Is it repairable?"
My answer was simple "Yes"
I then proceeded to describe a product that many luddites of the instrument repairing set may not have heard of.
The resin is filled with micro cotton fibre and the catalyst is filled with expanded silicone which gives the glue a capillary type action (ie it "soaks" into the adjacent woodgrain"
Now, Gilly’s example of a fiddle top broken into three pieces is a classic example of the perfect place to use it. Any other glueing on the instrument must be undoable but no-one would ever want to break the top back into three pieces so we use an adhesive which is stronger than the wood. Simple.
This product has a setup time of 45 mins or so, cleans up with metho and sands to a feather edge unlike other glues.

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As to who should do this repair, I agree that it has to be someone who has a good working knowledge of such things.
As to whether or when he should tell the owner of the fiddle that is over to geribailey.
Neither of the above matters were raised in the question so unlike you lot I gave the questioner the benefit of the doubt.
Good Day to you all.

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Isn’t there something very splendid in the lack of arrogance in an extremely talented fiddle doctor that takes as a primary understanding, that someone in the future might make a better job of the repair than them. So the repair has to be able to be undone.

It’s lovely isn’t it.

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wikipedia says this”Thin CA glue is also used as a wood finish, particularly among woodturners. It can give a fast drying, glossy finish to wood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanoacrylate


http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/glues.htm discusses the various glues.


Interesting side note;
Anton Krutze Master Luthier teaches ” if you REALLY want to brighten up fiddle, a drop of superglue on each end of the sound post (let dry before installing), and a drop or two inside the kidneys of the bridge”


Another use for superglue! .

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Damn, t, thats Krutz with no ‘e’

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Lack of arrogance or lack of talent?
I was taught from a very young age "Do it once, do it right and always think of the next tradesman that has to work on it"
That said it all when I was 15 and still applies.
Stradivari would have a ball in my workshop and his violins would be even better with access to many modern products and tools.
Every day as I restore things I sadly shake my head at the clumsy inefficient methods and materials used in the past where today’s equipment and materials are so much better in every respect.
Older is not always better,esp in the case of Michael Gill and Co.

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Ion and mcknowall are absolutely correct. I should have said "super glue isn’t used as a finish on any *decent* musical instruments." I stand corrected.

The notion of gluing in a sound post or putting glue on the bridge is hilarious, straight out of a Monty Python skit. If yer stupid enough to fall for that advice, you deserve the consequences.

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Wow, sounds like a bit of old world traditionalism versus new world ingenuity. Plenty of scope for a good old nationalistic punch-up - over a violin. Brilliant! Great craic this site.

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Heh, why doesn’t it surprise me that you’d see it that way, Dubh?

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Yah, pretty obvious isn’t it. In the blue corner the Super glues, in the red corner the epoxies etc…very entertaining!
This should be good for at least 300 posts.

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get stuck into it guys. (pardon the pun, sorry.)

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Actually, it’s arrogance verses lack off.

In one corner you have a humble repairer who will always defer to possible better technologies and skill of the future and possible better technologies that have been lost in the past.

And in the other corner you have the arrogance of the assumption that Stradavari would make better fiddles than he did, had he been in mcknowall’s workshop. The arrogance to assume that you have nailed down the correct position for a sound post to such accuracy that you can super-glue it in. The arrogance that the skills you learn in making furniture and bodhrans give you the intellectual superiority to proffer advice on violin repair. The ignorance to quote from wikepidia (a sackable offence at the BBC for example). The temerity to directly call me a "pompous little fart" (I’m not sure where that stands in Jeremy’s "be civil" ruling. I’ve often been barred for much less but ho hum).

However, it’s good to know that such a corner would never in a million years get anywhere near the list of approved repairers from my insurance company. The bloke that fixed my fiddle was official luthier to a number of world-renowned orchestras. I find it amusing that anyone would ask advice on such a topic on an internet chat forum. And I find it even more amusing that a bodhran maker would proffer advice. And I’d be astonished if such advice was taken. The whole thing is such a waste of time. (amusing though)

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You are not reading each others posts properly. High horses and deep-dug holes

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…and llig’s out of the blue corner and applies a side headlock and eye-gouge to mcknowall! arrgghhh. Ugly!

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Araldite Rapid is great for holding down the heel of a replacement harmonica reed when you’ve clumsily made the rivet hole too big whilst removing the old reed.

There. Someone had to wade in with at least one piece of good advice. :-D

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McKnowall, I don’t think Stradavari would ‘have a ball’ in your workshop. I’m guessing that the only thing you have that he might envy is a bandsaw, and that never touches the wood of the instrument.

He didn’t have epoxy, but did have isinglass and casein glues, which are stronger and more permanent than hide glue (he used them for things like inlays on guitars) but he didn’t use them on violins, because he understood that wood moves, instruments need adjustment and repair, and therefore joints have to be reversable.

He might not have had sandpaper, but he did have pumice and other abrasives that could be used on wood. But he didn’t use them, because he knew he could get a better finish straight off the plane or scraper. Take a piece of spruce and plane it with a properly sharpened plane. Feel the smoothness of the surface, look at the way it shines. Now sand half of it, and see if you can reproduce that surface. You can’t.

Modern tools and equipment simply deskill the job, they don’t make a better product. The vast majority of violin makers and repairers use traditional techniques NOT out of some strange desire to live in the 17th century, but because they produce the best end result. If they didn’t, people like you would very quickly put the traditional makers out of business.

When it comes to repair work these things are even more important - if you fix a crack and it subsequently re opens, or the wood cracks again right next to it, if you used a non-reversable glue, you are going to have to perform major surgery to remove the old repair - this will inevitably reduce the quality, authenticity and value of the instrument. If you used hide glue the first time round, you just wipe it off and start again.

I know I backed your initial suggestion for using epoxy on the broken neck, but ONLY if we were talking about saving a student instrument of no intrinsic value from the bin. Such techniques have absolutely no place in the repair of real instruments.

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Read what is said eh? and respond to that! as opposed to responding to what you ‘imagine’ the other has written.

I can assure you that superglue is used as a fine finish for repairs by professional luthiers on top level instruments. Violins particularly. I know this for a fact The luthier who taught me was trained at the Paris Conservatoire. His credentials are Impeccable
For example no one suggested glueing in a sound post at all. That idea was created by your imagination. A master luthier recommends a drop on the bridge and a drop on the end of the sound post to brighten a dark fiddle. Certainly you dont then ‘glue it in’ ! The idea is to harden the post and certain areas of the bridge.

Will, you are not a master luthier. You have not been trained by one of the most prestigious schools in the world. You are not qualified by any stretch of the imagination to criticize someone who is and their teachings and practice. You are out of your league .


McKnowall; has not mentioned superglue at all. I did.

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now it’s skreech slipping in under the ropes and he’s applied a half nelson choke and sleeper hold on mcknowall. Mcknowall’s taking some punishment now folks, how much of this can he take!? This is cruel folks!
don’t write him off yet though, mcknowall’s specialty is the ball-tearer and irish whip into the corner post. Ya gotta really watch out!

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Yup, some points lost over the sound post business. Slow down guys.
Whats the PVA for mcknowall ? Fixing the label ?

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Ionannas, Can you name a luthier who uses superglue as a finish?

The ONLY finish that is acceptable on a violin repair is spirit varnish (even on an oil varnished instrument).

Superglue is used quite a lot by guitar makers and repairers, but that’s a whole different world from violins.

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On the subject of gluing sound posts, someone ages ago mentioned a school caretaker who was fed up with them falling over in the school fiddles, so made use of a tin tack smartly banged through the base. Now that’s classy instrument repair!

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Our resident master luthiers here must be thinking that with friends like traddy who needs enemas! :-D

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Check your emails skreech.
Superglue mixed with fine wood dust is used to repair hard wood . polished up it is virtually indistinguishable.

Im not suggesting using it mixed with linseed oil as a finish, though it appears the balsa fiddle guys do. Im not suggesting that its used straight, as a type of varnish, though wood turners do. Simply that it is a useful tool in the Luthiers armoury. Just google it and you will find numerous examples. But I was specifically taught its use by a top flight Luthier.
All joints should , without doubt, be glued with hide glue.

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I’m aware of the technique, I use it myself on new-build mandolins - as a filler, not a finish.

But it isn’t appropriate to violin repair. It isn’t taught at Newark or Guildhall, and I would be very surprised if it was taught in Paris or Mircourt.

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Of course you do! as a filler, as I suggested. Other people do use it as a finish and can provide good reasoning.

I use it to rebuild ebony and blackwood mostly, then sanded[ with diamond file pollished with 0000 steel wool, buffed its is an excellent finish to a repair. Of course as I said in my above post, varnish and Aging are the next steps if appropriate
Whether that technique is taught in Paris I dont know, however the Luthier who taught me was. where he picked this up I dont know, but I have been using it for years. I recently rebuilt an ebony finger board with it layers of superglue and ebony dust built up then sanded down and repeated. I can see the difference but it is very slight.

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OK, it seems we are all fairly much in agreement about how to join various bits of wood together, but many of you seem confused as to the best way of making a broken bit of wood whole again. I conduct a simple demo in my workshop for doubters. I butt join two pieces of timber together end on. I then invite the uneducated to destroy this bit of wood. It will break anywhere else except where it is glued.
I then rip it through the glue joint and show how the glue has penetrated up the grain.
This wonderful product saves dowelling, pinning and splicing on neck repairs and as I have already mentioned finishes in a most inconspicuous manner.
By all means keep using blood and hair as a glue, but the rest of the world has moved on and I suggest you do as well.

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Aw go on tell us about the PVA, you brought it up.

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Oh, and by the way skreetch, my customers are all people who want things done the traditional way. Bit like traditional music really, just changes all the time.

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PVA? cranky fingerboards that have been put back on lots of times and keep popping off in humid weather, there is enough strength in the neck and fingerboard to get them apart with a hot knife if you have to, but they seem to stay there.
Hear ‘em howl now!

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This does bring up another interesting point amongst the posturing and argument;
” The application of modern techniques and materials to an ancient art”.

For example superglue and bicarb of soda mixed together make a super light extra strong filling material. Applications?
Use of carbon fibre in the making of instruments! Computer planning and CNC machines. etc etc


IMO the arrogance lies with those who say that the way they do it bears no possibility of improvement, the old ways are the best ways….
Yes they might be, but open the mind to new possibilities arising from man’s continual adventurousness and exploration for new Ideas.

Just because there is no problem that needs solving does not therefore mean there is no need to explore different and maybe better ways of doing something.

In the old days the celtic harp soundbox was carved from a single piece of wood, designed so that the Immense pressure from the brass strings pulled the box open into is correct shape. Amazing . They do type of thing now using Computers and CNC machines. Progress?

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Ionannas, that is an extreme example of what NOT to do to an instrument. If you’d said you used it to fill and adjust nut slots I could accept it. But to coat a fingerboard? Why? If it is too far gone to scrape back into shape, why not just replace it? (Assuming it was stuck on with hide glue :) )

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Mcknowall raises another point, using modern materials to deal with extreme circumstances and conditions.

At what point do we accept the use of non traditional materials ? In MK example we have a joint that destructs because of the humidity. IMO the original repair, if done with hide glue, was poorly done. Of course Many/ most cheap instruments are constructed with white glue, not hide glue. It is still water soluble and reversible. Clearly this glue can also be used in their repair.

A hot , hide glue joint, is tricky. Both surfaces have to be warm, at the same time the hot glue has to be applied, then very quickly the surfaces joined in exactly the right place before the joint cools. Takes time practice and experience to become automatic with this process. Surely no one here thinks that somehow all fiddles are made like this!

The fundamental issue lies with the skill of the person doing the repair, then their choice of materials and techniques. One can not simply disregard something because the majority of people can not use it effectively.

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The application of modern techniques may well have a place in instrument making - I have no problem at all with people experimenting with their own products, and if they manage to make a real improvement, so much the better.

But repair work is different. Rhe repairer has responsibilities: he has a responsibility to the original maker - to leave the instrument as far as possible as it was made. And more importantly he has a responsibility to the owner - to ensure that if, for whatever reason, the owner isn’t happy with what he has done to the instrument, it can be reversed. Accepting that responsibility isn’t arrogance, far from it.

Arrogance is when a repairer decides that his work is so good that no one would ever want to improve it, so he can afford to make it permanent.

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Why not just replace it… good point…. Hmm… didnt think of that! ? :-)
cost?…. nothing to repair just time and glue. Also interesting to experiment and see how far a technique can be used and still be viable.

Re-creating the visual effect grain structure, now that is an interesting problem to solve …. that Id rather avoid!

Not to coat a fingerboard but rebuild! replace missing wood.

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What about a repair where something is going to remain in service, a subsequent failure would cause further damage, and traditional techniques do not permit a sufficiently strong repair without replacing some or all of the original material ?

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Skreetch, I agree.
All joints should without a doubt be reversible. but where we are talking of broken timber, where no joint ever was before , in a very sensitive area, then the use of modern glue can be appropriate. Super glue and epoxy, in these limited circumstances, can effectively solve an insurmountable problem.

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Even cheap fiddles aren’t made with PVA. They are made with aliphatic resin.

There are two big problems with PVA - firstly it doesn’t set completely hard, but stays slightly rubbery. Maybe not a problem when fitting a fingerboard, but if you use it on cracks or seams, firstly it absorbs sound energy, changing the tone, and more importantly it can ‘creep’ allowing components to move out of alignment with time.

Secondly it isn’t ‘water soluble’. It does absorb water and soften, but it doesn’t dissolve, it turns into a rubbery goo that is impossible to remove from the grain, so you can’t remake the joint.

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"All joints should without a doubt be reversible. but where we are talking of broken timber, where no joint ever was before , in a very sensitive area, then the use of modern glue can be appropriate. Super glue and epoxy, in these limited circumstances, can effectively solve an insurmountable problem."

Yes, I did say that I think McK’s system would be appropriate on a cheapo fiddle. But not on anything of value. Because if the joint fails or gets broken again, or if the alignment slips before the resin has cured, you don’t get a second chance. Do it with hide glue and an internal dowel, and you can simply take it apart and start again.

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Check this out; modern techniques applied to an old craft!




”A few details: The ultra-light cello weighs about ½ as much as a normal ‘cello. The ribs are a sandwich of Balsa between Maple veneers made using the same vacuum technique that I use for my bass ribs. The neck is made of Maple but hollow and reinforced with a carbon fiber tube. The scroll is made of laminated Maple veneer. The top and back were made of flat panels of Balsa using a computer and CNC machine to create templates for cutting out the panels with the exact shape required such that when glued together, they would bend to the same long arching shape as a Strad. ‘cello. There is a bass bar in the usual place but there are also two “treble bars” one on the top and one on the back with platforms for the ends of the sound post to rest on. Of course I had to give it an adjustable neck! ”
http://www.hamstringsmusic.com/NewProjects.htm

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I agree.

But there will be times where this type of repair is not possible necessitating surgery unless modern materials used. For example the finger board I mentioned earlier. Replace was the only other solution.! You might have said the only solution …. Before today!. But you would have been incorrect… surprisingly large chunks of wood can be ‘replaced’ with this method.

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I think I’d still say ‘the only solution’ - I can’t imagine many players wanting a fingerboard made out of cyano. And i

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can’t imagine being able to scrape the scoop into it accurately, without leaving ridges at the edges of the cyano.

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"… or if the alignment slips before the resin has cured… " now thats the killer argument for those of us who ‘do a bit of woodwork’. Take the clamps off on the domestic joinery - "Oh sh*t", followed "S*d it, it will have to do"

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followed by

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Well it wasn’t the whole fingerboard LOL… and replacement is the best answer but suppose we are talking about say an elegantly carved scroll or tail piece that has been damaged. Irreplaceable? yes, Irreparable? no . I work mainly with fine detail carving which I can rebuild using the aforementioned process Its very toxic material but I have a dust extractor in my shop so its not generally a problem. I also filter the shop Air because blackwood dust itself is toxic and you can develop allergic reactions as a result of too much exposure.

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In thirty years of doing this I’ve never felt the need to use filler on a damaged scroll - you just cut a piece of matching wood. That way you get the same refraction - I’ve never found a filler that can reproduce the flame of sycamore.

As I said earlier, all these modern techniques tend to be aimed at de-skilling the job, rather than improving the end result. Rebuilding a carving with some sort of putty might be easier than re-carving from solid wood, but the end result is not the same.

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Ion, you know nothing about me or my experience, but you presume a lot, almost always wrong. You’d look like less of an idiot if you’d stop doing that, but the prerogative is yours, of course.

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He’d look like less of at least three or four idiots, you mean.

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You do seem to have a talent for getting into scraps around here, will.

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You are all getting very silly now.
Toilet paper was invented long after the bit you use it on.
Hands up everyone who uses the "traditional" method.

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Wrong target, leoj, old chap. Assess more wisely.

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yea steve, plenty to go round I’m sure…

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I mean, this isn’t my scrap, but no one suggested using super glue to glue in a sound post. That just isn’t what was said if you read the post.

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leoj, putting a drop of super glue anywhere near a sound post is just plain stupid, unless you like your fiddle to sound like one of those plastic WWII airplane models you get at hobby shops.

I don’t think it’s a "talent for getting into scrapes." Ion’s an idiot. He’s never met me, knows nothing about my experience building and repairing instruments, yet characterizes me just so he can claim a higher (tho nameless and second-hand) authority.

It’s not a "scrape" if the other person can’t assemble a reasonable viewpoint. Mind you, I agree that super glue can be used as a violin finish, and it can be applied to sound posts. And blue tack can be applied to fiddle bridges. As can cinder blocks. Drop one on your fiddle from the roof of a two story building and see what it does for your sound. The experiments anyone chooses to do on their fiddles is up to them.

All I’m saying is the OP and people in general here would be better off taking their instruments to a reputable luthier. The advice given here by mcknowall and Ion can lead to irreparable harm—I’ve seen it over and over and had to fix just these sorts of "repairs" many times.

But it’s a free world, eh? If someone wants to fix their fiddle based on the advice of a bodhran maker cum furniture repairman and someone with absolutely no personal info in their bio, so it goes.

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OK will. Kind of a wild discussion given that the loaner fiddle for this kid in the OP is probably worth $100. or something.

So, here’s a different scenario: A local man takes fiddles that are broken beyond repair from a reputable violin shop (they can’t make any money on them) and sets about putting them together using mostly hide glue —but when he deems it necessary he’ll resort to epoxy. The fiddle otherwise would be worth nothing, now it has some value because it plays. Then he sells them. Is this a sin?

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A sin? Can’t tell you…I’m not a priest. But he should tell any prospective buyers the nature of the repairs he did.

I don’t have anything against super glue and epoxy. I used epoxy mixed with wood dust for fill around inlays on the mandolins I built. I use modern glues around the house.

But it’s bad form to advise someone who’s broken a borrowed fiddle to fix it, least of all with irreversible glue. The decision of whether and how to repair the fiddle is the owner’s, not the borrower’s.

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leoj, I can’t see what you hope to gain from prolonging this thread with hypotheticals. But if this will sate your curiosity….

I’ve seen top and back cracks—splits in the wood, not a seam separation—"repaired" with epoxy. Typically, the wood cracks again, somewhere else, because now the epoxy can’t give along the original split. So the "repair" person did more harm than good by not sussing out the reason for the first crack, and by transferring the stress somewhere else, leading to a second crack.

People with woodworking experience gleaned from furniture or carpentry but limited or no knowledge of acoustic instruments typically overestimate their "expertise" and underestimate the sensitivity of tone woods to the introduction of non-wood materials. All the worse when the person has cloth ears and can’t hear the damage done to tone or responsiveness, thinking they’ve done a good "repair."

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Thank you Will, I shall wash and iron my ears immediately, and see if I can get a job making fruit boxes.
Or is there some great mystery about making fruit boxes that only elite people who have been blessed by the fairies can understand?

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That all depends on the variety of fruit you’re making the boxes for.

will, the scenario i described is not hypothetical.

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leoj, to me it would be irresponsible for yer man to sell those fiddles without revealing the nature of the repairs he did. But there’s no law against it. Buyer beware. Like anyone, beginners will enjoy playing and likely learn better on decent instruments.

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mcknowall, I can’t imagine a better screen name for yourself. You wear it well. :-)

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I wear most things well ,Will. Except pretentious dills, I don’t wear them at all. Somebody told me I wear my 65 years of age well though, only this afternoon at the pub it was. So there!

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And all I was doing was showing him how steep the back stairs are.

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Aw come on, mcknowall, you could always take him down the pub and introduce him to the guys up there Kyogle way.

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65 is retirement age this end. This is not a hint.

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I’ve never seen a fiddle that was irreparable. The only reason a fiddle is deemed irreparable is because someone who has the knowledge and skill to be able to repair it, does not think it is worthwhile. If someone else then comes along and think they know better, they should first ask themselves why they know better.

It’s straight forward. Proper repair takes skill and time. A botch job with epoxy glue and less skill takes less time and is therefor financially viable. But only because there are people ignorant enough to buy these wrecks … and give them to unfortunate children who will no doubt be put off for life because they find it impossible to get a decent sound.

Cheep rubbish broken instruments should be put in the bin. The sin is the "reputable violin shop" giving the cheep rubbish broken instruments to the botch job repair man in the first place.

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A repair man wouldn’t give them away anyway.

You make a little stand, drill through the scroll and neck for a cable,.and sell them as table lamps.

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Oh dear oh dear Michael Gill how I would hate living in your skin.
Could be a song in that!
One of the "luthier" jobs I do (unpaid) is to somehow or other get el cheapo guitars playable for a friend of mine who teaches special people some musical skills.
Now these kids could be doing drugs and mugging old ladies etc, but My mate sits ‘em down and has a chat, plays a bit of music and then gives the slightly interested ones a free guitar.
Horrible things they are, glued together with inappropriate materials, totally unrepairable for future fing luthiers and many of them have tuning issues(the guitars that is).
These instruments are sourced from the local tip and Lifeline etc, so now you know how low I will stoop to do a bit of luthiering.
hahahahahhahah

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a

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llig, be very afraid, and careful, when mcknowall starts talking anything about skin.

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No wonder there’s kids out mugging old ladies. They’re fed up with patronising old gits "giving" them useless old planks of untunable guitars they found at the tip.

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Awww! Uppercut! This is really gonna warm up now. Just one mention now of geographical location and it’ll be on for young and old.

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hahahahahahahahahahah

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Love to stay and chat, but I have to be on deck @6.30 am to receive some leadlight windows for restoration, then it’s finish two bookshelves copied straight out of the Women’s Weekly.
Lunching with a delightful young lady who wants to learn more about the bodhran.
Afternoon will include a short walk along the riverbank,then spraying polyurethane on a couple of colonial chairs.
Footy training at 6.00 pm then a committee meeting.
Then, sex drugs and rock’n’roll. But not in that order.
G’Nite all.
Enjoy your Ovaltine Michael.

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Now I don’t want to give anyone ideas (!), but I remember seeing an X-ray of a fine early 18th century violin made in Cremona and still with its original neck. The X-ray clearly shows that the neck was nailed to the body from within the cavity of the violin. Presumably later practice is to use a dowel?

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Most craftsmen I have spoken to would like to be in a situation where pragmatism was never called for. None were. I wonder how much soul-searching went on when all those necks were made longer.

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No, there’s no need for a dowel, it’s a simple glue joint (using hide glue).

The difference is that baroque necks were butted against the outside of the ribs, then nailed from the inside. Modern necks are morticed a couple of mm into the top block, because the modern neck angle puts a lot more strain on the joint

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I think when the conversions were done in the early 19th century, authenticity was less of an issue. But even then, several important instruments that have been grafted have their original neck with them, so they could be converted back if required. (and with the current vogue for playing baroque music on baroque instruments, it may well happen).

Other instruments were converted by inserting a block between the heel and the body, so they still have their original neck. Converting these back is relatively straightforward.

As was said earlier, responsible luthiers never do anything to an instrument that isn’t reversable.

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Turning the job away and giving a bit of advice to a do-it-yourselfer (as in your first post) is both pragmatic and a kindness to the customer. The ‘bin it’ response seems arrogant.

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I appologise for seeming arrogant. Cheep rubbish broken instruments should not be put in the bin, (As Skreech says, you can make a little stand, drill through the scroll and neck for a cable,.and sell them as table lamps).

If they get put in the bin they’ll end up on the tip. And then the patronising old gits will glue them back together and give them to poor children.

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Friends of mine took an old wrecked fiddle and cut it in half on a slant. It makes great shelf art…..

LOL, michael, funny how Jeremy has let all this go, given how easily he binned you last time. :-D

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I know Will. But I’m glad he’s let this go. It’s fun.

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not half as much fun as when mcknowall gets back from footy training.

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Footy training at 65? Good on him!

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Yeah, good on him. And well done for his bookshelves and stuff. (Though I’m not sure about his lunch date. I wouldn’t hold out much hope for a second date … as it’s pretty straight forward that every thing there is to know about the bodhran can easily be learned over your lunch hour.)

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I have to ask: What is "footy training"?

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soccer. You daft yanks call it a girls game

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Soccy training doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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Rugby Union, the game they play in heaven, not that many of you will have to worry about that. Not that roundball kick and kiss pastime mentioned by Gilly.
Oh what a beautiful morning.

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Thanks. Around here, I think its called soccer. This daft yank is not much interested in watching sports games.

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Oh frabjous day, calloo callay

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ha ha, he plays rugby union. Not football at all. Gouge anyone’s eyes out recently?

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Saving myself for you darling. I coach the forwards at rucking and mauling.
Anyone got a violin with a broken neck while I’ve got the nailgun out?

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"soccer. You daft yanks call it a girls game" Yeah, and then they play a game invented for pre-pubescent schoolgirls and have a World Series in it.

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mcknowall sells gouged eyes in a colour assortment tray at his stall at the Nasho, for rugby playing musos wandering by - they’re the ones with eye patches. He does a good trade, I believe.

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Isn’t it about the the starter of this thread geribailey came back in and told us whether or not this fiddle was anygood.

I think he was pulling our collective leg.

He’s have to at least be laughing his head off by now.

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here is is again……


Isn’t it about time the starter of this thread geribailey came back in and told us whether or not this fiddle was anygood.

I think he was pulling our collective leg.

He’s have to at least be laughing his head off by now.

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Laughing his head off? I’ve got a good glue to fix that.

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We answered a simple question;, is this break repairable. we answered . He didnt ask ; can i fix it at home. Neither MK or myself advised any one to fix anything, we simply suggested various possibilities.

, ”putting a drop of super glue anywhere near a sound post is just plain stupid, unless you like your fiddle to sound like one of those plastic WWII airplane models you get at hobby shops.” will Harmon


As far as super glue used to brighten a dark fiddle by application to the ends of the sound post and kidneys of the bridge.As I said that is a suggestion from Master Luthier Anton Krutz

http://www.kcstrings.com/anton-krutz-introduction.html

Now if Luthier Will harmon wants to critise Antons Methods perhaps he would like to show us some examples of his work? We can consider the merits of these 2 Giants in the world of Luthiers and make our own minds up as to the reletive merits of their work .
Plain Stupid? Really?

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I think superglue on the ends of the soundpost is an excellent idea. It will keep people like me in business fitting soundpost patches when these super-hard soundposts chew into the soft spruce of the front. :)

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All that guff on that website, kcstrings, was written by the owner of kcstrings who call himself "Master". It has no more impartial validity than www.mcknowall.com

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I tried to post my big long speech but it somehow failed. In summary: In my younger years I bought a strad copy that I thought was lovely, when I took it in to lower the action I was told that some Know(it)all (add the Mc if you choose) was clever enough to botch up a neck repair years and years ago with some epoxy rubbish. Very sad for me.
I’d also like to address McKnowall’s lack of respect for tradition, which I’m sure he will say is my gross misinterpretation of his statements and lon will rush to his defence and concentrate on one of my flaws(real or imagined) to discredit anything I say. But seeing someone so modernised and in love with all these newfangled fax machines and electronic gluerers(bogtrotter talk) just makes me ill. Fair play to llig and will! And very good points Skreech!

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Mea culpa. I must confess to having been an epoxy "sinner" in the distant past.

Many years ago the notches on my cello bridge had got so worn that the A and D strings sometimes buzzed against the finger board. One solution was to move the bridge towards the finger board, but that altered the tone too much. The obvious solution was a new bridge, but then I remembered having seen a soloist’s violin with ivory inserts in the bridge notches (ivory was allowed in those days). So I cut 4 V-notches in the bridge, about 1/4 inch deep, filled them with epoxy resin (Araldite Hard), let it set for a couple of days, removed the surplus with a fine file, and finally made a small groove in each with a fine rat-tail file. The result was a noticeably brighter tone. I kept that bridge on for a number of years until I had the instrument refurbished, when the luthier replaced the soundpost and bridge, amongst other little jobs. That was the only time an artificial resin has been anywhere near my instruments. The cello is anonymous mid-19th century French.

Skreech, it’s obviously not a good idea to harden the upper end of the soundpost with superglue. But what about the bottom end, which contacts the back (a harder wood)? I should have thought anyway that the proper course is to change the soundpost to one that gives a brighter tone.

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I can’t actually see supergluing the ends (or one end) of the sound post as having anything other than a bad effect on the tone (though admittedly I’ve never tried it). The post has to fit the back and front of the instrument perfectly, and to that end it is normal practice to lick the ends of the post just before you fit it, to soften the endgrain and allow it to mould the last tiny bit to a perfect fit (no one can cut it absolutely perfectly!). If the endgrain is set hard with glue you are never going to get that perfact fit. I can’t see how hardening the ends would improve tone anyway - if you need a stiffer post it needs to be stiffer along its whole length.

Stiffening the pendulums on the bridge does make a marked difference to the tone, and I suppose superglue would do it. But the only time you might need to stiffen the pendulums is if you’ve cut the eyes too big and made them too weak. Much better to trim the bridge carefully to begin with.

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I’ve seen backs crack from improperly installed sound posts. My guess is that super glue would slowly etch a divot in both the top and back, creating a pocket, which would in turn make it harder to adjust that and subsequent sound posts to suit seasonal changes and player tonal preferences.

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Superglue is not in my repetoire.
Of all the epoxies out there, I only use techniglue.
On antiques, instruments etc I would only use it to repair a broken piece of wood.
Luthiers and fellow restorers who have followed my recommendation and used this glue speak very highly of it.
Others remain ignorant on the subject.

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On a fiddle top, why would you want the glued join to be stronger than the wood? The way the top of a fiddle vibrates is very complicated and any difference in the strength and/or density would clearly effect the shape of the vibrations. To someone who is used to listening to violins that is. To someone who is interested in violins. To someone who likes music. You know, tunes.

Though as you say, Poor old Stradavari. He had to make do with inferior materials from the past. The man was ignorant of the technologies of the future.

But wait a moment? Isn’t that what we are talking about? Retaining the right of someone in the future to exercise their better technologies? Rather than to irrevocably fill cracks with what will inevitably become the inferior technologies of the past?

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blood and hair, blood and hair
Strad should have hewn his fiddles out with a sharp rock and glued the bits together with blood and hair, just like his ancestors.
Strong teeth was all you needed back in my day, strong teeth, blood and hair. (or blood and spider web for the fine work)

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Spectacularly missing the point, as usual. Not too bright.

Use what technologies you have, but not because they are new. An older technology may well be more appropriate. And never ever assume your new technology is the pinnacle of technological inventiveness. Don’t ruin something for the future. There are few things more dangerous than the arrogance of the irrevocable.

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you do know what accounts for this man’s behaviour, don’t you, mcknowall. I know you do, I don’t have to spell it out.

an epoxy be upon you llig - digitus extricatus!

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Flippin heck, the cane beetle is ravaging our crops. what we need is some creature that will eat them all. Yeah, what a good idea.

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I think both of those were imported by the you know who’s.

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The session.org’s very own cane toad….llig leachim

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The man who gave us cane toads? Mungomerie his name was, from Edinburgh I believe.
Where does Gilly come from again?

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It doesn’t matter where you are from.

By the way, back on topic, Why would you want your join in the top of a violin to be stronger than the wood?

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Why indeed. Except that by being stronger than, we are assured that it is at least as strong as. ie not weaker than. I could draw some graphs for you in my spare time.

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I’m a luthier. McKnowall & co are talking sh*te.

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Sorry about your lisp, I am on the other hand not a loser. Good Day to you sir

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"Why indeed. Except that by being stronger than, we are assured that it is at least as strong as. ie not weaker than. I could draw some graphs for you in my spare time."

mcknowall, you are an idiot. Hide glue is used precisely *because* it is weaker than wood. Every competent luthier (ie not you) would rather have a joint give out than create hellacious cracks. Sure, there are stronger glues, but they are TOO strong. Hide glue has been used for centuries because it is the perfect glue, not the strongest. All this information is easily obtainable on the web or in repair books. Take the time to do some research you ignoramus.

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This has been well covered in this thread and iI am in total agreement with you all the way on the subject . The exception was a repair on a broken neck. Here it is desirable to have uniform strength with minimum intrusion(dowells,pegs and other solutions in this category have been suggested)
Techniglue does this job to perfection without the intrusions and will never break on the glue join. Past this point there are many things for the person doing the repair to consider I agree, and nobody has yet shared why we would want to break that neck in the same place at any time in the future.

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clearly everyone is sticking to their guns. Although that will make having a drink fairly exciting.
178 posts and the war hasn’t really started yet! Excellent.

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mcknowall, you do have a legitimate point. but the opposite is a legitimate point as well. Why change when hide glue works perfectly well? Plus, repairs can be undone and redone if need be later on. If there’s something not quite right with the repair and you use stronger glue, you’re SOL. That is a huge asset that isn’t available with those other glues.

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I note that awildman2384 and mutitus mucosis are late starters here I suspect they live in the Edinburgh old folkies home with Gilly and he’s got them out of bed to lend a hand.
Won’t wash chaps, there is nothing wrong with wood being at least as strong as wood.

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Umm, no. I’m a late starter only because I don’t contribute much. And I think gill is an a$$hole. I don’t like the parts of his personality that show here.

One must understand the making of a fiddle and why things are done the way they are before becoming a competent repair person. Do you understand what makes a fiddle a fiddle? Do you understand how a small bit of mass on something like a scroll can affect the resonance of a fiddle? Do you understand tuning the plates and how various things affect them? Have you been to a violin repair school? Have you trained with any experienced luthiers? From an instrumental standpoint rather than a woodworker’s standpoint, what experience, training, and education do you have that qualifies any of your opinions on fiddles?

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I wasn’t offering any opinions on fiddles, only on bits of wood.
My first teacher was an uncle who amongst other things hand made propellors for Charles Kingsford Smith and other early aviators. One piece of silky oak per propellor. Bits of wood have been my medium ever since.
The restorers art is to work out how and why the maker did what he did and replicate it with as little interference as possible. I have never made this journey on violins, in fact I am about to send my own fiddle that granny brought over on the boat from Scotland to a very highly regarded violin repairer to have some work done that I could probably do myself but won’t.
I sometimes glue broken necks and other bits for him, one gets pretty good at it doing bowfront cabinets and fancy old chairs etc. Many other tradesmen bring broken bits of wood for me to glue back together all the time.
Even I reckon I’m pretty good at it.
My apologies faithfull readers, I am unable to accept any new customers for the forseeable future.
I’m off to the Pub now for a few schooners with brickies,panelbeaters carpenters and other people who also know very little of what makes a violin a violin.(or a fiddle,hahahahahah)

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This is a discussion about a broken bit of wood, how many posts?
A BROKEN BIT OF WOOD, FOR CHRISSAKE!

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heh, where you see a broken bit of wood, a luthier sees a musical instrument. This is not a chair leg or the frame for one of your pathetic washboards. As long as you apply your limited standards to this discussion, you will continue to miss the point, mcknowall.

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And if the number of posts bothers you, bear in mind, without your and Ioninny’s dim comments, this thread would’ve died out 170 posts ago.

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Quit posting here then.

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crosspost

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there’s something about talking the leg off a chair about it, isn’t there.

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I type fast. I’ve spent a hardly any time on this thread at all. But I’ve spent hundreds of hours over the years dealing with the messes created by the sort of "repairs" advocated by mcknothead and negativeIon here. Think of a few posts here as that smidgeon of prevention that obviates the need for a pound of cure….

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What mess?. A broken bit of wood, turned into a non broken bit of wood with a miracle product, closer to real wood than boiled horses hooves and other products mentioned by all the luthierphiles here. It was developed to mimic wood, it soaks into adjacent wood so there is no shear line, it finishes like wood, has a similar fibrous structure, it’s waterproof and does not break down in time.
For anyone with concerns about tone and vibrations travelling through wood it laughs at nails, pins, dowells, resplices and other mechanical assistance to hide glue’s inherant weakness.
And no-one has yet shone any light on WHY you would want to break this fiddle neck in the future.

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ah, those were the days, boiled horse hoof and split pea soup, with a couple of spuds. People these days don’t know what they’re missing.

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Couldn’t stand horse’s hoofs back when I was young, now I realise they make passable comedians,waiters, AND LUTHIERS!

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"And no-one has yet shone any light on WHY you would want to break this fiddle neck in the future."

Presumably the same reason that they "wanted" to break it the first time.

But to understand another very important reason for not using epoxy, look at your original description of the process: "Clean up with meths, then it’s sandpaper".

If you use either meths or sandpaper on an instrument you are going to destroy the finish. With hide glue you just wipe the excess off with a damp rag, and you are left with an almost invisible glue line. With your method you land up with an area where the original finish has been lost for ever, which you then have to try to touch in. Not only is that more intrusive - much more of the original qualities of the instrument are lost, but it matching varnish is a very time consuming business - patching up after your epoxy repair would take a lot longer than doing the job properly to begin with.

Luthiers aren’t stupid, we’ve all got modern adhesive in our workshops, we understand their properties, and use them where appropriate. If we don’t use them on instruments it isn’t because we don’t know about them, it is because we know enough about them, and instrument construction, to know that they are not the best tool for the job.

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Not so skreech, pretty similar clean up to hide glue—wipe most of it off with your finger,quick rub with a metho damp rag, not enough to soften the varnish and it’s done.
"Where appropriate" is the operative consideration here and it is my opinion that a broken member where the fracture will snug back together is the appropriate occasion to use this particular glue.
It is a much better alternative than the "we’ll have to put in a replacement neck and it will cost you 300 quid" post by one of your luthier types when I bought into this discussion.

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That is of course if there is any varnish. Perhaps one of you Luthierans could help me here. The bit of broken wood we are discussing here is the neck of a fiddle just below the peghead.Now us old chairfixers see an ebony fingerboard on the front and a bit that people grab hold of on the back where the varnish is wore clear out and it is bare wood with a bit of human skin detritus stuck to it.
How in God’s name could anyone "destroy the finish?"

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IT IS A BIT OF BROKEN WOOD

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Are there any adhesives for wood that are removable but don’t involve glue pots and the like ? What’s this aliphatic stuff ?

Took a lot of posts but those holes have been cunningly dug sideways and the edges chamfered off.

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In all your years working with antiques, have you ever heard the word ‘patina’? A pice of wood that has been newly sanded looks very different to one that has been handled constantly for years.

"where appropriate" is indeed the operative consideration - and I have said all along that your technique might be appropriate to a cheap student fiddle, but not to a real violin. And the reason a luthier won’t do it, even on a VSO, is not to protect the instrument, but to protect their reputation.

Your idea that "where appropriate" means "where the members will snug back together" would rule out ever using it anyway. No cross grain fracture ever goes back together cleanly - getting it to fit properly for internal doweling normally takes far longer than making a new neck, which is why the preferred method is a graft. Your definition of ‘snug’ is probably a bit different to ours.

And if you think a violin is just a piece of wood, you shouldn’t be allowed near the things.

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david_h

You can get ‘liquid hide glue’ in a bottle, but it’s not as strong or as easy to work with as hot glue. Hide glue really isn’t difficult - you don’t need a fancy glue-pot, just a jamjar in a saucepan of water on the hob.

Aliphatic resin is the yellow glue (trade name Titebond) used a lot by guitar makers. It is very like PVA to work with, but sets hard and doesn’t creep. But it can’t be removed, so don’t use it on violin family instruments.

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I think a violin is a violin, I think a piece of wood is a piece of wood.
Patina preservation is the mainstay of my work.
It is very hard to match up crossgrain fractures I am good at it people including luthiers have been sending such repairs my way for many years because I am very good at it.
If everyone knew what Stradivarius knew about violins, they would be making million dollar violins
Unfortunately I am unable to give classes right now, but I will advise you should I change my mind.

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Titebond can be removed with a well honed scraper.

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Right, yes of course. You remove the front of a fiddle by scraping away wood until you come to the glue line.

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You’re losing it skreech, have a bit of a rest maybe a feed and a cuppa and come back when you feel better.

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I am happy to wait til you catch up.

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Hint! if you can see the titebond, you can scrape it, if you can’t see the titebond then it is doing its job.
Do they have schools in your part of the world.?

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mcknowall, I think the saying is "have a bex and a good lie down"

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I’m not losing it. I just can’t quite understand the procedure you would use to remove titebond from a front seam, or a saddle crack that has re-opened, with a well honed scraper?

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Thanks screech. I did mean ‘removable’ in the way you interpreted it.

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You wouldn’t use it there would you?

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"IT IS A BIT OF BROKEN WOOD"
# Posted umpteen times by mcknowall

That appalling attitude just about sums it up really.

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so, how do the chairs sound after you’ve repaired them? Oh yeah, one SITS on chairs, one doesn’t make music with them. silly me.

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It’s still a broken bit of wood (not a bit of broken wood, which is altogether different)
The chairs sound OK as does the fiddle.
Despite the dense wood of the fingerboard, occasional strings and a human hand damping it at that point.

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So they all sound OK then, that’s nice. And your bodhrans too I hope?

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I do my best. Do you?

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And the wash boards? They sound OK?

And you local session where you encourage your legions of bodhran players to all join in. They sound OK too?

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Time for your Ovaltine and pills, Gills!