Restoration of an unlabelled violin
Began March 2020
This violin is definitely amongst the largest and most varied restoration projects we've undertaken to date; you name it, this violin needs it! The instrument arrived in poor condition and, releasing the few remaining seams holding the front on, revealed extensive previous repair work. This is generally an encouraging sign as it indicates that someone (perhaps when the violin was in a better state of repair) has concluded that the violin is good enough to warrant work. The previous repair work on this violin, however, is not the best quality and in some places has actually caused more damage than good. Our full assessment for repair included;
The completed violin (awaiting image)
- Doubling all the way around the front to reinforce the edges which had been previously damaged probably during removal of the front.
- New edge and corner replacement on the front where wood has been damaged or worn
- Remove remains of previous surface mounted soundpost patch and fit new one
- Cleat remaining cracks in front
- Glue pegbox crack and fit patch to reinforce
- Re-attach fingerboard
- Make new top nut and lower saddle.
- Full set up, including new pegs, bridge and soundpost
- Varnish work to blend new wood in edging and doubling repairs, and to tidy up damage to the body of the instrument.
The Violin - prior to work beginning
The repair process
We decided to begin the restoration of this violin by tackling the soundpost patch in order to stabilise the crack in the front. For patch repairs such as this violin fronts require support so that any pressure applied during the repair process does not flex or distort them. Because this violin also requires extensive edging work we decided to cast a full body mould, rather than just a mould for the soundpost area of the front (see our work on the Unlabelled Northern European Violin, c.1830 for smaller front moulds). With sufficient support in place we began carving out the patch bed (including the remains of the previous surface patch) and chalk fitting a new soundpost patch. We created the new patch using quarter sawn spruce split to the right size and roughly shaped. It is important here to match the grain pattern in the patch to the grain pattern in the violin front as best as possible, with both grains running in the same direction when the patch is fitted.