September 2010


I’m now happy that the top is solid and there are no remaining structural issues. So it’s time to reunite the top with the rest of the violin. I prepared a fresh pot of hide glue and lined up the clamps, pre-setting the width so the a half turn would attach them firmly. Hide glue takes no prisoners and begins to gel off in about 2-3 minutes so it must be fully assembled by then with clamps in place.

With brush at the ready, I gently warmed the top and ribs with the heat gun, and quickly applied the glue to the top of the ribs, before carefully and quickly re-seating the top ensuring an even overhang on both sides and all round.

Then I applied the clamps on opposite sides, starting with the C bout corners and the end-block and shoulders then filled in around the sides to ensure an even pressure.

violin top under clamps

violin top under clamps

I waited 24 hours before releasing the clamps and the result is a firmly attached top

Still a fair bit of work in fitting up but we’re over the worst of it

violin Top firmly attached

violin Top firmly attached

After touching up the repairs where the varnish had been damaged, and re-matching after ¬†scraping back over where a previous poorly-done repair had damaged teh finish, I set about getting a good sheen on the violin top. I’m fairly happy with the result, but the colour was difficult to match evenly. Here is the result.

Violin top

Violin top

In anticipation of the full reassembly I decided to make a whole lot more spool clamps – I now have bout 30 – mostly remaking the original ones as I skimped a bit on the wood and they were prone to breaking. Method same as before – this time using 28mm dowel and making each piece about 2cm thick, before drilling the central hole and fitting with threaded rod, washers a nyloc lock nut and a wing-nut.

spool clamps

spool clamps

Then it was back to repairing more cracks – this time near the shoulder at the neck end. I used a double clamp which attaches to either side of teh crack, then the two edges are drawn together across the lateral axis of the clamp – it is such a useful tool for this kind of work!

double clamp

double clamp

Then the whole length of the crack was clamped using the luthier body clamps. These are curved to fit over the violin body.

violin body clamps

violin body clamps

Soon it will be time for reassembly

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