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glued together some violins
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Batto
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January 17, 2020 - 2:23 am
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I took the plunge and used hide glue for the first time in my homemade warmer (a thrift store salsa/fondue warmer from the 1980’s with a dimmer switch installed in it.) Had a very interesting experience of heating up the glue over a candle  first before placing the jar in the warmer. I glued the top of my first violin and used all of the homemade clamps I had in a more proper way.

the second violin and the one which I have the most pictures of is probably the least proper way of doing stuff. I only had a few clamps left over but I glued everything back together including the split in the backplate. I also decided to go the full distance and glue on a fingerboard with the nut and the saddle. It now has a horn nut and saddle with an Indian ebony fingerboard.

i spent 2 hours filing and sanding the sides of the fingerboard to the match the contour of the narrow old neck as the photos hopefully show. There also was a crack in the peg box that  I repaired. Everything is holding up well and the neck and fingerboard feel really nice and slick. 

im waiting on a few goodies from the fiddlerman shop. Like a sound post installer, as the normal s  tool you stab into the sound post isn’t working for me and after playing the game of hide and go find the sound post for longer than I’d care to admit I’ve just thrown in the towel.  oh well I guess being an expert at extracting a loose sound post is handy skill. Though it was an annoying one to learn.  I also purchased some spare stick just encase the post I cut is incorrect. 

im hoping to be able to get both of these violins up and playing. I know my first one has a lovely dark sound and was made with full corner blocks. I am uncertain of the tone woods though. I think this violin is civil war era and I have a hunch it is American made as it doesn’t hold the characteristics of the classic French, Italian or German violins. Its back also isn’t flamed wood, I even doubt it’s maple. (Anybody know of a good way to identify the wood?) 

the second violin I don’t think has been heard for in a few decades if not a century as it was sold in terrible condition with no furniture on it and a pearwood with  an undyed ebony veneer fingerboard that had ditches dug into it. The back was already off and the violin is a classic example of a German trade violin of the later part of the 1800’s, so it of course has false corner blocks and a carved out bassbar, but it does has a beautiful two piece back with shell inlays and a rather unique purfling. I imagine when it was brand new it must have been gorgeous. I’m not too worried about this one if it gets messed up as it’s condition when I got it was basically “For decoration and display.” The polite way of declaring it one step above fire wood. 

though I am curious to see how it’ll sound once I get it all together. I have decided to try some black diamond fiddle strings on it, and give it some jujube wood furniture. Setting up the nut and the bridge for this one will be fun as I’ve never had a ‘blank’ canvas before.

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Irv
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January 17, 2020 - 5:12 pm
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@Batto and others.  I am currently reading “Identifying Wood” by R. Bruce Hoadley.  Easy to follow and an excellent reference.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Mimi Aysha
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January 20, 2020 - 1:34 pm
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What a fabulous restoration....a fun project, doesn't look easy!

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steveduf
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I like this a lot, can’t wait to see the finish

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Mark
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January 20, 2020 - 7:30 pm
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Looking good

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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starise
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That violin looks as if might have been used to whoop up on invading Plesiosaurs during the Jurassic age.smile

I admire anyone who takes on a project like this. That violin has some very nice features.  I'm sure you'll get it back together and playing soon....well ok I'm not positive about that but if I was a betting man I would say you will have it all back together and playing....Interesting to see the pics and all that is going into it!

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Batto
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January 22, 2020 - 12:23 pm
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31D3E23C-8FD0-41CB-AB5C-B5E2A117DB39.jpegImage Enlarger Got it assembled last night, got both of them assembled. I’m actually surprised by the tone of it. Ignore the electrical tape the fingerboard fell off immediately upon declaring it finished.. so I added more glue to my batch and I took  a file to the underside of the fingerboard to flatten it out a a bit and then rough it up, theory is this will give the glue something to adhere to has to be better than a polished ebony surface. The features of the violin as it sits are a vintage chinrest from 1889,a jujube tailpiece, teller bridge with ebony insert on the E string with a fiddle cut. Horn nut and saddle, and horn pegs. The strings are cheap chinese right now but it has a rich vibrant tone.

 

so you betting men? 😛

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starise
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January 22, 2020 - 12:36 pm
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Congrats on the completions. They both look very nice indeed!

Did you make your own hide glue? I ordered some already made for a bow repair but not sure how good it is.

I have a really dead violin I'm contemplating "cracking it open" so that I can sand and tune it. Changing strings and moving the sound post doesn't help. I think it was a kit  and no work was done on tuning the plates. I'm no luthier, so this will be a learning experience. I might need to take it somewhere to use a tuning jig or see if I can learn how to get it close the old school way.

Giving those old relics a second chance is a wonderful thing!

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Batto
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January 22, 2020 - 3:27 pm
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starise said

Congrats on the completions. They both look very nice indeed!

Did you make your own hide glue? I ordered some already made for a bow repair but not sure how good it is.

I have a really dead violin I'm contemplating "cracking it open" so that I can sand and tune it. Changing strings and moving the sound post doesn't help. I think it was a kit  and no work was done on tuning the plates. I'm no luthier, so this will be a learning experience. I might need to take it somewhere to use a tuning jig or see if I can learn how to get it close the old school way.

 

Giving those old relics a second chance is a wonderful thing!

  

What I did is I bought the graduals and mixed it up in a mason jar with distilled water. You want distilled water as the enemy of hide glue is contamination. I used a candle to heat up and disperse the glue before putting it in a double boiler. Go to a thrift store and find a little crock pot or fondue/salsa/nacho cheese pot. I wired in a lamp dimmer on mine so it has an off an on switch. It’s worked great for 4 repairs.

 

also this violin had a lot of issues here’s what it looked like when I got it. To be honest I bought it for its coffin case and was expecting the violin to be a throwaway or a wall mount. It was even sold as such.

DD36BAEB-B2C3-42DA-8B9C-228106E92BCE.jpegImage Enlarger
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here’s the condition it came in. A lot of repairs were done many that are apparently challenging to do, the back was separating at its spline, and there was a crack in the peg box that somebody used wire to keep together. The wire was patina’d a very distinctive old brown that I’ve only seen on 100+ year old things and combined with the original veneer fingerboard being included really leads me to believe that this violin hasn’t made a sound since the late 1800’s maybe ww1 *tops*
So yes a 100+ years.

theres one more thing I want to do and after that it should be complete until my black diamond strings come in the mail.  I should have an update of what I’m doing next soon.

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GregW
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look at that fingerboard!  do you think thats wear from playing so much in the past or just damage or imperfect wood?  looks like grooves around 1st position where D and A strings would fall.

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Batto
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GregW said
look at that fingerboard!  do you think thats wear from playing so much in the past or just damage or imperfect wood?  looks like grooves around 1st position where D and A strings would fall.

  

It’s a white soft wood that had an ebony veneer on it. Then again in those days people would buy these from catalogues and get it shipped to general stores. Unless you were in a big city good luck finding a luthier so people just used stuff until it grenaded. There’s a more interesting mark on the violin that suggests that somebody was playing frequently high up on the fingerboard  it’s a straight line that exactly lines up to how the hand would be forced to go if you were sliding down the G and the D string 

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GregW
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I was hoping thats what it was.  gives it even more character.  imagine the hours someone or some..ones?  have put into this over the years.  history continues now huh!?

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Batto
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well here’s a collection of photos. I wanted to finish the pegs so I did but I only had the most profession tools around, I mean we all know that Stradivari himself used a hacksaw blade with painters tape wrapped around it right?

also horn pegs are quite an tough thing to cut through, also creates an interesting smell if you go to fast. Literally smells like burnt hair.

i also included a picture of the glue I used you can find it on amazon, it’s an old brand that was recommended by boutique furniture makers and it’s a very good value for money. 

my black diamond strings came in so I strung those up taking the opportunity to round off the ends of the pegs. After tuning it up the front seam opened up which I was keeping an eye on as the button seemed to have a gap. Well of course this caused a small chain reaction of quickly detuning the violin and then hearing the classic rolling sound of the sound post falling over. At least it took me no time at all to retrieve it with my tool. It’s only like the 58th time I’ve had to do it with this violin. Well I have glue cooking up and this time I’ll devote the correct number of clamps and fingers crossed this will be the last time. 

it is like a classic car you just finished. the moment you go for a test drive it starts spewing coolant and oil all over the driveway. Welp back in you go!

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starise
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You really have a knack and the patience to do this kind of thing. Thanks for the info on the hide glue. I am so green I thought Hide glue was called that because it is easy to hide. Nope. Made of animal hides.That's how we mostly learn though, by being wrong and figuring out why.

Just realized that one of them was a fretted violin? Looks like it has frets on the fingerboard. Very nice. On to the next one now?

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Batto
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starise said
You really have a knack and the patience to do this kind of thing. Thanks for the info on the hide glue. I am so green I thought Hide glue was called that because it is easy to hide. Nope. Made of animal hides.That's how we mostly learn though, by being wrong and figuring out why.

Just realized that one of them was a fretted violin? Looks like it has frets on the fingerboard. Very nice. On to the next one now?

  

The frets are actually a sticker, as shameful as it is to admit as much as I can rebuild and tune a violin I can not actually play one yet.
2D9C1637-0410-47C5-B30D-E86269BFFDC0.jpegImage Enlarger 
seem fix is in order,  a bit avante guard as you’re supposed to take apart everything but it was only the button and a portion of the front. I’ve come to the realistic conclusion that the wood on this violin is a but ‘rusty’ when it comes to being strung up. Any string instrument has an impressive amount of pressure applied to it when strung up and conversively being apart and missing out on the 20th century in a coffin case that got wet at one point  would surely make wood lose its shape.

more or less what is happening is the violin is actually settling back into a shape and relieving stresses. So I’m taking a metalworking/certified welder approach and letting it set with the strings still on in order to pull it and let the glue set in the state it will be in. (Hopefully that makes sense to other people and I don’t sound too much like a raving lunatic.)

it’s probably not proper but then again this is a violin with buffalo horn nut, saddle and pegs. 

also the black diamond strings need to get broken in a bit and this is hopefully the last time I set the sound post in this thing. Probably the sound post is dimensionally incorrect with how much of a bear it’s been, but eh? I need to learn more about dealing with soundposts and getting them into position better. 

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Batto
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starise said
You really have a knack and the patience to do this kind of thing. Thanks for the info on the hide glue. I am so green I thought Hide glue was called that because it is easy to hide. Nope. Made of animal hides.That's how we mostly learn though, by being wrong and figuring out why.

Just realized that one of them was a fretted violin? Looks like it has frets on the fingerboard. Very nice. On to the next one now?

  

Also since you’re curious about hide glue something to be weary of is the purity of hide glue. I’m not joking you have to be careful because some of the cheaper (unnamed brands especially) ‘hide’ glued aren’t made from hides fully. Many are actually made from a mixture of animal bone instead maybe mixed in with some hide. This actually changes the properties heavily and will effect how stable the glue is in storage and after its harden. I know that some of the more dubious mixtures will contaminate themselves and you get growths or mold in your glue. 

this is also why I recommend distilled water because there should be no real impurities let alone organic ones. If the hide glue is kept well it can last a decent amount of time, also I’ve heard that some people have had good luck putting leftover hide glue in the freezer but the verdict of whether or not this affects its mechanical properties is unknown.

also don’t use ‘cold’ hide glues like titebond and stuff. It’s a line in the sand for many. Some don’t care about it or understand what they big deal is about but it’s not the right type of glue to use, hide glue allows for violins to be repaired as it’s water solubility is what allows for tight joints to be undone or even cleaned up. Think about it like if a tire place welded the rims of your car to the rotors. Sure it’s not coming off but now removing the flat tire is gonna be a challenge. 

glue that comes in random bottles that claim to be hide glue are chemical cocktails. If hide glue is English cheddar then those bottles are Knock off kraft singles. The preservatives they use also can cause issues I think I read somewhere on a more High brow forum. I think something to do with either acidity or reacting with the varnish and finish? I can’t exactly remember what it was but I’m never going to even attempt to find out. I also believe a similar issue can occur with mystery glue. 

if you want more information look at boutique furniture makers they seem to understand hide glues better than most.

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starise
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titebond.JPGImage EnlargerBatto thanks so much for the information on hide glue. I'll post a pic of the glue I ordered. I ordered it mainly to replace the white plastic tip that broke on my bow when I disassembled it to rehair it. The tips are still on order and haven't arrived. I wanted a glue that could be "undone" if necessary. From reading the reviews this glue is used in violin and guitar repair. I can't yet vouch for how good the glue actually is until I use it. 

Those soundposts, I totally get it. Sometimes they go right in and other times it takes multiple attempts to get it where I want it. Sometimes a combination of sticking a hole in the side to get it in the semi-position I want it and then using other small tools to help move it is the only way.

I like your idea of stringing it beforehand but can't say if that is a benefit or not. I hope it is. I haven't seen the old wooden thread spools as much around here any more. They would make excellent clamps if sawed in two "if" I had the right size. 

Congrats on those!

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Gordon Shumway
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I could say I'll look into this, but I know I have no talent for woodwork, so it's best if I stay out of it.

The only time I ever used hide glue was when sizing artists canvases with rabbitskin glue.

I know that luthiers use a strong glue for the back and a weaker glue for the front, but how do you make glue stronger and weaker? Once hide glue is dry, all the water has evaporated from it, and you end up with the dried stuff, as it was before you hydrated it - no chance of variety as far as I can understand. Do you use different types of hide glue such as rabbitskin and cowskin?

(incidentally, I'd advise people not to bother with a double-boiler, if they are expensive, unless they plan to do large amounts of work. All I ever used was an old saucepan to which I added fragmented glue and hot water.)

Andrew

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Batto
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Gordon Shumway said
I could say I'll look into this, but I know I have no talent for woodwork, so it's best if I stay out of it.

The only time I ever used hide glue was when sizing artists canvases with rabbitskin glue.

I know that luthiers use a strong glue for the back and a weaker glue for the front, but how do you make glue stronger and weaker? Once hide glue is dry, all the water has evaporated from it, and you end up with the dried stuff, as it was before you hydrated it - no chance of variety as far as I can understand. Do you use different types of hide glue such as rabbitskin and cowskin?

(incidentally, I'd advise people not to bother with a double-boiler, if they are expensive, unless they plan to do large amounts of work. All I ever used was an old saucepan to which I added fragmented glue and hot water.)

  


starise said

titebond.JPGImage EnlargerBatto thanks so much for the information on hide glue. I'll post a pic of the glue I ordered. I ordered it mainly to replace the white plastic tip that broke on my bow when I disassembled it to rehair it. The tips are still on order and haven't arrived. I wanted a glue that could be "undone" if necessary. From reading the reviews this glue is used in violin and guitar repair. I can't yet vouch for how good the glue actually is until I use it. 

Those soundposts, I totally get it. Sometimes they go right in and other times it takes multiple attempts to get it where I want it. Sometimes a combination of sticking a hole in the side to get it in the semi-position I want it and then using other small tools to help move it is the only way.

I like your idea of stringing it beforehand but can't say if that is a benefit or not. I hope it is. I haven't seen the old wooden thread spools as much around here any more. They would make excellent clamps if sawed in two "if" I had the right size. 

Congrats on those!

  

Titebound for a quick repair on a bow tip I personally think is fine. Just don’t go building up an entire violin. Also for the wooden clamps I made them myself go on eBay and look up toy truck wheels. You use a carriage bolt with a wing nut and pick up a sheet of corking from where ever you get the carriage bolts and nuts. In my case it was menards.

 

also @Gordon Shumway how does one make stronger Kool aid? It’s a ratio thing of water to glue, also my double boiler only cost 15$ to make if you go out and purchase one then you’re going to be spending but if you go to a thrift store find a little crock pot or those as I’ve said tiny salsa/nacho crock pot things then you can just wire in a lamp dimmer and there you go. Put a mason jar in it and it works great. I’m certain the glue I’m using is cow hide.

the main advantage I’ve found to using a double boiler type design is the fact that the glue is stable and reusable. I’ve been using the same batch I cooked up for awhile now and it’s fine. Once I’m done with my stuff I just put the mason jar in my mini fridge right next to the shinerbock and it’s all good. 

honestly a lot of the tools I use I hand make or I find cheap second hand. look above I knocked down the tuning pegs with a hacksaw blade that had painters tape wrapped around one edge of it to serve as a handle.

im used to not having tools at all so I’ve one of those people who will first try to make what I need I’ll only buy something if it’s cheaper to do so than me making it myself.

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Batto said
how does one make stronger Kool aid? It’s a ratio thing of water to glue  

If you leave strong Kool aid and weak Kool aid in the sun to dry, they'll both turn into the same Kool aid powder, is what I was surmising about rabbitskin glue.

If that's how it works, though, I suppose the quantity of residue that's left will be greater for stronger concentrations.

Andrew

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