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Violin Soundpost Patch

This old family heirloom was brought to me to be restored back to playing condition.   It needs quite a bit of work including a soundpost patch.

The before pic This is the violin before I started. It's in pretty bad shape.
all cleaned up The first step was to clean off all the old grime. What a difference it made. If you look closely you can see old touch up from a previous top repair. This is just the first stage of cleaning, it will get all polished up again at the end.
popping the top The top has to come off. I like to use a super sharp knife for this.
under the hood Taking a look under the hood, you can see all the old repair cleats. All of this will need to be redone.
crack close-up Here is a close-up of the first crack. As you can see it has opened back up over the years and will have to be completely disassembled and re-glued.
clean the crack The old cleats come off and the crack gets cleaned out.
new cleats Then, in a multi stage process the crack is re-glued and new cleats are installed.
thinning the cleats Once everything is dry the cleats can be thinned down and smoothed out.
crack 2 This same process is repeated for all the remaining cracks.
crack 3 again
crack 4 and again until they are all re-glued and re-cleated
making the mold In order to do the soundpost patch a plaster mold must be made of the top.
plaster The plaster is in and starting to set.
mold finished Here you can see the final mold. It's not the prettiest mold I have ever made, but it is more than sufficient for this repair.
spruce I picked out a nice piece of spruce to make the patch out of.
digging the hole The area under the patch is carved away leaving less than 1mm of old wood.
patch The patch is now roughed in.
blocks Small blocks are temporarily glued to the top to assure perfect realignment as I fit the patch perfectly to the hole.
chalk fitting I use chalk to show where the new wood fits the old.
starting to fit This is fitting much better now.
yay it fits Once the piece is fitted, the hole is cleaned out and the patch is split.
glue time The patch is glued in place on my go-bar table with a fresh batch of hot hide glue.
carve the patch The patch is then carved down to match the surface of the violin top.
last two cleats The final two cleats get installed
completed sp patch Here is what the patch looks like when it's all finished.
top goes on The top gets glued back on.
A new soundpost is fitted A new soundpost is fitted
This is what the new soundpost looks like inside the violin. This is what the new soundpost looks like inside the violin.
set up The violin gets a complete setup including a finger board planing, a new bridge and strings.
reaming The old pegs were completely shot, so new ones will have to be fitted. First the old holes are reamed out.
new pegs And new pegs are fitted one at a time.
all done After a final polish and some touch up, the violin is finally finished.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this old violin transform back into a working instrument.  As always thanks for reading and feel free to post comments and questions.

 

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