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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Fiddle "renewed by" A. F. Anderson

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Mark Ralston - Posted - 01/31/2021:  03:24:04

Linda likes old chairs because they prompt her to think about the role that individual chairs played in a family's day-to-day existence. I also have a romantic interest in old musical instruments and the roles they may have played in someone's life. I also like to check out repairs on old instruments...... some repairs are pretty coarse, some more elegant. I'm working on a Stainer copy fiddle that was "renewed by" A. F. Anderson of Junction City, Kansas in March 1895. I found a couple of mentions of Anderson on-line, and he seems to have been a reasonably good luthier. He may have regraduated the top, based on what appear to be scraper marks in what looks like a thinner-than-usual top for a German workshop fiddle. The bottom of the purfling is also visible in places, which may indicate re-graduation/thinning. It looks like he put in a new bass bar, which he signed, and put in some fabric reinforcement in strategic places.

The fiddle looks like it was played quite a bit, based on the wear to the dark finish. It looks as though someone (with a less careful hand) may have tinkered with the soundpost, based on damage to the treble f-hole. That, or a mouse wanted to check out the interior of the fiddle.

Anderson's work was pretty nice. Last picture is an example of a hurry-up-and-git'er-done repair (NOT done by Anderson) to a tenor banjo head as comic relief.

Linda and I are both probably more susceptible this week to romanticism about the (musical) past because we're currently re-watching Ken Burns' documentary on Country Music.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 01/31/2021:  05:16:59

Nice photos.. I'm 'taken' by the creative banjo head repair!!!

ChickenMan - Posted - 01/31/2021:  06:23:14

Neat! How often is fabric used?
Or carpet thread and fiberglass? :-D

Mark Ralston - Posted - 01/31/2021:  06:33:31

Chickenman - I can't speak from personal experience about how common it is to use fabric in reinforcing a crack. Wooden cleats are probably the most common reinforcement. "Violin Restoration" (Weisshaar & Shipman) mentions using artisan paper (Japanese paper, washi, kozo, etc.) or linen for reinforcement. Same reference recommends NOT using animal parchment / hide or hide glue, which was my first thought for reinforcing the wood that I replaced at the f-hole.

Same reference does not mention fiberglass or carpet thread.   wink

Edited by - Mark Ralston on 01/31/2021 06:35:28

ChickenMan - Posted - 01/31/2021:  09:39:23

Was this the first fabric repair you've come across? I know you've seen a bunch of fiddles...
It seems like an ingenious idea if it works, maybe only for an area that is stressed but not fully cracked or broken. Reminds me of covering plywood with canvas and glue in a camper build, or canvas covered foam in RC airplane construction. Thin, light and strong.

Mark Ralston - Posted - 01/31/2021:  10:46:53

This may be the first fabric reinforcement that I've seen that used decent workmanship. I've seen fiberglass, body putty, wood scraps, epoxy, linoleum flooring, plywood, drywall screws, staples, tin flashing, cedar shingles, etc. slapped on using the "git-'er-done" approach. I work on a lot more "country fiddles" than "violins".

Edited by - Mark Ralston on 01/31/2021 10:48:17

DougD - Posted - 01/31/2021:  11:08:50

Billy, I recently came across this discussion on Maestronet on using parchment to reinforce crack repairs:
Maybe Mr. Anderson replaced the bass bar because the original was carved in. I have a fiddle where this was done since I've owned it. The instrument was repaired in 1911 by Jenkins Music in Kansas City, so its maybe the same vintage as yours.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 01/31/2021:  16:56:49

Mark Ralston -- love the pics!

RobBob - Posted - 02/01/2021:  07:32:39

Hey Mark, I knew to body work guys who ended up repairing fiddles, one was a good fiddler. Other repair people reported finding bondo in some fiddles the later one repaired. I have a banjo with a skin head with super glue holding a tear or two together. It has been that way for at least a decade and never hurt the sound one bit.

farmerjones - Posted - 02/01/2021:  10:16:26

Brand new C. F. Martin guitar has a bit of cloth glued at the junction of the x-bracing.

Have seen synthetic banjer head material punched out with a paper punch. These dots were used as reinforcement along a crack. Mylar? Should be pretty strong, especially for the weight.

Something more wettable/permeable could be that fine glass cloth used for building fake fingernails.

Edited by - farmerjones on 02/01/2021 10:17:52

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