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Collapsed 120 yr old german fiddle

Posted by albert52 on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This is when a grown man of 61 gets to cry...alot.  My 120 yr old German violin collapsed on me tonight.  I can and will repair but it will never be the same.

14 comments on “Collapsed 120 yr old german fiddle”

fiddleiphile Says:
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 @11:05:01 PM

I feel for you. That's painful to even look at.

richdissmore Says:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @7:45:39 AM

sorry to hear that albert i know you can repair it good luck

Royce Burt Says:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @10:27:13 AM

What happened to make it do that?

Rene Says:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @6:07:06 PM

I have an old german fiddle that has a crack in the same place................uhhhhh

albert52 Says:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @10:27:20 PM

when I got it in 2010 there were 3 cracks in it. One went from the back rib up to the f hole but was a shallow crack and I top glued it. The one in the middle was the same and the one running up by the side of the Bridge feet wasn't there, or so I thought.

All in all the fiddle was pretty sturdy with the top gluing. I was straightening the bridge from leaning forward, resting my hand as I do normally with no pressure, shifted the bridge ever so slightly and all of sudden my hand was inside the fiddle. Looking inside now, I can see there was a fabric repair done on the top plate, that is why I did not see a crack going up by the Bridge foot. It was nicely seamed back when that repair was done over 60 yrs ago. Problem with using fabric is it has a tendency of "drying" out and its stability becomes questionable. I wish they had used cleats.

Oh well. I'll be using cleats and ensure they are carved to match the inside of the top plate. Lots of work ahead...yippee :(

fiddleiphile Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @5:40:20 AM

It always happens to the favorite fiddles. My favorite is sitting with a broken peg box. (right in the middle, all the way off). A very old repair simply let go one day. Now it's another project fiddle.

martynspeck Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @8:54:26 AM

That will motivate me to get my old fiddle's cracks that I've had top glued, cleated.

Royce Burt Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @12:00:55 PM

With a little time you can repair it fine. That old dry wood is fragile. The trick will be getting the top off safely without originating any new cracks around the edges or corners. Once you get it off the repair won't be too bad. Just take your time and it should turn out fine. Some of the best fiddles I've ever played had a few cracks.

Royce Burt Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @12:15:47 PM

One other suggestion I would say is when you get the top glued back together and cleated. Put a small thin Soundpost patch on the area of top where the soundpost goes. About a 1 1/2" circle finished off thin with the grain going cross way to the top grain. This will give the stressed area extra support down the road. Just make sure you finish the edges of the patch well so your soundpost doesn't get hooked up when your installing it later. Make the patch where it is no more than .5 of a millimeter thick. You'll need to thin your patch down a good bit before glueing so that it will seat well with the contour of the curved top. Since you're going crossgrain with the top the patch will be a little difficult to seat without some shaping before the glueing occurs. This is just a suggestion to think about. You may have a totally different approach but when I looked at your picture I formulated in my mind what I would do.

albert52 Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @6:30:10 PM

thanks for the suggestions Royce
the patch for the post will actually be used as part of the cleating as the one crack is right by the foot of the bridge anyhow
I take it that you done a few repairs yourself

Royce Burt Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @7:09:56 PM

Yep, done a few over the years. Sounds like you'll get the job done just fine. Hopefully it'll sound great when you're done and the whole ordeal will be a success story in the end.

albert52 Says:
Thursday, April 11, 2013 @9:08:11 PM

I will be taking photos of each step and post them as an album.
Strangely, I am looking forward to this job. It's been a couple of years since I have had to do one like this. That one was not only a collapse of a small area, but also the sound post coming up through the violin. It's not really all that hard (if one knows woodworking repair techniques) but is time consuming and meticulous work.

Mandogryl Says:
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @1:24:39 PM

That is very fixable. Should sound about the same, too. I have a cello crack repair album on my Homepage here if you want to see some pictures. Best of luck!

albert52 Says:
Saturday, April 13, 2013 @9:32:06 PM

Thanks Stephanie
I looked at your photos. That sound post patch was a little scary.

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