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Jun 30, 2020 - 5:41:03 AM
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Snafu

USA

47 posts since 2/2/2014

My bridge was severely warped and since I’m the kind of guy who like to tackle issues myself before paying someone to do it I decided to fix my warped bridge. Taking some lessons from building wooden boat videos, especially steam bending, I figured steaming my bridge might help.

I configured a vice from two paint stirring sticks and rubber bands to keep tension on the fiddle to prevent the sound post from falling and then took the bridge off. I held the warped bridge in the stream of steam exiting from the tea kettle whistle for about 6-8 minutes holding it using long tweezers. Lo and behold the bridge reverted back to its as new condition. I let it cool and dry in a woodworker vice. And back on the fiddle it went.

Lots of trouble posting pictures  but open the .pdf and hopefully they are there.  Not is correct order but you'll figure out the before and after I hope ;)


Edited by - Snafu on 06/30/2020 06:14:08

Jun 30, 2020 - 7:06:33 AM
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carlb

USA

2253 posts since 2/2/2008

I did that once by soaking in water and clamping for a couple of days. Within a week, it was bent again. Never did it again.

Jun 30, 2020 - 7:47:07 AM

265 posts since 7/18/2014

Wow, you must play a lot of slides. Looks like a new one now. I like your sound post holder.

Jun 30, 2020 - 8:37:02 AM

Snafu

USA

47 posts since 2/2/2014

Carl

Time will tell if it holds up but now three day post fix it’s fine. I don’t have AC and play outside mostly so the fiddle regularly sees wide temp and humidity swings. I think the warpage got worse when I took off all my fine tuners and installed Wittner geared pegs.

My theory is that now all tuning up to pitch comes from the geared pegs (fingerboard) direction. There is no offsetting tension applied from the fine tuner side. Over time the warping towards the fingerboard got worse. At least that’s my theory, plus a lot of neglect on my part although I tried to fix it by pulling it back but that never worked.

Jun 30, 2020 - 1:42:51 PM

Swing

USA

1969 posts since 6/26/2007

Yes, that one reason for the warping of the bridge.....you really have to use a lot of pencil graphite in the slots to keep that from happening..... I am taking the geared pegs off my five string and going back to regular wooden pegs and fine tuners....

Play Happy

Swing

Jun 30, 2020 - 2:36:25 PM

2048 posts since 10/22/2007

Blank bridges are too cheap for me to not just carve up a new one.

Jun 30, 2020 - 4:12:53 PM
Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2253 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

Blank bridges are too cheap for me to not just carve up a new one.


Carving a new bridge takes a fair amount of skill and patience and a string lifter makes the work easier. My fiddle doctor only goes with carving with sharp tools; no sandpaper. The cost of the bridge is low ( maybe $16 for a high quality blank) relative to the money one would pay a luthier for fitting a bridge; maybe about $100. I do carve my own. It does take time and patience.

Jun 30, 2020 - 5:50:13 PM

2048 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by carlb
quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

Blank bridges are too cheap for me to not just carve up a new one.


Carving a new bridge takes a fair amount of skill and patience and a string lifter makes the work easier. My fiddle doctor only goes with carving with sharp tools; no sandpaper. The cost of the bridge is low ( maybe $16 for a high quality blank) relative to the money one would pay a luthier for fitting a bridge; maybe about $100. I do carve my own. It does take time and patience.


Last time i bought, they were 8-10 USD. 5 or ten years ago. The only machine work i do is with a stationary disk sander. Probably takes me about half an hour. You can wrap a piece of tape around the neck to keep the strings on the pegs. Generally, i don't. 

Learning steam bending is a fine skill. Learning to carve bridges is also. If a reader has not learned either skill yet, i personally would put my time into learning bridge carving, as it seems a better option than straightening. No big deal. Just my opinion.

Jun 30, 2020 - 6:37:56 PM
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1797 posts since 8/27/2008

I'd suggest flattening a warped bridge dry with a clothes iron, no moisture. No special skill involved. Just get the iron hot like you're going to iron cotton, and iron your bridge.

In general, it's important to make sure your bridgestays perpendicular to the ribs, so the string tension is very close to equal in both directions. You can learn how to hold the bridge between your thumb and forefinger and wiggle it into place after tuning when needed.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 06/30/2020 18:39:22

Jun 30, 2020 - 8:00:01 PM
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197 posts since 3/1/2020

This was discussed on violinist.com already:
violinist.com/discussion/threa...page=4366

Straightening a bridge is something that requires an understanding of how a bridge should fit. It can be done, although it’s not the best thing to do in cases of severe warpage. Any time wood is bent the fibers become weaker. The more sever the bridge warps, the more it has to bend back, and the higher the chance it will fail or warp again.

Jun 30, 2020 - 9:13:37 PM

1797 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

This was discussed on violinist.com already:
violinist.com/discussion/threa...page=4366

Straightening a bridge is something that requires an understanding of how a bridge should fit. It can be done, although it’s not the best thing to do in cases of severe warpage. Any time wood is bent the fibers become weaker. The more sever the bridge warps, the more it has to bend back, and the higher the chance it will fail or warp again.

True enough, at least the part about it’s likelyhood of warping again. But sometimes they don’t. I don’t know about understanding how a bridge should fit because presumably we’re talking about a bridge that already fits, it has just warped. It’s not hard to try flattening a bridge with dry  heat at all. If it doesn’t stay flat it’s time for a new bridge. No harm in trying.


Jul 1, 2020 - 9:04:18 AM
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197 posts since 3/1/2020

By “understanding the fit” I mean knowing about the proper fit of the feet, the correct orientation, etc. Many bridges warp because they don’t fit properly, so straightening only solves one problem but doesn’t get to the root. If you add moisture to the bridge, the fit may change. Feet that don’t fit are a liability, as they can damage the top and cause the bridge to lean and fall or warp.

Jul 5, 2020 - 11:49:23 AM

3 posts since 7/5/2020

Avoid using too much pencil (graphite) on your bridge. Or, much better if you just get a new one and have a lutheir to set it up for you.

Jul 5, 2020 - 12:32:03 PM

1797 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

...If you add moisture to the bridge, the fit may change.


That's right, don't add moisture.

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