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Nov 4, 2020 - 2:31:44 AM



378 posts since 5/24/2016

Another question on this new old fiddle.

You can see in the pictures that this fiddle has a very tightly fit sound post. The inside edge of the f-hole is quite elevated and the place where the sound post is positioned appears to be bulging out. The top plate seems to be "folding" around it. At least it is not broken, and of course I'd like to take action to avoid a break there.

I think it's clear that I need to remove & shorten the post, but my question is for how long should/can I wait to replace it?

I have a feeling that I should leave the top plate to settle for a while to see where it naturally wants to rest.

I have several open seams to glue (no cracks thank god), so I'm thinking I could remove the sound post now, slowly glue the seams over the course of a week or two (I only have enough clamps for just under half the fiddle at a time).

I'm thinking I should not to any more cleaning work on the top plate until it is all glued up and supported by the soundpost. Of course I'll use hide glue for the seams.

I'd love to hear your opinions and advice!

Nov 4, 2020 - 11:11:03 AM

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

I've been thinking about your question. If you have open seams already some tension has already been released. Once you finish taking the top all the way off I don't think you're going to see much change in what you've got. If your top's been deformed it has likely settled into it's shape. There are ways to make molds and push the top back into a more ideal state. I've never done that. I'd ask your question on The Pegbox where you will likely get replies from experienced luthiers. Good luck!

Nov 4, 2020 - 3:33:06 PM
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975 posts since 6/26/2007

Hard to tell much from the pictures. What is the post position now? It may just need to be moved slightly west (toward the center). I would do that first anyway, then shorten the post if it really needs it. If you need to reshape the top, I would string it at low tension, moving the post to keep it fairly loose, and give the string tension time to do its job. May take weeks.

Nov 4, 2020 - 9:46:58 PM

17 posts since 5/17/2013

What is the humidity level where your violin lives? I have had violins spend over three weeks at high humidity before they regained richness and stability. It also addressed the shrill brittle quality of tone. On second thought, that part could have been my fault.

Personally if I tried to address the humidity of the wood, I would not attempt it with an overly tight soundpost in place. 

Edited by - TimeTension on 11/04/2020 21:51:03

Nov 5, 2020 - 8:47:38 AM



432 posts since 8/6/2013

Once bought a fiddle with the sound post glued in place.. in the wrong place! Involved a front plate removal, sawing the thing out and eventually a sound post patch. Good news - sounded great when it was done.

Nov 5, 2020 - 1:04:16 PM
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9038 posts since 3/19/2009

Originally posted by RichJ

Once bought a fiddle with the sound post glued in place.. in the wrong place! Involved a front plate removal, sawing the thing out and eventually a sound post patch. Good news - sounded great when it was done.

Rich, someone needs to invent a 'side access' fiddle soze we can reach in and move that post around..THEN glue it in place  laugh

Nov 5, 2020 - 7:27:39 PM
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368 posts since 3/1/2020

When there’s such a sharply defined ridge like what’s in your picture, it tends to be caused by a post that only touches on one spot on the top (instead of fitting all the way around). The focused pressure on such a small point, together with poor placement of the post, can wreak such havoc.

Removing the post is a good place to start, but be extremely careful—wood under stress can crack when the stressor is removed suddenly. Once it’s out of the way, look very closely at the soundpost area on the inside of the top as well as the outside. If there’s a crack, it’ll need a patch to be usable again.

As far as undoing the distortion, removing the post and letting the violin rest for a while may have some impact, but I doubt it will change much. If the post has been in place for a long time, the wood has become accustomed to that shape and won’t just snap back without some help.

Cutting a shorter post will alleviate some tension and may help with the distortion, but it may not be possible to completely reverse the damage without doing arching correction.

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