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Jan 13, 2021 - 12:41:41 PM
113 posts since 9/17/2017

Okay, took the top off an old violin first time. Gonna try to fix cracks.

Saw a youtube video youtube.com/watch?v=on_KjI5ivdI where a guy did his repairs using tape, rubber bands, and a clever DIY edge clamp. No cleats. I'd expect a lot of negative feedback on this technique but if I got a serviceable violin at the end I'd be happy.

Looking at more traditional ideas using clamps and cleats;
Does everyone use hide glue for crack repairs? It would seem that other glues might be better for cracks since you never expect to unglue them.

Where do people go to get spruce repair material for cleats and other violin repairs? Home Depot?

Jan 13, 2021 - 1:19:42 PM

banjopaolo

Italy

90 posts since 9/14/2010

Hi IndianaJones! It’s a while I don’t hear you...

I’m not a luthier so other on this forum will help you better than me, in any case when I have made some repairs I’ve always used clamps and ‘animal glue’ (in Italy we call it fish glue... )

I coudn’t open the video link you posted because the connection is not good tonight!

Hope you can get some better advices here!

Jan 13, 2021 - 1:44:03 PM

DougD

USA

9921 posts since 12/2/2007

I doubt you'll find properly seasoned spruce at Home Depot. Here's an article about making and installing cleats: trianglestrings.com/making-ins...g-cleats/
I searched for "violin repair cleats" and several informative looking videos came up.

Jan 13, 2021 - 1:54:06 PM

113 posts since 9/17/2017

Hi Paolo - Been lurking and haven't has a lot of time to post. I have heard of fish glue. Probably a lot of different recipes ;-)

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:15:07 PM

113 posts since 9/17/2017

Hey Doug, thanks for the link. I'm already out of luck. No belt sander, no band saw, no calipers....
I have some friends though that have these things. Where would you get properly seasoned wood for this. I kinda expected somebody like stewmac would sell stock for this purpose.

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:23:33 PM

8885 posts since 3/19/2009

Hide glue works, but Please don't use the Liquid Hide GLue..get the type that needs to be heated/melted.. Experts will soon be on here, hopefully, telling you the same thing..

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:39:49 PM

113 posts since 9/17/2017

Hey Lee - Done enough research to expect what you say about hide glue is true. And I think you qualify as an expert. I've seen one of your banjos. But seriously from what I've read, Hide glue is brittle and is weakened perhaps by heat and humidity and while great for gluing things that you might want to take apart later like gluing the top to the body but not so great for a crack repair. I'm not trying to start an argument, just wondered if there was anybody with experience and a different idea.

BTW, I have a bottle of the liquid hide glue and it is tempting me :-)

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:55:09 PM

Mobob

USA

146 posts since 10/1/2009

I found diamond shaped spruce cleats for sale on ebay, took a couple weeks getting here but they work fine after proper sanding. I use fish glue from international violin supply in Baltimore (NFI) works well with standard clamps. Best luck

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:56:20 PM

974 posts since 6/26/2007

DON'T use the liquid hide glue. That would guarantee that sooner or later you would have to redo the job. If you do a good enough job on the cracks, it is not always essential to cleat them. I do because it isn't much trouble. You don't need "properly seasoned" spruce just for cleats. Doesn't even have to be spruce. Willow, poplar or pine would work.

Taking the cracks apart is not the problem. If you don't get the cracks clean enough, clamped well enough or an accident re-breaks some, hide glue is easy to clean up. Most other glues will not stick to themselves so you may not get a second chance.

Jan 13, 2021 - 3:25:52 PM
likes this

856 posts since 1/25/2008

The guy in the video is a hack. I'd love to see what kind of a job he does on the bassbar!

Jan 13, 2021 - 3:36:43 PM

113 posts since 9/17/2017

Lyle - Not going to use hide glue, I promise. So, one of hide glues benefits is its forgiving. I suppose there are not that many choices. I was wondering if anyone used different woods for the cleats. Its also good to know that cleats are not essential.

Bob - Thanks for the information on finding the cleats on ebay. I may do the same.

Jan 13, 2021 - 4:54:09 PM

8 posts since 3/8/2018

Hide glue for the crack. Hide flue for the cleats. Hide glue to glue the top back on. Just not the Franklin Liquid Hide glue.

Edited by - luthier65 on 01/13/2021 16:55:03

Jan 14, 2021 - 11:05:12 AM

278 posts since 3/1/2020

Hit hide glue is the best glue for the job, hence its continued use over millennia.

Doing repairs so they can never be reversed is a hallmark of amateur workmanship. With VERY few exceptions, repair work should be reversible, so that luthiers who work on the instrument in the future won’t have to deal with repairs that won’t come apart.

Leaving cracks glued without cleats is risky, as hide glue is moisture-soluble and can break down. The cleats provide support and strength to damaged areas.

I would be very careful using fish glue. Although somewhat similar in its working characteristics, it does not behave the same way when dry. I’ve seen a lot of cheap factory instruments put together with it, and they were often miserable to deal with when the tops needed to be removed.

As a restorer, I spend a lot of time undoing repair work. It’s much harder when the work is done with adhesives that aren’t designed for instrument repair, as they tend to require much more time and toil to remove. Other adhesives are stronger in certain applications, but hide works best for violins.

Crack repair really isn’t such a simple task. It’s not something you can learn well from a DIY video.

Jan 14, 2021 - 11:28:59 AM

1854 posts since 8/27/2008

For all that’s said about using cleats for crack repairs I always wonder about changes in the response and tone of the affected violin. Volumes are written about making a good top by carefull thicknessing and graduating but hardly a word about gluing slabs of wood on afterword. Granted it’s sometimes necessary, but adding the least possible mass of wood , especially with crossing grain direction, is important.

Jan 14, 2021 - 2:12:16 PM

4963 posts since 9/26/2008

I suppose that's why the cleat is shaped the way it is, eh? Less mass, less interruption of the soundboard.

Jan 14, 2021 - 5:13:09 PM

8885 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by indianajones

Hey Lee - Done enough research to expect what you say about hide glue is true. And I think you qualify as an expert. I've seen one of your banjos. But seriously from what I've read, Hide glue is brittle and is weakened perhaps by heat and humidity and while great for gluing things that you might want to take apart later like gluing the top to the body but not so great for a crack repair. I'm not trying to start an argument, just wondered if there was anybody with experience and a different idea.

BTW, I have a bottle of the liquid hide glue and it is tempting me :-)


laughPLease don't use it!!! PLeeeese!!

Jan 14, 2021 - 7:56:21 PM

113 posts since 9/17/2017

NOT gonna use liquid hide glue, I swear! Looked at the price for a glue pot on stewmac. Not paying that. A hot plate maybe. How about clamps and clamping techniques? I'm leaning towards these little clamps from a company called Yinfente that are localized along the crack rather than spanning the entire top but they sound like they could be difficult to use correctly.

Jan 14, 2021 - 8:03:56 PM

294 posts since 1/5/2009

Make your own clamps, just use an all thread washers and wing nuts. You will need to make some wood or plastic blocks for the edges. Then you slightly add a arch to the all thread.
Size the all thread for the area you will be clamping. You can view the clamps on the suppliers web site. Just remember to dry fit everything before you add the glue.

Jan 14, 2021 - 8:17:27 PM

DougD

USA

9921 posts since 12/2/2007

As far as a glue pot, I used to use a hot plate, old saucepan, and a small jar sitting on a scrap piece of wood to keep it off the bottom of the pan. A kitchen/candy thermometer to check the temperature. I think my luthier actually used a similar setup. Its essentially a double boiler.
Don't know what clamps you need, but there are lots of inexpensive ones available at Harbor Freight.
The article I linked to showed how this job might be done in a shop, but you don't need power tools. A sanding block and a fine tooth saw work fine. Some kind of calipers are handy, and a good rule.

Jan 14, 2021 - 8:20:16 PM

294 posts since 1/5/2009

Here you go.

 

Edited by - Fiddlemaker5224 on 01/14/2021 20:21:01

Jan 15, 2021 - 11:03:28 AM

278 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Its essentially a double boiler.


I'd call it a water bath, not a double boiler. A double boiler setup involves a bottom pot with water that doesn't come into contact with the top pot. As the water in the bottom pot heats up, it releases steam, which is trapped by the top pot and builds up heat.

Glue pots have a heating element that  heats the outside of the pot, which heats the water. Your glue jar goes into the water to pick up heat. The temperature is well below boiling for the health of the glue and so that the water isn't burned off too rapidly.

Jan 16, 2021 - 2:07:04 PM

8 posts since 3/8/2018

I heat my hide glue in a lil dipper: amazon.com/Crock-Pot-16-Ounce-...0000CCY14

cut a hole in the lid for your baby food jar, and you are good to go. Just make sure that you keep the water lever high enough in the pot. Don't let it go dry or get too low.

Edited by - luthier65 on 01/16/2021 14:07:54

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