Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Violin Repair Job - Part 3 Completion

The bridge in position
I shaped the underside of the bridge by putting a small piece of self adhesive sandpaper onto the body over the sound post location. Fortunately the sound-post had remained in position for at least the last 50+ years. Normally they fall out when string tension is relieved but it hadn't in this case. Next I gently rubbed the bottom of the bridge against the sandpaper until it was exactly the same profile as the top. I used a pre-finished 4/4 (full size) bridge so that was the only work I needed to do.

After removing the sandpaper I oiled the fingerboard with some lemon oil. The finish on the rest of the body just needed a polish over with a damp cloth and some proprietary violin polish. I made sure it wasn't a polish containing silicones as the finish is French polish on the violin. It came up great considering it's age and the condition it came to me in.

Using the coils of the string to force
the tapered tuners into the tapered holes.
 The next job was to restring it. First of all I used all-metal strings. However I found that the tuners slipped and it would not stay in tune even after leaving the strings to stretch and the tension seemed high. I suddenly had a thought - the original stringing of this particular violin was probably using an animal derived string. The closest modern string to this is a nylon cored string. These are about 4 or 5 times as expensive. I bought a set and fitted them. They worked perfectly and there was less tension on the structure.

The finished violin
I don't play violin but brought it up to concert pitch and left it overnight. The next day it had not lost any appreciable tuning. It sounds like I think it should sound but maybe a player could make any necessary micro adjustments. The violin is now back in it's battered case waiting to go back to its owner. This was a fun project and I hope I have given a new lease of life back to the violin to carry on another 100 years.

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