Wairarapa Violins:
repairs and restorations

        Contact: Stephen Butcher                                                                                                  

Here is a little photo essay on a recent restoration. The violin had damage to edges which is normal for an instrument of its age. The original varnish had turned jet black and been already been removed.

This first photo is of a new block of wood being glued in to replace a missing edge. The rubber band applies gentle pressure to the join simply to stop the new wood sliding until the glue tacks off.

The aim with these edge repairs is to make the fit very close. A good fit should see the new part held in place by suction before it is glued.

And, on to another edge.

These are easy repairs where the damage or wear has not gone back to the purfling. These wide grain tops have certainly caused many a violinist a moment of grief as a crack or split in the edge gets caught on clothing. Better to glue it properly before it gets caught!

When the repair goes back to the purfling, the join has to be perfectly fitted to both the purfling and the grain lines of the original wood.

Nearly there. The new wood looks awful against the original but every luthier has their little secrets for aging the new wood a hundred years or so before refinishing. My methods take a little longer than others...

The corner is gone but the purfling is intact so another easy fix. The tricky part is getting the new part shaped so that it is dimensionally correct and looks like the hand of the original maker.

This is a judgment call - to completely disguise the repair or leave evidence. I've taken the latter path of leaving the history visible.

Another corner. Nearly there.

A small insert to fill a borer channel. Pesky wee insects when they get inside an instrument and the one or two holes on the outside really don't give a true picture of their diligent tunneling. Stopped by the purfling in this case.

The finished belly.

The scroll.

And the finished back.


Bow rehairs (coming soon)

Violin Strings and Things (coming soon)

Sheet Music (coming soon)


txt: 021 08251625    email: sphlat@actrix.co.nz