This violin had a horrible repair on the center back seam. There was so much glue on the uneven seam that it looked like someone had glued it with epoxy, ugh. Anyway, I told him that i could see if it would come apart. After steaming the globed on glue, it started to loosen up, then I could carefully peel it off. There were lots of small cleats and more glue on the inside. I thought the 1/2 glued cleats would help iline up, no luck. So I removed the back. The center seam had glue and varnish between the halves.
- I carefully started cleaning up the seams. One photo shows the before and after of the seam.
- Made a mold of just the center seam
- Created a couple of plastic molds
- Used the plastic mold to help me align the two halves while I chalk fitted the seams, both the left & right sides.
- Clamped the center seam together. This method usually takes 2 days to dry because there isn't much outside air to help the hyde glue to dry.
- Fitted the cleats and clamped them into place. Using the plastic is a quick method for clamping. If you use a clamp directly on each cleat, they always want to shift or rotate. Note the very thin needle nose pliers that I use to make micro adjustments for each cleat.
- Thinned the cleats
- Glued the back onto the rib structure. When gluing the back on it takes several days because the first step is making sure the button is fitting perfectly to the neck and the bottom part of the back is exactly centered with the bottom block. In this case the "c" bouts aligned very good so I glued them at the same time, but sometimes you need to glue those on another day. The next day finish gluing the upper and lower seams.
- The last step is using a small amount of clear on the seam to protect it from dirt and the weather.
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Center seams sometimes split open. For instruments that do not warrent taking the top off, they can usually be repaired from the outside.
Here is a rental cello from another shop where the back seam opened up. After the the seam had been clamped for two days, I added some "temporary" glue cleats through the ff hole using a long wire and a drop of glue. These temporary cleats hold the seam together without having to fit a real wood cleat. If the cello is ever taken apart in the future, these glue cleats can easily be removed and real wood cleats can be fitted. The easiest way to remove these "temporary" glue cleats is to take a damp piece of paper towell and let it sit only over the glue cleat. After about 15 minutes, they can be easily cut away using a gouge and scraper.
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