This violin underwent a major restoration project before it could become part of our inventory. The top of the instrument had multiple cracks in the area of the bridge, soundpost, and bass bar. This area of the violin receives all the pressure of the strings, and cracks in this region can be devastating to an instrument. A top patch is put in place as a reinforcement even after the cracks are glued.
While this may seem like a major repair, many old instruments have this done in one way or another. Time takes its toll on old instruments, and as violin makers, we do our best work to restore them to their full potential.
The process starts by first pouring a plaster mold of the outside of the instrument; this creates a perfect cradle for the instrument as well as ensuring that the shape of the top doesn’t change while work is being done on the instrument.
Then the shape of the patch is traced on to the interior and that section is hollowed out in preparation for the fitting of the patch.
Once scraped and cleaned, the patch is then roughly fit to the curve of the top.
Small cleats are temporarily glued into place around the patch, so that it doesn’t move during the final fitting and gluing.
The fit of the patch is measured by using soft chalk, and is hand cut to fit precisely in the patch area and then glued. The patch is then cut down and shaped to the original thickness of the violin top, and then colored to match the rest of the inside. The result is a reinforced top that is made stronger than the original, yet still to the thickness and shape of the original inside of the violin.