Repairing Sound Post Wear on a 1734 Guarneri del Gesu

Over the years even great instruments experience routine treatment that results in conditions that must be corrected through careful restoration. Such was the case with a 1734 Guarneri del Gesu that was brought to Gregg Alf. The belly of this instrument had suffered considerable wear from periodic sound post adjustments. The following images display the process that Gregg Alf undertook to correct this problem.

You may click on any of the images to see a larger version.

dg01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The top of a 1734 Guarneri del Gesu violin

dg02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Inside of belly showing soundpost wear. Note that there was also a previous patch.

 

dg03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. This close-up shows why string players should not attempt to adjust their own sound posts.

 

dg04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Gregg has made a cast (seen through the f-hole) to support the work. He has also made a paper mask that will be used to align the patch.

 

dg05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. This image displays a close-up of the worn wood being removed with a chisel. Next the same area will be carefully scraped.

 

dg06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. With the patch, mask and surface prepared, Gregg is ready to fit the patch.

 

dg07

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. With the patch, mask and surface prepared, Gregg is ready to fit the patch.

 

dg08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. The mask is removed.

 

dg09

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Cleats are prepared.

 

dg10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Chalk is used to achieve a perfect fit.

 

dg11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Gluing

 

dg12

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. With the cast supporting the work, the patch is glued.

 

dg13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Clamping the patch in place

 

dg14

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Once in place the cleats will allow the patch to be removed and replaced in the same position during fitting.

 

dg15

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. The cleats have now been removed.

 

dg16

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. After the glue is dry, the excess wood is removed.

 

dg17

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. A paper separator helps to remove the working stock from the base of the patch.

 

dg18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Here we have the base of the patch prior to final trimming with gouge, plane, then scraper. Note that the one-grain clockwise rotation is no longer in fashion in many restoration shops.

 

dg19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. The job is done!