Double Bass corner restoration

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matthew
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Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:40 pm

Here's a quick recap of a corner replacement on an approx 150 year old double bass.

The corner had already been chopped off diagonally by another repairer, but it was shoddily done, and it crumbled apart. If I had been replacing the corner for the first time, I would probably have tried to cut the damaged corner off in sections along the wood grain lines,instead of one diagonal saw cut. But as you can see, I think I hid the repair quite well.

Hide glue, shellac and custom made purfling ...

Getting the wear and cracquelure looking nice is quite a challenge.
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by charangohabsburg » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:34 am

matthew wrote:Getting the wear and cracquelure looking nice is quite a challenge.
And you mastered it very well! :cl :cl :cl
May I ask how did you achieve that cracquelure?
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:33 pm

you have to use something that shrinks as it dries - like a clay pan - over a soft varnish layer. it's hard to control. too thick and you get massive cracks, too fast and it pulls away, too soft ditto, too thin or too slow the cracquelure doesn't work at all or it is too fine. too hard ditto ... a lot of trial and error.

I use a mud made of van dyke brown crystals. it washes off after. experimenting with other things ... fine clay might work well.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by rocket » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:48 pm

Love your work Mathew :cl :cl :cl
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by charangohabsburg » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:00 pm

Thank you Matthew for describing this most interesting technique. I didn't even know what van dyke brown crystals are or that they existed. It would not be you if you hadn't experimented until getting this technique down to perfection. Congrats again!
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:23 pm

i didn't invent the technique; I heard about it ... but there is very little published information on it. it's one of those things you either have to learn by watching someone else - or experimenting!

Oh and ... I haven't "perfected" it ... but I'm getting better at it.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by Nick » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:37 am

matthew wrote:Oh and ... I haven't "perfected" it ... but I'm getting better at it.
Looks pretty damn fine to me! Nice repair and thanks for sharing Matthew :D .
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by J.F. Custom » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:06 pm

Wow :shock:

Cracking job Matthew. Great effort. 8)

Jeremy.

*Edit - Oh dear, that's an unintentional bad pun right there... :roll:

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:41 pm

Nicely done.

repairs like that, I usually just sand and refinish the whole top, actually painted one up just today, but that blended into the original finish very nice.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:11 pm

simso wrote:repairs like that, I usually just sand and refinish the whole top
Ha!

but if an instrument worth this much ever comes by your shop, please don't just sand and refinish ;-)

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:30 am

I simply make recommendations to my clients, and then do whatever they ask.

I have no problems refinishing a 150 yr old instrument, none whatsoever. It also matters to me not, the value of the instrument, a repair is simply a repair, be that on a 100 violin or 50,000 dollar violin, or cello or bass or guitar etc etc...

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:34 pm

simso wrote:I simply make recommendations to my clients, and then do whatever they ask.

I have no problems refinishing a 150 yr old instrument, none whatsoever. It also matters to me not, the value of the instrument, a repair is simply a repair, be that on a 100 violin or 50,000 dollar violin, or cello or bass or guitar etc etc...

Steve
Steve, I have a different approach. I care very much for the value of a clients instrument and matters to me that I don't do anything that would diminish that value, even if the client asked me to do it.

In my opinion there is a huge difference to a repair on a $100 violin where the owner simply wants a playable instrument again at low cost until it is thrown away or sat upon again - in which case I would not hesitate to use some "creative" and pragmatic repair techniques - to the repair of an instrument made by a master craftsman perhaps 100 or 200 years ago, which should be invisible, respect the quality, style and materials of the original work, and be minimally invasive retaining as much of the original patina and character as possible. To strip, sand and refinish an old instrument with even quite significant damage, could seriously reduce its resale value.

(Unless of course it has already been "repaired" by a jack of all trades who thinks he/she knows what they are doing ... In which case my job is often to undo the naive - and often short lived - repair and try to restore the instrument to its original condition using the correct materials and techniques. I do this often!)

And although I do know quite a bit, I don't flatter myself to think that I am qualified to advise on every instrument that comes across my path!

but that's just me :D
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:43 pm

Thats all good,

I simply was making a point, I make recommendations and then do what the client wants, we average at least one restoration per fortnight, and that is strip to bare wood and full respray with all refurbished parts, be that from a guitar family tree or violin family tree

If I let my beliefs and feelings get in the way, then we would average no restorations ever, and simply do patch up repairs

My point, was not to knock your work, I found your repair very good. But we all approach things from different view points

Here is a cello top I painted yesterday.

Before I did the work, there was 17 repaired cracks, and a graft of new wood.
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:48 pm

Here is a restoration, be that a guitar, under the scenario you offer, the instrument should be left in its daggy broken state and just continue to be patched up, or it could be made into a thing of beauty again as per customers wishes.

Its not our right to say this is the only way something should be repaired or restored, its up to the owner, our job is to facilitate that process with the skills we possess.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:06 pm

Im not knocking your work either, steve, those jobs look really clean.

I don't think we're talking about the same sort of thing.

A decent sprayed sunburst finish on a broken Chinese-made student cello, that may or may not have had a similar finish originally is one thing.

But my point was that you did this sort of job on an unlabelled 100 year old instrument, no matter how good you may think your work looks, or what a basket case shitbox you might think the client has, the potential value of the instrument could plummet, particularly if you were unable to identify the original maker or provenance. The client might get a nasty surprise when they go back to a knowledgeable dealer for a trade-in.

In my opinion, sometimes the best thing one can do for a client, and oneself, is to send them off for a second opinion.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sat Aug 15, 2015 4:29 pm

Mmm,

We all do things differently, I do what the customer asks, it's really as simple as that.

Some people have a perceived value of what an instrument is worth, and then do repairs based around that perceived value. I could not care less what the value is, broken is broken, ugly is ugly.

If they want me to do a patch repair and rough out my repair to incorporate that into an existing finish I'll do that, no problems, if they want me to refinish the whole instrument no problems. As far as it devaluating a 100 / 200 or even 300 yr old instrument, sorry, I'm on a different page to you on this one

As far as the cello above, that's simply something, I finished yesterday as per customers wishes. The sides were not touched, only the top,my photo was showing how I colour match to an existing surface, the customer wanted the top to match into the existing sides, so I colour matched the top and replicated the bursts to give a neat almost original look to the instrument, the sides were not painted at all, that photo has had the tape taken of the sides for the customers photo.

I sent them a photo yesterday of the finished job and they were ecstatic with the end result, and that's all that matters to me.

The Gibson above, the guy actually cried when he picked it up (that happy) there's more value to an instrument than individual groups perceived worth of that model of instrument.

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by ozwood » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:44 pm

It would seem that minimum intervention is a cornerstone of good restoration , weather it be a listed heritage building, an artwork , a sculpture or an old instrument .

Nice work Mathew :cl :cl :cl :cl :cl

a very impressive repair , I guess that's why your the go to man for resto and repairs of these types of instruments.

Cheers,
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by Nick » Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:27 pm

simso wrote:Here is a restoration, be that a guitar, under the scenario you offer, the instrument should be left in its daggy broken state and just continue to be patched up, or it could be made into a thing of beauty again as per customers wishes.
On a guitar like that you are adding value to it because it was probably only worth a couple of hundred before the repair, it had no history or provenance
simso wrote: Its not our right to say this is the only way something should be repaired or restored, its up to the owner, our job is to facilitate that process with the skills we possess.

Steve
What if the owner doesn't appreciate the true value of what they have Steve? Would you blindly go ahead with a refinish because they said, knowing it would devalue the instrument or do you feel you have a duty to inform the owner of what it is exactly that they have then give them the option of still going ahead? "I've just found this crappy old Fender in my attic, some guy Hendrix played it apparently but it's got all burnt at some stage can you clean it up and give it a quick spray so I can sell it? Reckon I might get a hundred for it."
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:21 pm

Nick, the thing is, who is the expert. The guy running a repair shop, the shop owner, the current manufacturer, Some guy running an Internet blog, a critic, or the owner, there are so many want to be experts out there, and even among the real experts IMO there's always a difference of opinion, so IMO the owner is what I go by.

If we all had the mentality of not restoring a vintage instrument and simply patching it up, then how is the average person ever going to get the work done on the thing they ""own"".

I give advice and recommendations, but I do not tell people that I won't do the paint job or restoration because I have a different view than they have. Who saids my view is right and who saids my view is more important than there view.

I have an opinion a skill and a business, my job is to use those tools I have to do what the customer asks for, we are assuming that the customer is ignorant and stupid and has no idea, that's a pretty high assumption to make.

Now matts repair is very nice, and there is clearly skill and talent in play, that's not the ensuing discussion, but what i see on a daily basis, is the people that say it shouldn't be restored or repaired a certain way are the people that don't have the skills to do it and refuse to acknowledge they don't have the skills, So instead say, you really shouldn't restore that because it will devalue it. Really, devalue it in whose opinion?

That's my point

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by Nick » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:25 pm

simso wrote:Nick, the thing is, who is the expert.
Really, devalue it in whose opinion?

That's my point

Steve
I can see your point Steve, but the 'market' sets the value, in the case of the Fender I gave as an example, sure the instrument itself is probably only worth the sum of its parts, a few hundred dollars, but because of it's history the market sets its value as high, to use your own analogy, who are we to rob the world of this value? Because we sand off the burn marks and respray it in a bloody good recreation of the original cream just for the sake of a $400 return you've wiped possibly hundreds of thousands off a resale value. Would you respray a Stradivarius in pink if the owners wife requested it? If you want to look at it from a commercial perspective, Just think what you could have charged for an accurate restoration, it would be ten times what you could have charged for a plain pink respray.
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by kiwigeo » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:49 pm

Nick wrote: Would you respray a Stradivarius in pink if the owners wife requested it?
A pink Stradivarius would look perfect in the back seat of your Kermit green Holden :mrgreen:
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by matthew » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:55 am

simso wrote:Nick, the thing is, who is the expert. The guy running a repair shop, the shop owner, the current manufacturer, Some guy running an Internet blog, a critic, or the owner, there are so many want to be experts out there, and even among the real experts IMO there's always a difference of opinion, so IMO the owner is what I go by.
Well, it's pretty clear to me; if you hang out your shingle as a professional instrument repairer, YOU are claiming to be the expert. That's why you have "clients". If they considered themselves experts they'd be doing their own repairs, like the dads who araldite a cello bridge in place to stop it falling over, or who glue the tuners together so the instrument doesn't go out of tune. Yes, it happens.

But the ones who don't, pay you for expert advice and workmanship.

Steve, you obviously have many talents and have been around a bit. So you must have a high level of expertise, no matter what your forum signature says. I was just a bit horrified to read your attitude to the value of a client's instrument. I might be sticking my neck out a bit but I feel that just doing what the client tells you to do, without regard to the history of the instrument, is rather a cop out, and devalues your own expertise, judgement and professional opinion.

"So instead say, you really shouldn't restore that because it will devalue it."

No, no-one is saying that. What we are saying is, to keep or increase its value, a restoration should be done properly with regard to the reputation and intent of the maker. That is, if you have any respect for the original maker. If you don't, then why restore it? Just sell them a shiny new chinese one for a fraction of the price and use the trade-in for kindling. (And please note that I am talking about "valuable" instruments here, not your standard school instruments which are made quickly on a CNC machine and with PVA and which can only be repaired in the same brutal fashion ... and I assume that you can tell the difference!)

Time for a Guinness or three i reckon :gui :gui :gui

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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:53 am

matthew wrote:I might be sticking my neck out a bit but I feel that just doing what the client tells you to do, without regard to the history of the instrument, is rather a cop out, and devalues your own expertise, judgement and professional opinion.

"So instead say, you really shouldn't restore that because it will devalue it."

No, no-one is saying that. What we are saying is, to keep or increase its value, a restoration should be done properly with regard to the reputation and intent of the maker. That is, if you have any respect for the original maker. If you don't, then why restore it? Just sell them a shiny new chinese one for a fraction of the price and use the trade-in for kindling.
All good.

If someone owns it, its there right to do what they want with it, end of story. If a person bought a strad and went on you tube and did a video of jumping on top of it and destroying it, I would be mortified, but guess what, its there instrument and they have the right to do whatever they want with there property irrespective of any heritage, potential resale value etc. If I was asked to paint a strad pink, guess what I would do it, no issues, of course I would offer my advice and concerns, but I would still do the job.

The fact you are passionate about your view point means you are passionate about your work and I respect that, but I respect the client (owners) wishes more.

I think we are also getting mixed up between restoration, rebuild and repaint

A restoration is applying the same process with respect to the builder in making it functional again, including using similiar or equivelant materials used at the time, but it does not mean you need to antique and deliberatly crack a finish to try and make it look aged.

A rebuild, is making it work / repairing with modern materials, example it may have been originally coated in shellac, it now may get coated in UV clear, it may get roller bridges upgraded tuners and so forth

A repaint is exactly that, it gets painted in any material choice.

When I do repairs on vintage instruments, I let the client decide which way they want it done

Steve
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by simso » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:03 am

Nick wrote:"I've just found this crappy old Fender in my attic, some guy Hendrix played it apparently but it's got all burnt at some stage can you clean it up and give it a quick spray so I can sell it? Reckon I might get a hundred for it."
Prepare to be mortified.

About 3 years ago, I got a guitar in that was bought new in 1982, fender strat, it had been sitting in a display case for 31yrs,

why

Because the owner had it signed 31 yrs ago by a band called "The Church", it was his dream guitar with his dream signatures, to me, the church "really", but it does not matter, it meant heaps to him.

He wanted it resprayed a different colour because his daughter got got into WAAPA here in perth and needed a decent guitar, he offered it to her and she did not want anything to do with it, because church signatures meant nothing to her, he asked me to respray it for her, I gave him my advice my opinion and I ended up respraying it.

Steve
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Re: Double Bass corner restoration

Post by charangohabsburg » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:54 am

simso wrote:If someone owns it, its there right to do what they want with it, end of story.
No, not at all "end of story"!

I'll tell you something:

In 2008 I was approached via an Internet forum by the owner of this guitar (here in its restored state in 2014) he discovered in 2007, and because he had seen some pictures of some flawless crack repairs on instrument tops I had performed around that time he asked me to repair it.

I instantly declined because I guessed by the photos he provided of the rather deteriorated instrument, who was its builder. But of course I was far from being sure I was right, and I recommended him to leave the instrument alone while he wasn't sure what it really was or he had not the money to get it properly restored, and to get some advice by experts who could see the guitar "in flesh". I provided him with a few phone numbers, directions and email addresses of capable and internationally acknowledged musicologists and master luthiers.

Now I'm letting you have a guess if you like:
guitar.jpg
guitar.jpg (44.23 KiB) Viewed 16762 times
Steve, what's the name of the luthier who built this guitar?


P.S.
IMHO the restoration turned out less than perfect. But at least it is 100% reversible, which was one of the main goals of the restorer.
P.P.S.
Sorry Matthew for getting off-topic!
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