First violin restoration of 2017 Part 1

Violin Labelled
Gaspar de Salo en Brescia 1586
A good German made violin, that was played professionally near the end of the 19th century and passed down in the family.
Of note is the double purfling and tasteful antiquing. The violin was originally finished with some wear marks, but the main wear patterns happened after the instrument was completed.
This is one of nicest German factory instruments I’ve worked on and well worth the restoration.
A center seam crack hiding underneath the tailpiece. When this crack was reglued and cleated the original saddle had to be trimmed. The rest of the seam is in good shape and although there were very few other problems with the top itself, since this needed to be cleated, removal of the top plate was necessary.
Without removing the rib and doing a plaster cast the rib was gently persuaded back into shape with a bit of moisture. A larger cleat was used to support the area originally damaged by overtightening of the chinrest, and part of the lining was removed and reworked to fit better. This type of repair saves time and money, and is structurally sound. However, a bit of distortion will still remain.
The majority of the interior is quite nicely done, with the exception of the endblock which shows a bit of carelessness in its trimming.
The crack came together flawlessly and small cleats have been glued cross grain to stabilize the area and prevent future harm to the area.20170110_183706.jpg
It went back together easier than it came apart.

New Shop

We’ve moved!

(Our new address is 37 N Railway Street, Okotoks AB)

The last few weeks we’ve been busy setting up shop just down the street in the shop of our late friend, Don Barnes.  Tyler has been running Don’s instrument wood business, Grandpa’s Workshop, for several months since Don took ill early in the year.

Here are a few pictures from around the new shop…

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View from across the street


All set up for communication!

Getting down to work.

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Repairing the original sign.

Some storage solutions…


Just some of the instrument wood for sale through Grandpa’s Workshop.

(Check it out at )

Cello Repair: Saving the original neck and button



The latest restoration project: a cello that came into the shop in two pieces.  The neck had separated from the instrument, taking the button with it, and it had a crack in the neck block… but it was still worth repairing. Now it’s back in playing order!


My first inspection of the break,


Seam separation

After the assessing the repair I began further disassembling the cello using warm water and a couple of sharp seam separation knives to remove the back plate from the rib structure. The instrument had some previously repaired cracks on the side which were already thoroughly cleated. The back came off with gentle persuasion and without any further damage to itself or the rib structure.

Unfortunately there were some original pieces of wood missing by the time the cello arrived- luckily I have a good supply of various types of maple so I was able to make something that matched and looked consistent with the rest of the cello. IMG_20151119_143236.jpg

A view of the inside of the cello: I spot glued pieces of scrap wood to the blocks so that there would be no distortion to the rib structure while repairs were done to the back and neck of the instrument. I did some minor cleating and touch up to the rib structure while I had the instrument open, and I inspected previous repairs and any areas that might have become distorted or weakened over time.

With the back removed I made a partial cast from plaster, which worked as a clamp caul and support surface for the button as it was reattached to the back. IMG_20151117_132900.jpgIMG_20151117_142810.jpg

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A barrier of plexiglas, aluminum, and clay keep the plaster contained.

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The finished casting