Violin – top restoration
This Neapolitan 1777 violin was indeed in need of restoration. The left part of the picture show the top of the violin before restoration, the right part the same top after a few hundred hours of work. The cracks were black, partially open, not in level, and several splinters were missing. The restoration process involved removing dirt, old polish and retouch varnish, thoroughly opening, cleaning, gluing and re-touching the old cracks, as well as purfling- and edge repair. Greatest care had to be taken not to touch any of the original varnish.
The following picture documents a corner repair. The corner and part of the purfling have been replaced in the past, probably due to wear. Two cracks needed to be cleaned before edge and corner replacement could begin. The previous corner and purfling repair had been badly executed. After cutting away the non original pieces, the corner had to be rebuild, shaped and sanded, stained and retouched. The resulting new corner has a pleasing appearance, with some gently introduced wear to match the rest of the instrument.
The lower right bout has probably had some woodworm damage, and a new piece of spruce has been inserted during previous poorly executed repair. The inserted piece had to be removed and replaced.
The corner had been modified to match a distorted rib, most likely caused by a previous unnecessary repair. Christian Schabbon decided to rebuilt the corner to the original condition. Please notice the crack repair that needed to be undertaken beforehand. Here too, the purfling and the corner had been lost and had to be rebuilt. The whole repair is reinforced by a half-edging, the corner shaped, sanded and carefully retouched, the result is a solid restoration matching the wear of the rest of the top.
The following picture documents the crack repair of the top. Numerous crack were present, filled with black glue and dirt. The instrument presented a thick layer of dark retouch varnish, polish and dirt that had to be removed first. Then the cracks were opened, each splinter carefully soaked cleaned and glue back. After successful retouch the top has returned to its former glory!
The Niccolo Gagliano back before and after restoration. A thick overcoat of retouch varnish, dirt and polish had to be removed first. However, violin cleaning has be be approached artistically, keeping in mind the intended result. Overly cleaning an instrument can look sterile and cold, leaving a little patina is always a good choice.
Woodworm damage and consequent repair present in the upper left part of the back had to be redone. The damage was more apparent after removing the retouch. A good choice of wood, and artistic retouch helped creating an almost invisible repair.
The button has had suffered damage in the past. Unfortunately it had been replaced instead of repaired. Attentive choice of wood, meticulous workmanship and distinct retouch helped to achieve this excellent result.