Violin Restoration Project

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Project by BertFlores58 posted 07-25-2013 03:47 AM 3676 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Doubts. First and foremost, I like to clarify that I was doubtful whether this is rightful to post as project. The action was not intentionally to violate rules about restoring, refurbishing and many restoring project posted. My intention is to share and encourage others to do restoration with such a beautiful and worthwhile project as an accomplishment. (when you search “restoration” in the LJ, you will find 2,560 projects posted. I am now the 2,561st. I enjoyed while searching because I was really impressed about the broom that was restored. Yes it was posted as blog but not as project)

So, just feel free to make any suggestions, comments and criticisms. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion which if proven will become a fact.

To understand the violin, here is the simple drawing of the exploded view of the violin.


This is the violin that my brother (currently onboard a cargo vessel as Captain) used when we both study violin. The back of the backplate had a marking specifying that this was made 1965. 2 years from now it will be 50 years old. 4 years ago, I found this in the provincial home but everything were still in pieces but all the glue were out. The glue before that I used to restore it was not as strong as I have now. What I have repaired recently was the tail piece and the end pin. There was also a crack in the scroll. The finish used is urethane. The sound is perfect and due to its smaller and thinner size, the sound can be compared to a soprano.


This violin was given to me after the death of my step Mom this year. The good thing was the violin was stored and it was sprayed with water on some part. This is my father’s violin which I believe more than my age.. half century old. Due to the age and time spent, the glue was out on several section when I have it. There was a crack on the front plane and also on the ribs. Upon my assessment after cleaning all the parts, there is a very slim chance of restoring it. But I have to go on. The only chance I can do is to make a new bout and use the plates and other parts for reconstruction. I have posted how it was restored in this blog series. Just follow it and you will learn how I manage to restore it. A lot of learning ideas you can use in there in relation to the amateur way of making a violin.

There are several things about these violins restored:

1. The bending of bouts. The most essential work in violin making is how you will bend the bout. In my case, I have no heater instead I use a sterilizer to heat it. I learned how to make the necessary clamps and jigs to make the bouts. Without the heating and the jig, it is impossible to make it.

2. The assembly. Though it may come in different style, assembly will depend on the glue used and the ability to follow the correct alignment of the finger board to the end pin or tailpiece. I made a mistake in this area. The neck and scroll is integral to the upper block which is difficult to align. There is no corner blocks fitted instead, the ribs are inserted in a groove just like a dado joint. If this is the way it was made why should a change it. It has lasted for years like that so I have to do it the same way the original bout was constructed. Anyway that is how to restore the original.

3. Hit the target. The reward of a good restoration is the functionality and returning it to the same or better than the original. I knew the sound quality of this violin that is perfect and much on the bass clarity than that of the high notes. I applied (brush) glue (PVA) on the plates inside portion to add more strength but I was worried with the sound thinking that the plate will be very stiff to vibrate. However, the opposite happened. The violin now give a very loud bass and a high pitch sound on the high note. It is now under string tensions and found good. I hope this will not change as time pass by. Some of my instruments before, the wood are not really seasoned and therefore after several weeks under tension and use, the sound changes.

SO, I hope everyone will benefit from this project by just realizing how a restoration is so important for a well preserved family heritage. Thanks for viewing.

Have a nice day to everyone!

-- Bert

14 comments so far

View janice's profile


1122 posts in 4442 days

#1 posted 07-25-2013 04:21 AM

Your work is always amazing! They are gorgeous!

-- Janice

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 07-25-2013 04:41 AM

I knew and read what transpired in your life. Same as seen above, the family heritage will always be with us to regain and stand for it. This is the inspiration that I get from my father to restore those precious heritage added from those buddies I had in LJ who also inspired me to do exciting challenges. By the way, hope you are well and kicking, back with the exciting life in the riverhouse. Good to hear from you again. Thanks.

-- Bert

View George Coles's profile

George Coles

188 posts in 3462 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 05:57 AM

You have excelled Bert

-- George Coles,

View Ken90712's profile


17973 posts in 4205 days

#4 posted 07-25-2013 08:18 AM

Great job nice work and way to keep these around in service! I’m glad you posted ithere!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3936 days

#5 posted 07-25-2013 10:13 AM

A wonderful project that you poured your heart and soul into! Beautiful results! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3939 days

#6 posted 07-25-2013 10:29 AM

George, Ken, Sheila,
Thanks to all of you for your very inspiring phrases. These words keep me going in going, searching for more challenges in life.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View littlecope's profile


3117 posts in 4519 days

#7 posted 07-25-2013 12:54 PM

Superb Work Bert, and I’m glad that you decided to post and share them…
All that’s left is to hear them… Will we get a Video of you playing them??? :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Skylark53's profile


2857 posts in 4077 days

#8 posted 07-25-2013 01:09 PM

Beautiful work on these two instruments. I’m particularly happy to see that you preserved the functionality of the violins. Nice. Truly family heirlooms.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4592 days

#9 posted 07-25-2013 01:43 PM

Your work is magnificent, and if it would have been flagged, then I would have stopped coming to Lumberjocks.
Please continue to post things to share your wondrous talent.
That violin came out beautifully.
Thank you very much.

View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3332 days

#10 posted 07-25-2013 04:38 PM

I really don’t know much about violins, but I do know that they are made out of wood and that I enjoy seeing your work here.
Your work is a statement of patience and tenacity. (Read in a bit of jealousy here)
Great results.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Hammerthumb's profile


3086 posts in 2992 days

#11 posted 07-25-2013 08:25 PM

Been waiting for you to finish these Bert. You did an amazing job. Beautiful work.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3939 days

#12 posted 07-25-2013 11:26 PM

Thanks to all,
Actually, even though this is a restoration process, the acquired knowledge and skill make me a different lumberjock you knew… a box maker. The possibilities of using the bending of bouts and the strength from the bulging curves in the violin had amazed me. These could be used in making those marquetry boxes. There was already two request nearby… a neighbor and my office mate to restore their violin. Maybe but… I am not an expert… a professional. They replied… we don’t want to throw them out due to sentimental value… and we keep on looking who will restore it.. In the end, it will just be a big responsibility to deal with the sentimental value being priceless in the end.
Have a nice day!

-- Bert

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4351 days

#13 posted 07-26-2013 04:14 PM

Again, great work Bert. I know you had to create many different fixtures to get this job done. My hat is off to your ingenuity and creativity and the wonderful results you got with this project.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DocSavage45's profile


9043 posts in 3859 days

#14 posted 07-28-2013 02:18 AM


I missed this last part of your journey. Nice work, and a new beginning!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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