Guarneri del Gesu violin in the white Bernard o'Leary violin maker repairer

Violin repair

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Contact details


Write to:

5 John St, Willowtown,
Ebbw Vale,
Blaenau Gwent
NP23 6NL

To make
an appointment:

Tel: +44 (0)1495 309863

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View of inside back Ribs sprung away from block Repair of corner Repairing an old German factory made violin
1, Inside back showing the tell-tale factory made saw marks. 2&3, This violin has been badly repaired before, so the ribs would not join up properly when I glued them in place 4, New linings had to be fitted because some of the old linings were missing
5, Not all cracks are repaired in this way but it worked. 6, New saddle being fitted for size.
7, Front varnish repaired. 8 to 10, This old (rather short) damaged bass bar was removed and a new one of the correct size put in place. 11, Repair of upper rib. A badly fitting top block is usual in these violins. 12 to 15, Stages in re-bushing a violin peg box. After reaming the old peg holes the bush is made to fit, glued in place then cut flush to the sides of the peg box. 16 to 18, Re-bushing a cello showing the inside of the peg box before cutting the bushing flush. Varnish is then dabbed onto the bare wood for protection.
New lining Gluing a simple crack New saddle
Repaired varnish Original small bass bar New bass bar
Bass bar shaped Re-glue ribs Cutting the bushing
Peg holes re-bushed Re-shaping pegs Correctly fitting pegs
Re-bushing a cello Almost ready for driling Varnished before drilling
The problem with pegs!
Pegs need to grip the sides of the peg box in order to keep the strings taught and in tune. But pegs also need to turn easily to ensure precise tuning. Pegs are cut with a slight taper; 1 in 30 so you need to either push inwards when turning if the peg slips a little or pull outward when turning if the pegs are stuck.
There are two main problems with pegs.
Humidity. Wood expands and contracts depending on the moisture content so in wet weather the pegs can tend to stick and in very dry weather they will shrink. The peg box will also expand and contract but at a different rate because of the different woods used and different grain direction.
Badly fitting pegs. With budget violins badly fitting pegs are by far the biggest reason for tuning problems (pegs are often made of soft wood painted black to look like Ebony). Which is why these violins are usually fitted with a fine tuner on each string. Actually, it is not only the pegs that can be at fault but the holes in the peg box might only fit where they touch and therefore not be able to give the required friction needed. If you grip the violin neck firmly you may be able to wiggle each peg a little, if so then one hole is slightly too big or both may be misshapen. There are a variety of pastes and compounds used, sometimes even chalk is used but if the pegs do not fit then they make no difference or most probably make things worse.

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