This fiddle was in terrible condition when I got it. Here's everything I did to it:
● I took the fiddle completely apart.
● The back joint was open for almost the full length of the back. It was clear that merely clamping it would not close up the joint; the wood had warped, since the
joint had been open for a long time. I opened up the joint fully, and recut the joint, removing a tiny amount of wood. (This is slightly visible as discontinuities in the
rosing - the pen-and-ink work - of the back along the joint.)
● I regraduated the ribs, back, and top, all of which were enormously thick. (The back and top are still somewhat thicker than usual.)
● I reassembled the body, with new blocks and linings. The old blocks were strange, and originally there were no linings.
● Grafted the neck; the old neck was joined to the body in a strange way, which did not leave enough wood for a proper neck-body joint.
● Made a new tongue. The teeth had been held in with enormous gobs of glue. I put in little pieces of wood (dentures) painted black, behind the teeth. The teeth are
now glued securely to these dentures.
● Bushed all the peg holes and fitted new ebony pegs.
● The old fingerboard and tailpiece were made in the old way, of horn glued as a facing to wood. They were in very bad condition, and the horn of the fingerboard
was very unattractive - partly black and partly white. Worst of all, the fingerboard was too wide by far for a modern player, and I could see no way to reduce the
width without doing horrible things to the decoration. So I made a new fingerboard and tailpiece. The tailpiece has fine tuners for the E and A strings, and all four
● New bridge, sound post, bass bar, nut, understring nut, understring guide, end button, saddle, strings.
● I put a small amount of retouch varnish over new wood, and over places where the old wood was completely bare, to keep out dirt. However, I made no effort to
replace missing rosing, whether it was missing from wear or - at the neck graft - from my own work.
● All old parts that were removed have been kept. (They are shown in one of the pictures.)
● The instrument is now quite solid, with a modern Hardanger fiddle set-up, ready to play.