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Paul's Flat Top Mandolin Cello Project - The Restoration
Porch Swings and Other Things
I had the pleasure of working on this old trade cello. The customer asked me to repair it so it was playable. The cello had a previous repair that had failed. The neck was broke at the heel. This old repair consisted of two woodscrews and a lot of hide glue. One of the woodscrews had been run through the fingerboard and into the heel. There were also cracks in the top, back, and both lower bouts.
This is where the neck was broken. The second picture shows one of the old wood screws that was used in the previous repair.
The break between the heel and the neck.
After removing the top.
The old hide glue had to be removed from the broken pieces. This was done by brushing water on the glue and scraping the old glue off with an xacto knife. When I started cleaning the break, I found that there were actually four broken pieces. I had to make sure these pieces would fit back together cleanly so the repair would hold.
Now I can reassemble the pieces and glue them back with Titebond. I used a total of seven maple pins to make sure I filled all the voids.
There were two cracks in the top that needed to be glued and cleated. I also grafted new points to the top that were missing.
This is new lining on the lower bouts. The second picture shows a repair to a crack in the back along with a crack on the lower bout.
The top with the edges cleaned, ready to be glued back on. Notice the nice white points and edge material that was grafted on.
After the top was glued back on, it was time to start with cleaning up the old finish. Notice the difference between the finish on the waist and the lower bout.
The old fingerboard was made out of spruce. How about a new fingerboard? Maybe some nice cherry? And maybe a nice cherry endpin to match.
The old machines just wouldn't look good on this cello now. Maybe they could stand a make-over. First a new coat of paint.
Now some nice cherry pegs to match. That's better.
These pictures show the front and back with the finished restored. The cello has a new set of pegs, fingerboard, nut, saddle and endpin all made from cherry. It also has a new bridge, tailpiece and soundpost.
Now its playable.
John M. Saxon