glue not holding, causing crack in the violin and how to fix

October 7, 2017, 4:27 PM · Hi, I need your advice :)

The glue holding the side and the face of my violin (near the tailpiece) does not hold anymore, causing the outfit to have a very small opening.

In the pictures I insert a safety pin onto this crack to show how big this opening is. Apparently the crack is very small now but it my become larger in the future.

Should I bring it to the luthier now and how much they should charge? or is this something that can be done by the player (i.e. buying some wood glue and do it yourself?) Or should I just leave it as it is?

Please tell me if the image does not show.

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Replies (17)

Edited: October 7, 2017, 5:17 PM · Its a very minor repair, I charge $20, it may cause a buzzing sound if you don't fix it. It has to be done with hot hide glue. Don't try to do it yourself!!
October 7, 2017, 5:21 PM · Thank you Lyndon :)) so I should not do it myself.

having a professional fixing it would definitely be better :D

Edited: October 7, 2017, 5:39 PM · Lyndon is correct.

Because my teen years (1948 - 1952) were spent 4 hours round trip from luthier services, we had hide glue crystals at home that I have continued to use to make "hot glue" for such minor repairs since then - also appropriate clamps for servicing violin/viola/cello and an artist pallet knife.. Were it not for that history I would happily visit my current luthier for such things that have only happened to any of my 9 instruments 6 or fewer times in the past 65 years.

October 7, 2017, 6:05 PM · Its not called a crack, its called an open seam.
October 7, 2017, 6:09 PM · Never use anything but hide glue on a violin! Never! Since you had to ask, take it to a luthier...
October 7, 2017, 6:44 PM · Thanks Jim! I would bring my violin to a luthier instead.
Edited: October 8, 2017, 2:33 PM · Many years ago my guitar teacher, also a guitar luthier, came into his studio for my lesson, complaining loudly in robust Anglo-Saxon about a customer who had brought in a fairly valuable guitar for repairs to cracks. The thing was that the customer had attempted the repairs himself using epoxy adhesives, so a lot of carpentry involving replacement wood was needed, resulting in a bill several times more than what he would have had if he hadn't attempted the repair himself with entirely the wrong materials.
October 8, 2017, 8:48 AM · I would think that in an emergency you could use Sears liquid hide glue watered down to 1/2 strength using a chin rest as a clamp?
October 8, 2017, 9:35 AM · Open seams are pretty much an inevitability with violins and other stringed instruments. I would not do this repair yourself, because the glue used by professionals intentionally allows the wood to expand and contract, thus the open seam. If the glue held fast through all changes of temperature and climate, then the resulting problems would be far worse as the glue held while the wood changed shape. That is my understanding from quite a lot of discussion with luthiers.
October 8, 2017, 9:58 AM · definitely DON'T use liquid hide glue, for one thing it doesn't work, for another it never dries. Then it ruins the gluing surface for future restorers.
October 12, 2017, 3:42 AM · Thank you very much for your expert advice!!! Our forum is great for any violinists!
October 12, 2017, 6:05 AM · When you have a child who plays the cello you just get used to dealing with open seams all the time. My luthier would charge about the same as Lyndon, as long as there is not something more serious in the underlying construction of the violin that's causing the seam to open up. Whenever I go for an adjustment he looks for open seams and a whole bunch of other things, sort of like getting an oil change and they check over a list of about 20 things if it's a good mechanic.
October 12, 2017, 8:31 AM · Making and using your own hide glue isn't rocket science. Here are instructions for doing it:

You can get a fancy dedicated glue pot, but I get by with the above. You can buy hide glue crystals here: for $4.50.

Edited: October 12, 2017, 9:03 AM · That's probably not the right grade of hide glue for violins. It might be furniture grade which is not very strong.

you also need all the proper clamps, and getting the consistency of hide glue right is not easily taught on the internet.

All told it will cost substantially less money and effort to just get your luthier to do it.

October 12, 2017, 11:11 AM · I wouldn't do it on a fine violin. If I were going to do it, I'd practice on a cheap one.
Edited: October 12, 2017, 2:39 PM · After I ran out of the hide glue crystals I had inherited from my father in 1954 and needed more i bought them from the "luthier side" of Johnson strings in Massachusetts (probably in the 1970s). I dissolved a small amount of crystals in hot water in a portion to make it like thin caramel or cold maple syrup. After using it for that job I stored it in an old small pill/Rx bottle/vial in the refrigerator. Next time I need it - if it hasn't molded - I heat it gently in the microwave to a consistency. I've been able to get several year's use out of the refrigerated glue.

And thanks for reminding me, because I just checked the my glue vial in the frig and it was no longer glue - it is dark and "shot." think it's been 5 - 10 years since I last sealed an open seam with it, but I have enough crystals left for many lifetimes.

October 14, 2017, 8:59 AM · And do it soon: there are enormous mechanical constraints near ech end of the violin body.

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