SOS! Need help with violin RESTAURATION (covering cracks and varnishing)

August 16, 2019, 3:15 PM · I live in a country where we don't have any good luthier. Moreover, it's a hard deal to find a good violin, there's no music shop with normal violin (only cheap fake ones).. So I don't have any option except doing it myself. I will do it this way or another, but dunno the steps. Please don't judge me badly hahahah)))

1. As you see there are minor cracks. What material should I use to cover those cracks? Is it necessary to cover them? (pics of inside & outside below)

2. Most of the cracks are on the ribs, but ribs are covered with additional ribs, so should I remove them, or it's okay to leave them this way? (pics of inside & outside below)

3. One more crack is on the neck. I think no need to do anything with it, still I took photo just in case.. (pics of inside & outside below)

I'm about to receive hide glue soon for it, so far, that's the only material I have for now.

Now, one more important thing. When I fix them and put the spruce back I need to varnish it. I saw in few videos I found that the luthiers put coating, then they varnish the violins. Or I might be mistaken. Just need to know what materials to buy to varnish violin, how many layers of coating, how many layers of varnishing. Actually I'm not aiming to make the violin shiny, would like to make something like this (link in the comment).

I hope you'll share your experience, please....

Replies (11)

August 16, 2019, 3:15 PM · The appearance I'd like to make:

August 16, 2019, 3:17 PM · Try's luthier forums.
August 16, 2019, 5:31 PM · Do as Lydia said, this is where the luthiers hang out.
August 16, 2019, 5:35 PM · Put all your pictures in one imgur upload so people don't have to copy and paste each link.

You want to revarnish it, too? It's a long way down the rabbit hole...

August 16, 2019, 11:16 PM · Leave varnish touch up to real experts, you'll only screw it up.
August 17, 2019, 11:57 AM · You've already destroyed any value the violin might have by stripping the varnish, my advice is get another hobby, you failed at this one.
August 17, 2019, 1:50 PM · hahahah, that's not my hobby) I did it when I was 16, yea, that was stupid step, but we all learn mostly from our mistakes, so it's okay. As I said before, I will fix it this way or another, not saying the violin will be better and will sound good, at least I will try to give as good finish as it's possible. I'm not gonna sell the violin anyway, will save it as one of personal collections at least
August 17, 2019, 3:30 PM · Of all the cracks you showed, the one through the neck saddle, just above the button, is the most serious one that needs attention. I can envision that causing the fingerboard and belly to sink over time after the violin is strung.

Try cleaning out the crack with alcohol. Squeeze some hide glue into it, then place a clamp on the top of the saddle and the button and gently tighten to close the crack. This risks cracking the button, but the only other alternative is to remove the neck completely before repairing it.

A couple of wood cleats glued to the inside of the rib and back crack should be good enough to stop them from getting any bigger.

Stainable wood filler should be good enough to fill the cracks after they are cleated.

Of course, if this is a valuable antique by a famous maker, then best to have the repairs done by a professional.

August 17, 2019, 4:30 PM · Carmen, thanks a lot for more detailed info) I think better to ask how much such repair and varnishing will cost?
August 17, 2019, 4:37 PM · Professional repair and varnishing is only worthwhile if the violin has a lot of value. You would have to post detailed pictures to and let the professionals there see if you have something exceptional that should be restored.
Edited: August 17, 2019, 4:52 PM · I don't see why you shouldn't do it yourself, contrary to Lyndon's advice (I mean, really—do you think professional luthiers come out of the womb ready to mix varnish?). But you need to do a lot of research. Like, a lot, and on your own time. Nobody is going to sit here and type out a step-by-step guide to fixing each crack and then how to make your own ground and then how to mix your own varnish and then how to apply wax / shellac and then how to french polish and so on and so forth, because it would be PAGES long.

Also, violin repair is quite expensive when you start dealing with diy varnishing, so make sure you can even afford the equipment you need before setting yourself on repairing this violin.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Sejong Music Competition
Sejong Music Competition

Watch Gilharmonic on
Watch Gilharmonic on

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine