Replacing a chin rest
The chin rest has come off my fiddle. It was obviously on a thin lath of wood or cork, which has come off the wood underneath the chin rest. The metal bit is still attached to the chin rest.
Is it possible just to glue the thin lath back on to the bottom of the wooden chin rest, then tighten the metal with a bent paper clip so it grips the violin? I am presuming one should not glue anything to the violin itself? Obviously I would normally go to a violin shop but I am new to this area and I don’t think they’d be open in lockdown anyway.
I played my fiddle this morning without the chin rest (but with a shoulder rest) and it was okay - not as secure or as comfortable, but okay.
Would it be best not to do anything myself but just wait till I can get someone experienced to either mend this chin rest or fit a new one?
My fiddle (though I love her dearly) is not an expensive one, and I have another to practise on if need be.
Doe anyone have experience of refitting a chin rest that fell off?
I’d be very grateful for any advice, even if it’s just ‘Leave Well Alone’!
Yes I think you can glue the cork back onto the wood part of the chin rest. Or if you have a small piece of leather that you can cut, that would work too. Use as little glue as you can get away with.
In the past, when my chinrest cork has failed I have sometimes replaced it with thin slices I cut from wine-bottle corks.
Remember that you have to drink the wine before you can use the cork ;)
My experience of having a chinrest that fell off during a summer school in Ireland, and couldn't be repaired until I got back to England, was being taught by one of the instructors on how to play without both CR and SR (I didn't use a SR anyway). That was one of the most useful things I took away with me from that workshop all those years ago.
Steven, I have removed several of the "rubberized" chinrests and there was no mark. However, I have found cork debris on instruments I have removed normal chinrests.
Andrew, I've seen the cork and their debris stick to violins as well. I would still be worried about rubber leaving marks because I used to ownsome rubber hand tools which turned quite sticky over time.
Thanks for all the helpful advice.
As part of a chinrest modification, I looked for a source of thin cork sheet after a few failed attempts slicing wine corks thin and uniformly enough. I found an unlikely source: It turns out that an inexpensive bulletin board from an office supply store has a nice thin cork sheet glued to a foam backing. I used brake cleaner (it's basically pure hexane) as a solvent to dissolve and remove the glue, easily recovering enough thin cork sheet for the job. As above, I used as little glue as possible to bond it to the chinrest, larger than needed, and trimmed to a nice shape with a single edge razor blade. I regret I didn't save the photos - I hope this experience is useful.
Charles! Nice work with the hexane! That's what I use to rub off that type of glue too. (Odorless paint thinner is what I usually have handy.) But you can often find thin cork sheet with adhesive backing at a craft store like "Michael's". As far as cutting thin slides from a wine cork, I have found this to be easier by holding the cork in my vice so that the end protrudes ever so slightly and then cutting off the slice using a flush-cutting saw.
Is there any advantage in a centered (over the tailpiece) chin rest over the typical placement?
Alan, chinrests that CLAMP over the tailpiece have the advantage that your violin has an end block there, so there’s a structural advantage in supporting the clamp pressure, but well made violins can support clamps to the side of the tailpiece too. Chinrests that are POSITIONED over the tailpiece are strictly a personal preference. They do change the position of the violin in relation to your chin and shoulder, and this can work well for many players (myself for example). There are knowledgeable people who assert that where the chinrest clamps on can have a significant effect on the acoustic response of an instrument, for better or worse with each individual violin.