Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

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Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Bob Hammond » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:49 pm

I'm doing a repair on one of my own, and so I need not ponder what the maker might think of my bodged-up repairwork. But I've been thinking about the Dad of my best friend from high school. He was a highly skilled watchmaker/repairman, who worked on many timepieces over the decades. I might see something on his bench from time to time, and notice the tiny marks that had been inscribed on the inside of the watchcases that indicated the identity of the repairman and the date. I suppose that he must have recognized many of the marks and known many other watchmakers, and probably could tell if it was routine maintenance or a major repair. I wonder if he ever called them up to talk about what was done.

Do instrument repair-persons leave any marks? Is there a customary location for them?
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:45 pm

I have done it when adding new braces or patches and the writing goes right on the new wood. But I don't usually label repairs that don't get new parts, such as a simple brace reglues or crack repairs.
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Michael Lewis » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:08 am

No. Not unless requested by the owner. Lots of old "violins" have little labels stating who did repair work and a date but that is not an industry standard. Quite often the "repair work" is crudely done and if there is a label you know who to blame.

The idea is to leave as little trace of having been inside an instrument as you can. Leave it like it came from the factory if you can. Put your name in instruments you make if you like.
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Nick Middleton » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:23 pm

I agree too that you don't want to put any label or info unless you have some strange modification that you would want to warn a future repairman down the road. I can't think of anything right now that would necessitate that.

If you did your repairs right, there should be no eveidence of the work done and there shouldn't be any hidden things (like screws holding a joint together) so the next guy can treat the guitar as expected.
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Bob Hammond » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:22 pm

I'm glad that I asked about this because it can be a delicate issue. While I believe that every person should stand by, and be appreciated for their work, whether as maker or repairman, still I agree that the maker's work has precedence and one should never devalue an instrument by 'rethinking or improving' the maker's design.

I'm never going to set the world on fire with any instrument that I might possibly build, but I have more thoughts about this issue. I'll think it over.
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:36 pm

I believe some lute makers would add a label if they converted an instrument from one form to another. If extensive repairs are done I wouldn't have a problem with them adding a label.
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Re: Is it customary for a repair-person to inscribe their mark & the date of repair?

Postby Patrick Hanna » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:34 pm

Bob, it's interesting that you would mention your father's watch work. I had my heirloom pocket watch (my grandfather's) open the other day and saw the marks of two watchmakers who had serviced it at one time or another. However, it seems from the responses here that most instrument makers would not do it. I frankly don't know the protocol, but I think it would be reasonable to add a very discrete notation of some kind. It might even help a future technician who is working on the instrument several decades down the line. But that is just my own thought--not a statement on generally accepted protocol. I will be interested in seeing further responses from people who have been at this a long time.
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