Repair first or Clean First?

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.
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Chris Vallillo
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: Illinois

Repair first or Clean First?

Post by Chris Vallillo »

I just picked up a lovely Regal built Tipple (mahogany back and sides,spruce top) which needs a modest amount of work including removal and repair of the bridge and gluing about 4 face cracks. It should be a fine little instrument when it's done.

There is a significant amount of accumulate grunge on the instrument face, particularly in areas where the finish has worn off. I'm trying to decide if I should clean it first or repair it first. My concern is getting dirt into the cracks and making things worse than they are now.

The face cracks are fairly tight, but at least one has dirt in it already.

I've had excellent results on Nitro finishes with Virtuoso cleaner, but am concerned it may contain chemicals that would interfere with a good glue joint. Water and a tiny bit of detergent does a decent job and I've even tried de-ionized water (results OK, but not great).

This is always a chicken and egg problem for me and I'd appreciate comments from those of you with greater experience.
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Michael Lewis
Posts: 1467
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:22 am
Location: Northern California USA

Re: Repair first or Clean First?

Post by Michael Lewis »

If the cracks are clean glue them. If they are not clean then clean them before gluing. You can carefully clean most of the grime from the surface without getting it in the cracks. Under the bridge there may be dragons. Just be careful and don't make it worse, like always.

Tiple (tee - play) is of Spanish/Portuguese origin, common in the Caribbean and South America.

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