cleaning out cracks

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mhartery, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. mhartery


    Jun 27, 2002
    What is a good way to clean out old cracks in the ribs of a bass or in a top? I have used hot water and an old tooth brush to melt and clean out the old glue but this some times takes away some of the varnish. Is there a chemical that I can use at room temp that wont hurt the varnish? Ammonia?
  2. Deionized water has been suggested by conservators and violin luthiers on TOBI-L (Technology of Bowed Instruments List).

    Source for Deionized Water
  3. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Please be aware that the use of water on old cracks may cause the repair to fail.
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    ???? We would have to assume this is a repair question.
  5. Now Jeff, you have to give Martin a little slack. He only checks in here about once a month and has to say something.
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Here's a link that tells why deionized water may work better.
    I think for some museum type restoration it may be useful, but for most bass repair garden variety hot water is the appropriate shiznazz. What may help Mr Hartery more is looking at the tool that moves the water. Believe it or not a toothbrush is quite abrasive for this purpose. Unless it is specifically a soft[fine] brush it will have mechanical impact on the sharp edges of the crack and possible the adjacent varnish. Note in the link the brush that is being used. An artists brush with a fine bristle or hair is a better vehicle to deliver the hot water in order to dissolve the glue. Of course this will have little impact on other glues and various scmutzes that have invaded the crack.
  7. How in the world do you and Arnold keep coming up with these descriptive words that all seem to mean the same thing?
  8. Aha!! I knew it!! I knew these danged luthiers had a secret society! Proof! They've got a secret language......
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Avnorf klann beznorfut!!!!

  10. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Inkkel de lijn, fer comma puppy poo.

    Or, for you plebians, Hot Water. I use a very soft tootbrush for the majority of cracks. But, if you don't know how to touch up varnish, you will be opening a can of worms. Which can be a learning experience or a nightmare. Or both :D
  11. mhartery


    Jun 27, 2002
    The Hans Weisshaar Book says meat tenderizer works well. It has enzimes that break down the protines that are also found in hide glue.
  12. I've used this one, it works quite well... though with any substance (solvents, surficants, or otherwise) be sure to test it on the varnish in an inconspicuous area.

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