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Repair a vihuela

A vihuela came into my shop for repair, as it's bridge had flew off the top.
Should be quite an easy job the only thing is that the bridge took out some of the top.
Also upon inspection the luthier did a terrible thing, that is to scribe several cross marks onto the bridge and top!!!

Those who use hide glue will know this is a not a recommended action.
Hide glue needs maximum surface fit to have a great adhesion and the vihuela (like any other early instruments) has a small gluing surface.
So the fit becomes even more important.
Finally I decide to sand the top flat taking out those deep scribe marks.
Also when I sand the bridge's bottom surface then I realise the fit was really terrible.
There was deep hollow in the center of the bridge's bottom.
No wonder the bridge will fly out...

So I sand all surface flat and put the sandpaper on the top to fit the bridge bottom to the top.
Finally it was ready for gluing.
I use hide glue for the gluing and apply clamps after the hide started to grab the 2 pieces together.

Bridge off u can see the scribe marks on the top.

Bridge bottom; the surface was not level at all.

Sanding flat the top

Fitting the bottom of the bridge to the top

Applying the hide glue.

Glued and clamped.


Some pics of the instrument

Inlay on the top

The sound hole rose of the vihuela

Frets using fishing lines.

Prepare to close box

I glued the reinforce veneer to the sound port side.
I haven't decided whether to include a sound port for this build or not.
But I can glue-in the backing first.

Next I also glued in the middle back brace.
I just need to glue in the tornavoz and I am all set to close the box.

Glue the veneer backing for the sound port

Apply the clamps

I also make the tornavoz for the top.
Previously I have already thin the tornavoz wood, so for this session I just heat and bend it.
After that I just use the clamp to hold it in shape.
I have not decide the exact radius yet.

The bent toranvoz

The bending equipment. I use an additional iron to apply heat to both sides of the wood.

I drilled the sound port and glue on the tornavoz to the top.
The tornavoz was previously bent, I just glue up the tornavoz and glue the tornavoz to the top.
I decided to fit the tornavoz to the size of the soundhole instead of bigger and glued behind the sound hole.
So I trim off the excess tornavoz and glue the tornavoz ends together using the soundhole as clamp.

Glue the tornavoz ends together.

Next I glue the tornavoz to the top.
Surprisingly the tornavoz fitted the sound hole very well with no gaps.
After that I glued some peones lining block to support the tornavoz.

Glued the tornavoz to the top

Glue the lining blocks to support the tornavoz

Next I also drilled the sound port on the sides.
I did not follow my usual design as I wanted a smaller sound port so as not to affect the air mode too much.

Marking the location where to drill the sound port.

Clamp a backing to avoid blowout

Sound port done. Not very nice though...

I glue the first part of back seam support.
After that I paste my label on the back and signed the label.
To protect it I also coat the reinforcement and label with a thin coat of shellac.

Gluing the back seam reinforcement

Paste the label