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Lute restoration project


Koendb
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I did receive a number of instruments to look at, setup and restore, amongst them, this lute.

The nut is broken and there is a big crack in the soundboard ,from one side, all the way to , or maybe even under, the pickguard. Material is definitely missing and thus probably needs some patching.

IMG 20220724 083948659
IMG 20220724 083957997

 

 

IMG 20220724 084011121
IMG 20220724 084018143
IMG 20220724 084024900
IMG 20220724 084127332
IMG 20220724 084146733
IMG 20220724 084154883

Two frets missing at the end of the fretboard so i need to find out where i can get these kind of fret material. Also all frets are sticking out pretty far and I wonder if shrinkage of wood can be that drastic. I did not measure it, but it does stick out almost a mm.

 

I will take off the strings and add more pictures later on.

Any advice on repairing this instrument is highly appreciated Also, If you would happen to know more about this type of lute, please let me know! 🙂


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Koendb
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In the meantime, I figured out it could be a mandolute. scale length seems to be 13 5/8"


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Boo
 Boo
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@koendb That is a nice little project you have there and a smart little instrument. Unfortunately I can’t offer any help as I don’t have the first clue about these kind of instruments but best of luck with it. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Rocknroller912
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@koendb 

The soundboard crack might be due to the pick guard being glued on as this prevents the wood from expanding and contracting naturally. I suggest taking it off and fixing with double sided tape to allow more flexibility. 
To fix the crack I would glue in thin shims of wood, as many as you need to fill the space. Make them very thin so they are flexible and will bend round any curves and glue them all in at the same time. Leave some above the surface to be sanded off when dry. The alternative is to remove the top which will be hard. 
mandolin fret wire might work but without a close up photo I guess that the frets are square and not crowned so you might have to re fret the whole thing.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


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Koendb
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Label says it is a Pietro Tonelli and is made in Napoli presumably around 1900

IMG 20220724 WA0001
Posted by: @rocknroller912

but without a close up photo I guess that the frets are square and not crowned so you might have to re fret the whole thing.

IMG 20220724 WA0000

They are indeed square.

Also, here a better close up of the nut.

I also assume the bridge is not original, as it is just a simple piece of wood


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Koendb
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Posted by: @rocknroller912

I suggest taking it off and fixing with double sided tape to allow more flexibility. 

@rocknroller912 I ll have a look if I can remove it without any damage. There is a big chance that this is bakelite. I believe it gets brittle when it ages?


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Bpower
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@koendb I've seen that you can get the "bar type" fret wire from https://proluthiertools.com/product/bar-fret-wire/ . There are probably other places but that's the one that I seen and read about. I read about it from the fret book I got from stewmac. It's interesting but I think I'm ok with not working on one of those at this point in my guitar building career. 🙂


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Rocknroller912
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@koendb 

Bakelite does get very brittle and I’m not sure about the best way to remove it. Try some warm water around the edges. At the time it was made people only used water based glue I think and it’s hard to think this would stick Bakelite to wood. 
The top might be shellac finish which probably would stick, so also try methylated spirit on a small paint brush around the edge anywhere it’s lifting.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


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Koendb
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@bpower thanks for that info! it will be useful 👍 


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Koendb
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@rocknroller912 Thanks a lot! I will give that a try to remove the pickguard 👍 


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