Technical Library

STRUCTURE II: Soundboard crack repair

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Soundboard crack repair
The following series of photos is of a twenty year-old Italian harpsichord with numerous cracks to its Sitka spruce soundboard and live wrestplank veneer. Except in magnitude—and with the benefit of clear access to the soundboard with all the strings removed—the repair strategy was no different to the repair of a single crack in a harpsichord soundboard.

In turn, each crack was cleaned and enlarged to an even tapered width with an X-Acto knife. A suitable tapered Sitka spruce shim was selected and fitted to each one. Each shim was then removed one at a time and glue forced into the vacant crack. The shim was then reinserted and pushed tight, ensuring both sides of the crack remained level. The excess glue squeeze was cleaned from either side of the shim, and then the next shim could be glued. When all the shims were dry, each was shaved flush with the soundboard, before the entire soundboard area could be cleaned. The instrument was then ready for restringing.

Cracked soundboard with shims fitted 41K jpeg Soundboard with shims trimmed and board cleaned 40K jpeg
Shims fitted to all the soundboard cracks Shims glued and shaved flush

Soundboard with shims trimmed and board cleaned 40K jpeg Closeup of repaired harpsichord soundboard crack 37K jpeg
Shims glued, shaved and soundboard cleaned Close-up of repaired crack

Movie thumb 3K jpeg Movie 1K gif Soundboard crack repair
Carey Beebe demonstrating how to repair a hairline crack in a harpsichord soundboard.
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