Showing posts from June 5, 2017
Here is a front view of the stretcher fascia, being slowly jacked up and out of the instrument. Behind it you can see the iron bar, which is actually quite large and heavy, and is secured by a somewhat motley assortment of screws, in an odd arrangement.
Above, the iron bar revealed. This is sort of like putting the pin-block flange, behind the pin-block. Erard was not the only one to do this. the remaining plate strut projects all the way through the stretcher and contacts the bar, without actually being attached to it.
A closeup of one end of the iron bar, showing also the groove into which the spline of the fascia fit. This groove is about 1/8" deep, and is cut just through the veneer, which is very thick in this area.
The name stamped on the back of the bar (CHATILLON.SS)
Now the veneer can start to come off the top of the stretcher assembly. I used to be terribly afraid of this, but the trick is not to use a hot iron. Instead set the iron on the lowest setting, so that the temperature gradient is not too great, and the glue has a chance to get warm before outside burns. I use a clean wet, but not sopping, towel between the iron and the veneer, and, of course, the veneer has been stripped of finish. If you want to preserve the finish this is not the method. Plenty of patience is required, which with me, is always in short supply. Use a spray bottle of water and keep the towel wet. When the veneer begins to loosen work a thin, but not sharp blade underneath.

The backs of the removed pieces are washed with hot water to remove any remaining glue, and then packed between clean paper toweling and put under pressure.
Now we can see that the top of the stretcher is made of several pieces, with small slips of veneer between them, and that one of the joints co…
Here is one of the two fellows I mentioned earlier. Each of these was cast in two parts out of Bronze, and machined. One has to admire the level of effort that went into making and installing them, all for naught. The agraffes, also pictured here, are all too badly damaged to be reused. They were all drilled out, in place, to accommodate larger modern wire. All the string lengths, the strike line spacing, and the string heights were recorded, before the instrument was unstrung. For those of you more fastidious than me, I did keep the wire and the pins, although they are modern, just to have a record, and to know the string tension on the instrument when it first arrived.