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Schoenbach Cello Repair Case Study


A client brought in a cello that had been in her family for several generations. The 110-year-old instrument from Schoenbach (present-day Czech Rebulic) had been neglected for years and was in need of major structural restoration to bring it back to playing condition.



Aside from some maintenance issues (new pegs, bridge, gluing), the major and most interesting problem with this cello was that one of the lower bout ribs was substantially cracked in several places. The cracks were very old, wide open and heavily warped. They extended from the bottom seam (at the end pin) to the middle of the rib (half-way to the corner) and could not have been glued or closed without major intervention.


To reinforce the multiple cracks and restore the surface of the rib, a new rib was laminated inside of the existing rib. This required removing the rib from the cello and thinning it down to less than half its thickness in the damaged area. A new rib was then made which conformed to the original rib and it was glued in place. Once dry, the doubled rib was taken down to original thickness.

A new corner block and bottom block were then fit and installed, and linings that had been removed were re-glued along the top and bottom of the rib. An extensive varnish touch-up completed the rib restoration.

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