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A Case of Explosion Damage

A Case of Explosion Damage

by Keith Davis

Originally published in American Lutherie #15, 1988



In the course of operating a violin shop we have seen all sorts of typical and not-so-typical repair jobs come in, as every shop does. The average day brings a dropped soundpost, a broken bridge, some cracks and so forth. But we were recently called on to repair a series of problems in the instruments of the high school orchestra following a natural gas explosion .

On January 13, 1988 a leak in an underground line allowed gas to build up in the boys’ locker room and weight room of the West Iron County High School. When a coach flipped a light switch the resulting spark apparently set off the explosion, which injured approximately twenty students and staff. The orchestra had stored their instruments in a nearby room and the explosion and shock wave following it caused many of the instruments’ soundposts to either fall or shift position. It is our opinion that the position of the instrument at the time determined whether the post fell or was relocated. Several bridges broke, both violins and ‘celli being so affected. As a point of interest, no viola damage was reported.

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It Worked for Me: Violin Shipping Tips

It Worked for Me: Violin Shipping Tips

by Keith Davis

Originally published in American Lutherie #48, 1996

 

Helpful hints for shipping a violin:

▶ Place a foam rubber or tissue paper filler under the end of the fingerboard. This should be just snug, not too tight.
▶ Place a similar pad under the end of the tailpiece nearest the bridge.
▶ Using additional foam rubber or tissue, make a pad that will fill the space between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard, and a similar one that will fit between the bridge and the tailpiece and put them in place.
▶ With the padding in place, lower the string tension slightly, the equivalent of about one full tone. The strings should touch the pads.
▶ If a polyethylene violin bag is available, put the violin into it prior to putting it in the case to help protect the instrument from humidity changes during transit.
▶ Place additional foam rubber pads between the case and the ribs of the violin to prevent it from knocking around in the case. Make sure that the neck of the violin is supported and that the bow(s), if any, are well secured.
▶ Close the case carefully after including any necessary documents. Pick up the case in both hands and shake it gently, then with more vigor, listening to see if the violin is well secured. If not, back up and add more padding.
▶ Pack the case in an appropriate corrugated cardboard box. Padding between the case and the box is essential and may consist of crumpled paper in great quantity, foam peanuts, foam rubber.
▶ Whenever possible, ship violins on Mondays or Tuesdays, and rare or valuable instruments via 2nd Day Air. This will prevent long layovers in unheated
warehouses.

Please Note: People receiving violins in terribly cold weather should exercise caution in unpacking them. The instrument, box and all should be allowed to come to room temperature before opening. Frozen violins, shocked by instant exposure to warm air, can turn into 72-piece violin kits.

Take your time and do a nice job. Using these methods we at Davis Instrument Service have never suffered a shipping loss.