The correction of the arching
This restoration work requires prior preparation of a mould.
Correcting the arching is one of the most difficult operations. On some old instruments, the plates may have suffered and finally collapsed because of an overly deformed or tight bassbar, an excessive angle of the neck or excessive thinness of the plates. In such a case, I make a plaster cast of the deformed part. The front or the back of the instrument is placed in a “frame”, protected with a very thin plastic film and then subjected to vacuum. This process produces extremely accurate moulding (100th of a millimetre). Once dry, the cast is corrected with scrapers and will be used to become a vault, which should bring back the archings to the original shape. Then I put the piece in the vault and wet the area and place hot sandbags over it to reacquire the original shape. The vault must remain under pressure for a few days, and it is often necessary to make several casts. In some cases, a chest patch is necessary to strengthen the arching.
M. Menanteau, Rome 2010
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