I have decided to specialise in restoration, so I was very fortunate to be given the chance to spend a week working with Iris Carr. I took a violin I've been working on and Iris talked me through how best to tackle its many problems, which include extensive worm damage, a pegbox with dangerously thin walls and floor due to a previous graft, cracks and plate subsidence secondary to worm channels.
Iris was very generous with her time and introduced me to many materials and techniques that were new to me: we made a cast of the back of the pegbox using car body filler, with 25 micron foil as a separator, which has the advantage over plaster that you can add filler where the cast has a dip, as well as scrape high points. The back of the pegbox was so thin that I was able to correct the cast and steam the wood to restore its shape, prior to building up its thickness. I also corrected a cast of a violin plate Iris was working on, and we made a positive cast from it to assess progress.
It was a fascinating and enjoyable week and I am very grateful to Iris for all her help, and to the RAB Trust for making it possible.