Here’s a more detailed look at the German Trade Fiddle (hereinafter GTF) at the saddle end of The Crack –

The crack is about 1.5mm wide at the bottom, tapering to almost nothing where it ends at the upper part of the treble FF hole. No matter how the clamps were arranged, that darned crack would not close, so I have no choice but to open her up. To tell the truth, I was really hoping it would come to this as I really want to see what’s inside – corner blocks? thru-neck? integral bass bar? What delights await?

First things first, though – off with the fingerboard!

Yeah, that sucker was glued on forever! It came off in two pieces and revealed itself to be a pale wood dyed black, most of which came off on my hands from the hot water applied to the seam. Sigh. Can’t have any fun if you don’t get dirty, right? Cut my finger, too, damn it! Lots of hot water and a putty knife loosened the seam and the top came off in one piece. Here’s what awaited me –

This thing is dirty inside! The typed label reads:

Antonius Stradiuarius
Faciebad anno 1716
Made in Germany

The fact that it says “Made in Germany” in English marks this fiddle as having been made to be exported to an English-speaking country some time after 1890-ish but before WWII as it doesn’t say “West Germany” and is definitely too old to have been built after the re-unification. It’s also stamped “Germany” near the end pin. Some of these German trade fiddles sound really good, so I’m hopeful that it will live up to the price I paid 🙂
Anyone have any info on dating this one?

It has full end and neck blocks, rather roughly finished, but the corner blocks are fake – nothing more than wedges to make it look like it’s fully blocked when peeking in through the FF holes. No upper corner blocking at all. The linings have been trimmed but are a bit rough.

And the inside of the top, still quite wet from all the water (might have overdone it a bit, but it came off in one piece, which is quite a first-time accomplishment, so Yay Me!) –

The bass bar seems heavy, but it is shaped and glued in. The underside of the top is quite roughly carved and should probably be smoothed a bit before it’s closed up again. It needs to dry thoroughly before anything is done, so here it will sit until it once again reaches the top of the Fiddle Repair Queue. Life is good!