Arthur Robb
Luthier
art@art-robb.co.uk
0044 (0)1666-822945
07984-892570

1829? LOUIS PANORMO

A restoration of a guitar that had been in the family for many years.

The label of does not show any hint of a date or number and my guess is that it was made about 1829.

The guitar as it arrived, dirty but reasonably sound.

Inside the guitar, taken with a digital camera, showing many previous repairs, all of which have been done through the sound hole. As more cracks have occurred in the top and sides since the last repairs were done, I intend to to remove the back, do any necessary new repairs and make good any previous repairs which are too heavy. Too much extra wood is detrimental to the tone of the guitar.

In order to remove the back of the guitar it is necessary to remove the bindings as these hide the back to sides joint. Notice that the binding is in two pieces one of which remains attached to the back. The other is being removed and sometimes it breaks up into small pieces and has to be sacrificed. On this occasion it came off in about ten pieces and I was able to reuse it.

Once separated, work begins on the back. Both back bars were partially unglued. Under the soundboard, wet cotton wool softens the old animal glue making removal of previous repairs possible. The photo on the right shows removed wood.

Showing the underside of the soundboard with all previous repairs removed, a general view of the inside of the front of the guitar, the beginning of adding lightweight reinforcement and trimming the new reinforcements to reduce weight while retaining strength. Note the new lightweight hardwood reinforcements directly below the bridge. Every Panormo seems to need this.

The back ready to be attached to the body. The back was easily re-joined to the body. It took a bit more time to replace the original binding. The very scratched area on the soundboard was cleaned and given a thin coat of brushed-on shellac to keep out the dirt. The wood is so corrugated here that it was impossible to attempt any other finish.

Once together and strung with Savarez Red Card strings, I was surprised to find the bass tuning machine would not operate. I removed the unit of three machines and found it worked perfectly well, only to find seized again when on the guitar. I observed that the screws holding the tuning machines to the peg head went in a very severe angles. On closer inspection it appeared that parts of old screws had been left in the wood, interfering with the positioning of the screws and pushing the barrels against wood. I had to drill around the old screws until there was room to pull out the old screws with pliers. One hole had the remains of two screws inside it!

With the holes in the side of the pegbox filled with glued-in dowel, the machine heads could be once again attached to the peg head with original small screws. This time all the tuning machines worked perfectly.

The restored Panormo ready to be returned to its owner.

Dimensions:
String length: 633mm
Overall Length: 944mm
Width of upper bout: 226mm
Width at waist: 175mm
Width at lower bout: 286mm
Height at upper bout: 90mm
Height at lower bout: 94mm
Nut width: 45.5mm
Weight: 1.125 kg

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