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

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1831 PANORMO FECIT

NUMBER 1974

A restoration done in 2010 for a Norwich guitar enthusiast who intends the guitar to be used by the classical guitarist, James Boyd. James's website, www.jamesboyd.co.uk, gives details of his music and of an interesting 2013 musical sailing tour based on his classic yacht, Concorde.

This is the earliest of the Panormos I have worked on so far and my first with the "Panormo Fecit" label. The guitar as it arrived was dirty, damaged and had some woodworm, but it did not show signs of wear due to playing.



The pictures show screws through the bridge, many cracks in the soundboard, at least one broken bar on the back and a good deal of missing mother of pearl. Over the years the back bars have become relatively larger than the back (perhaps the guitar shrunk but the bars less so), forcing the sides of the guitar out and revealing that the rosewood binding is made of two pieces. The back will be removed from the guitar to gain access to the underside of the soundboard.

I like to remove as many parts as possible before beginning the delicate woodwork, so my first job was to remove the machine heads. I am not certain if the head, with it's Baker tuning machines, is original but if it replaces an earlier head with friction pegs, the craftsmanship of the replacement is high. Two of the tuning machine handles were very bent and the whole mechanism was filthy with years of neglect.

Once removed, the tuning machines were cleaned. A little work with a toothbrush and bicarbonate of soda made them almost look new. They were lubricated with light machine oil and the heads partially straightened. I was very careful not to break off the heads, and compromised with two of the heads usable but not completely straightened. Replacement tuning machines are available, but very expensive. The delicate ivory heads of the original are not available as replacements anywhere.

Patience is needed removing the back. The outer binding was difficult to remove and broke off in small pieces. I decided to replace it with new wood later. The inner binding mostly remained attached to the back. Once inside many previous repairs became apparent as did the two rather tattered wooden blocks for the screws in the bridge. The join of the two halves of the soundboard is reinforced with small pieces of wood with the grain aligned at right angles to the grain of the soundboard. This is not a usual practice in musical instrument making. Unfortunately, a crack has developed adjacent to them.

The entire instrument was treated for insect infestation

The label was photographed at this time. It is small, 35 by 60 mm.

The guitar was not built with fan strutting. I chose to leave that unchanged, but to clean up the inside, reinforce all the cracks with a minimum amount of wood and glue up anything that was loose. I replaced the two tattered wooden blocks with new wood. Some of the old reinforcement was removed as the wood below was in poor condition and needed more continuous reinforcement. The area between the two blocks was particularly damaged.

It's easily seen that a toothed plane was used and that the tentellones were pricked, probably enabling them to be placed in position.

Repairs to the back included gluing up a cracked bar, attention to one short crack near the rear, re-attaching bars to the back, straightening the back which had become warped during removal, and a thorough clean.

Two pictures showing the underside of the soundboard and the back after all the internal work has been completed. The guitar now feels structurally sound but no heavier.

Splinting soundboard cracks and cutting Mother-of-Pearl.

More reinforcement was needed as there were cracks in the soundboard where it met the fingerboard.

Attaching the back to the body and replacing the sacrificed bindings.

The restored guitar October 2010.

Dimensions:
String length: 634mm
Overall Length: 930mm
Width of upper bout: 210mm
Width at waist: 162mm
Width at lower bout: 285mm
Height at upper bout: 80mm
Height at lower bout: 88mm
Nut width: 45.5mm