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

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1832 LOUIS PANORMO

Number 20027

The owner of this Panormo is an accomplished player and has had the guitar for over 50 years. He wants the guitar restored so it will be playable again. As of August 2014, the restoration is just about to begin.

Under the lid of a compartment of the old coffin case is this label.

Photos from inside the guitar show a back bar partially unglued and a second back bar partially missing.

The label inside the guitar.

The back will need to removed from the guitar to repair the broken and missing bars. To remove the back, some rosewood binding will have to be removed and possibly sacrificed. The photo on the left shows that the binding is separate from the back of the guitar. Removing the back will allow access to the underside of the soundboard where there are certain to be repairs needing attention. When the owner was young and inexperienced, he repaired the broken headstock with two part epoxy. This repair is now coming apart and will need special care.

The rosewood binding beginning to come off. I use heat and water to soften the glue and invariably there is some damage to the finish. In this case, the binding came off in four pieces, possibly the original number. I will be able to re-use these.

Once the guitar has been opened up, I usually start the restoration with the back. Both back bars have partially come un-glued and one has snapped off. The first step is to re-glue the bars to the back. The back also had a large crack near the heel. Using an assortment of clamps, I was able to glue that crack closed.

To replace the missing wood on the bar with two thirds missing, I planed the remainder flat, made up a replacement and attached it to the existing wood. After shaping and painted with a dark brown watercolour, it looked very like other Panormos.

The headstock was quite a problem. It had been repaired badly with two part epoxy. Some joints were very tightly glued while others were failing. It was not possible to dismantle the assortment of joints and I needed a way to glue epoxy to wood and to glue epoxy to epoxy. I chose to use SP 106, a top quality two part epoxy system which I have used on boats. First, I glued up the cracks in the head stock. There were also holes left by the previous repair where the epoxy was missing. SP 106 has the ability to become a filler bay adding special powders to the mix. It was not until all the holes were filled that the headstock began to feel really secure.

The soundboard was in relatively good condition and only one crack needed to be reinforced with small bits of wood. As usual, I covered the hole for bridge pins with this sheets of sycamore. Not shown, are two linen patches on the inside of the sides to strengthen areas where the thin, old rosewood was beginning to break up.

The Panormo went back together well and the guitar feels altogether more sturdy. The first five frets are badly worn and I have chosen to replace them. They are made of nickel silver sheet that was available at the time. Modern style fret wire was not used. In my town, Peter Howell, a local silversmith, will start with an 18th century nickel diver spoon and flatten it into sheet. I'll use this sheet to fashion vintage frets.

The nickel silver sheet Peter created for the frets and the new frets in place


The restored guitar and its case.

Dimensions:
String length: 634 mm
Overall Length: 935 mm
Width of upper bout: 227 mm
Width at waist: 175 mm
Width at lower bout: 286 mm
Height at upper bout: 88 mm
Height at lower bout: 92.5 mm
Nut width: 47 mm
Weight: 1.075 kg