Arthur Robb
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1837 Panormo 1837 Panormo

This Panormo guitar had already been extensively played, damaged and repaired. Above left is the guitar after it's 21st century restoration, above right, the lable. The original frets cut from sheet brass were still on the guitar, suggesting that all the playing, damage and repairs dated from before fretwire was commonly used. As requested by the owner, I fitted modern frets.

1837 Panormo 1837 Panormo 1837 Panormo

Above left shows the state of bars on the back. Note that the inside back is covered with a dark stain which even shows under the bar and dots, but the rear side of the bar is not painted as if it was coloured with a paintbrush through the soundhole. Above centre shows the large piece of wood used strengthen the top under the bridge, the crude cloth reinforcement and some of the dots. Only the transverse bar is stained a dark colour. On the right is the soundboard and body ready to receive the back.

This was a fascinating guitar to work on. Not only was it a splendid instrument, but it was interesting to see the work of other repairers.


Inside the guitar there was a suprising number of repairs and it soon became apparent that many different hands had already been here.

Repairers use small carefully cut pieces of softwood, spruce or pine, to reinforce and align repairs of cracks. I call these pieces dots though they are often called studs or cleats. The grain of the dot runs at right angles to the crack and they are carefully trimmed to reduce weight. The repairs here are unusual as there are at least four different styles of dots used on this guitar. Four styles of dots probably means four different repairers worked on the guitar, although one could have been the original maker.


1837 Panormo

Elegant dots cut from a strip. The grain of the dot is not quite 90 degrees to the crack. Being close to the soundhole, the dots were easily positioned, even then the repairer left a bit of glue about. In the larger picture, the pinpricks in each dot give a clue about the tool used to position the dots.


1837 Panormo

The upper picture shows a crack near the stern of the guitar. A small piece of wood has been inset into the side of the guitar.

Below, the same place on the inside of the guitar. The dots placed on the crack here are in an area inaccessable to the hand (remember the top would not have been removed). This repairer drilled a small hole very near the crack and passed a thin gut string through the hole. The string was then pulled out of the soundhole and attached to a dot. Glue was applied to the dot and the string pulled the dot back through the soundhole to the inside of the cracked rib. This was done three times. It is extraordinary that the three dots are so different. Please notice that only two dots are successful in reinforcing the crack.

1837 Panormo


1837 Panormo

Another style of dot applied to the back before it had been stained black - one dot is missing. These dots reinforce the back of the guitar near the end block, or stern. Perhaps this work was done by the maker.


1837 Panormo

Rounded dots on the inside of the back of the guitar on the upper bout. Yet another style of dot.

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