Relining Viola Case

Musicians need throat sweets – you mustn’t cough during a performance. However throat sweets can escape at which point everything gets rather sticky.

The melted sweets can be seen here escaping from the compartment in the bottom left of the picture. The case hasn’t been used for a few years as no-one wants to play a sticky viola.

So I got the job of relining the case. The fabric appears to have been fitted to a mold, with foam injected behind the fabric. The foam and fabric was presumably then fitted into the plastic case.

Fabric choice

We discussed fabric. A leopard-skin print fur fabric was the top choice. However, there were a couple of issues:

  1. Some fabrics and glues emit gasses. Sometimes these gasses attack wood or metal. When the instrument costs many thousands of pounds this could be a very expensive problem. It isn’t easy to tell whether any fabric will do this.
  2. The fabric may be abrasive. The varnish on a string instrument is very important and we don’t want to rub it off. I have a suspicion that fur fabric might be particularly abrasive but it isn’t easy to know whether this is the case or not.

We decided to go with this:

This is an upholstery fabric that has been sitting at the back of a cupboard for many years so any out-gassing should have stopped some time ago. I’m not sure how abrasive it is but it feels soft. The disadvantage of this fabric is that it is rather thick and inflexible. The big advantage is that it doesn’t cost anything.

I’ve removed the fabric from the lower part of the case:

The sticky residue from the sweets hasn’t gone through into the foam which is a Good Thing as I wasn’t sure how I could clean that up. Next step – try to figure out how to put the new fabric in.

1 thought on “Relining Viola Case

  1. Pingback: Relining Viola Case – Part 2 – Progress | Martin's Blog

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