Violin # 22 114


(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)

Another big-voiced red spruce/maple classical violin is ready to go.

Construction Photos

Construction of this maple and red spruce violin begins with sizing and joining the plates with hot hide glue. The sides are thicknessed and bent, and glued to the corner and end blocks around an internal form. The upper part of the form is removed,

and the top linings are glued in place. Meanwhile work on the neck begins with cutting out the rough shape from a piece of highly figured maple. The shape of the ribs, plus overhang, is marked with a washer. The top is cut to shape, and excess wood is removed with a duplicating carver. A channel is cut for the purfling, and it's fitted and glued in place with hot hide glue.

Shaping of the outside of the top begins with planes, then advances to scrapers and sandpaper, and a similar progression evolves on the inside. The top is graduated by juggling the parameters of thickness, weight, stiffness, and resonant frequency. This is a slow and tedious process, and one that uses technology both old and new as well as experience and instinct. It's also the most critical process in the construction of the violin, and predominately determines the ultimate voice of the instrument.

The f-holes are cut, and the bass bar is fitted and glued to the top. The neck is rough cut on a bandsaw. The neck and scroll continue to be roughly shaped with a handsaw and with an assortment of chisels and gouges. This is one gnarly piece of wood, and one that will try both my patience and my skills! It will be beautiful, though, and worth the effort.

The bass bar is tuned using the same electronics that were utilized on the top, and the top is glued to the rib garland. The top and ribs are removed from the internal form, and the back linings are glued in place.

Meanwhile, work continues on the scroll and neck. After losing a day to a power outage, I turn my attention to the back. The outline is marked and cut, and excess wood is removed with the duplicating carver. The purfling channel is cut, and the purfling is fitted and glued into the recess.

Work on the scroll continues, gradually refining the shape with a myriad of hand tools. The outside of the back is brought to its final shape, and thicknessing holes are drilled on the inside. Though the top is mostly of uniform thickness, the back is carefully graduated, thicker in the center than along the edges. Working with the same parameters that were juggled on the top, the back is brought to its final dimensions and tone. Although the back is not as critical as the top in producing sound, the relationship between the two is a critical element of the voice.

It's beginning to look more like a violin, less like a tree. The neck and scroll are nearly finished. The neck mortise is cut in the head block, and the neck is glued to the body. The maker's label is glued inside, and the instrument is signed, and the back is glued to the ribs.

At this point, the instrument is structurally complete and finishing can commence. The sealer coat also gives the wood a yellow hue that provides an underlying glow to the finish. A dilute stain is applied to the back, sides, and neck to accentuate the grain. Then colored coats of varnish are applied, each coat bringing the instrument closer to its final color.

Thanks for watching this project

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