Guarneri violin part 2

With the scroll now carved, it can be put to one side while I concentrate on making the body.
As always, it begins with the ribs. Before the ribs can be made, I need to fit spruce blocks to the mould, and carve these to shape. The ribs themselves are sawn from a block of maple matching the back, then carefully planed down to their final thickness, and finished with a scraper.
The thickness is ultimately judged by the feel of the wood, to ensure it will bend correctly.

The C ribs are fitted first, then the upper and lower ribs. Recently I’ve had a lot of nice violins in the workshop, which have some decoration around the lower rib joint. On those it has been done as part of a previous restoration, but I quite like the look, so I’ve replicated that this time.
It’s not something I usually do, and I think it’s probably the first time I’ve done this on my own work.

Once the ribs are completed, they are used to mark out the back and belly, ready for sawing. The plates are arched and purfled before hollowing them out. At this point I’ll cut the soundholes and fit the bass bar.
I really like these soundholes. When finished, they always have a striking appearance.

Before fitting everything together, the rib section needs some more work. The linings and blocks have to be carved to their final shapes, to reduce excess wood, and some weight as a result. The hole for the end button gets drilled and reamed to a 1:30 taper at this point too.

Finally, the big drawer of clamps makes it’s way onto the bench, and after a dry run, the back can be glued to the ribs. Next day I glue the top, and with that done, the body is largely complete.

The next part will cover neck fitting and shaping.

You can read the first part here. Or the next instalment here.


Categories: Making

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