The piece of top wood selected for “The Rebecca” is a beautiful piece of split Italian spruce that has been dried for more than 10 years. Because it is split, we are sure that the grain is “on the quarter” and the tone will be optimal. This first step is to join the halves.
The next step is to layout the outline using the rib assembly as a template.
As for the back, we establish the purfling platform.
Then we cut the purfling channel and bend and cut the purfling pieces.
Once the purfling is installed, like for the back we form the arching shape and cut the sgusciatura and finish the final outside arching.
Now we flip it over and gouge out the inside.
We are now ready to tune the back and the top. But first, lets make the neck.
With the purfling in, we finish the outside shape of the back. Using gouges and templates, the rough outline is brought to shape. Then using a very sharp gouge, the sgusciatura (or channel) is cut all around the back.
The using finger planes and scrapers, the final shape is formed.
With the outside complete, we flip it over and start gouging out the inside.
Continuing with gouges, planes, and scrapers, the inside is finished.
We will wait to tune this plate until after the top is made.
With the rib assembly done, we turn our attention to the back. The back is made from some very nice Bosnian maple that was cut approximately 15 years ago. The first step is to plane a perfect joint and join the two pieces.
Next we use the rib assembly to trace the outline for the back on the joined maple and then cut it out.
Next, we establish a platform for the installation of the purfling. To do this, we make platform about 5 mm thick and 9 mm wide all around the instrument. At this point we finish the outline to perfectly match the rib assembly with about 2.5 mm overhang all around.
With the platform established, we cut a purfling channel all around the instrument. Pieces of purfling are bent and inlayed into the channel. The picture below shows half of the purfling installed.
To finish this stage, we just need to install the other half of the purfling. Now we move on to completing the arching of the outside of the back.
The first step is to install the blocks and ribs. “The Rebecca” is based on a Strad (the Provigny) pattern. The blocks are willow and glued to the mold. The ribs are planed to a thickness of about 1.2 mm and then bent to shape. Below is a picture of the blocks and the c-ribs installed.
Now the blocks must be trimmed to accept the other ribs. Likewise, those ribs are planed to about 1.2 mm and bent.
Today we start “The Rebecca”. Below is a picture of the wood I have selected for this violin. There is a nicely flamed piece of Bosnian maple for the back and sides and a very nice piece of split Italian spruce for the top. The linings and blocks will be made from willow. The neck block is also nicely flamed.
The bass bar is a piece of spruce about 6 mm wide that runs the length of the top underneath the bass foot of the bridge. It provides rigidity for the top and enhances the lower frequencies. Its proper installation is critical to the tone of the instrument.
The first step is to cut a piece of spruce to the proper length, plane it to width and cut the proper shape with a knife.
We then glue some temporary cleats to the top to hold it in place and chalk fit the bassbar to the top. Its location is critical and must fit exactly the entire length.
Once it fits perfectly, we glue it in place.
The bassbar is then shaped using small planes. Thicker in the bridge area and thinner in the lungs.
Like we did for graduating the top, we use resonate frequencies to fine tune the shape of the bassbar.
The top is now complete. We are ready to put the body together.
The steps for continuing with the top are the same as for the back. The next step is to cut the purfling channel and install the purfling.
Then using the gouge, we bring the arching down to the level of the purfling.
Now, as for the back, we refine the arching using finger planes and scrapers, cut the sgusciatura and blend the arching to the channel. we have now finished the outside of the top.
To do the inside, we gouge out the excess wood to a uniform thickness of about 4 mm. The top does not have the same graduation pattern as the back. Rather, it is essentially uniform in thickness. Sometimes, depending on the wood, it is a little thinner in the upper and lower bouts and a little thicker in the bridge and sound post area. Using finger planes and scrapers, I bring this top down to about 3.2 mm all over.
As with the back, the top is tuned using resonate frequency readings and stiffness calculations.
The top is now finished except for cutting the f-holes and installing the bass bar.