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Carving a scroll - step by step - Part II

June 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Now I will cut the outline in a bandsaw. I start cutting the neck root, I use an angle guide to make a precise cut:


I continue cutting, I'm cutting near the line (risky) so that I'll have less work to refine my outline. The "throat" is an important aspect of the style of the maker:

This wood is generous in size, perhaps I'll be able to make a violin scroll with the rest of the wood:

Now I use a big, coarse rasp to take off the saw's marks, it removes wood fast, I have to work quickly:

Here, with a smaller coarse rasp I work on the volute region. I have to keep the rasp flat over the surface to cut uniformly, notice the position of my hands, specially the left hand thumb applying some pressure over the rasp:

From Laurie Niles
Posted on June 11, 2009 at 6:42 PM

All I can say is, wow. I wonder how many actual "steps" there are in creating an entire violin from scratch. I'm sure it would vary from violin to violin and luthier to luthier, but has anyone ever counted? It must be a staggering number! (1. a tree grows in the forest..)

Thanks for this inside view, Luis.

Posted on June 11, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Thanks Laurie!

Many many steps, and some are not related directly to the instrument: choosing wood in Italy, deciding about the model, making the form,  buying varnish material, cooking varnish, receiving musicians,  set up with musicians, "test drive" in the concert room with many musicians, chatting with other makers, etc.  That's why violin making is an obssessive/compulsive work.

I think I will use about 170 photos to describe the scroll making process.

From Royce Faina
Posted on June 11, 2009 at 8:00 PM

I'm enthrauld by this!  Luis, I hope that you take us step by step in the development of a Viola!  To watch it go from a piece of slab wood to a full finished instrument is like watching an egg go from embryo to fetus to child, to adult!

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on June 11, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Wow, all I can say is Congratulation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I admire so much this type of work.  Really, it is artistic, scientific, psychologic, etc...  

All the best! It is very interesting!


Having a violin and not even wonder or want to know how it is make is like some politicians who talk talk and talk without even knowing what they talk about!!! lol

Posted on June 11, 2009 at 10:42 PM


I decided to make a scroll carving tutorial because carving a good scroll (both in design and execution) is a difficult thing, just "cultured" makers will design and carve a good scroll. When you find a good scroll in a violin, in general the soundbox will be good too. The contrary is not true in many cases. I've seen many many modern Italian fakes and, thanks God, in most of the cases fakers are not able to carve a good scroll in the style of the maker they are faking. 

And yes, it's incredible that just very few players know how a violin is made, as well as some basics about style. There are too many myths.    I'll give some tips about scroll style during this tutorial so that I hope you will learn how to apreciate and evaluate a good scroll. 


From Ray Randall
Posted on June 12, 2009 at 1:46 AM

Bravo. Thank you for your allowing us to witness how it is donw by a master.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on June 12, 2009 at 1:31 PM

 Fascinating! More, more!

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