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Carving a Scroll - step by step - part XV

July 20, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Notice again the position of my hands hands. The scroll is a bit fragile in this point so you have to support it with your other hand while cutting the channel:


Here a view of the fluting of the front part of the scroll. I put a piece of sandpaper on the back to give contrast:

Here Im  working in the fluting in the throat region with a knife:

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on July 20, 2009 at 11:31 PM

Once again, impressing!  How much work!  It isn't a surprise that the good makers can't do more than about 7 or less violins a year + they often do violas and/or cellos etc... 

It is a very beautiful scrool!


From Anthony Barletta
Posted on July 21, 2009 at 5:26 AM

I envy your artistry and craftsmanship.  Wonderful to follow the step-by-step process - thanks for posting!

From Royce Faina
Posted on July 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Roughly, "How many tools do you have to make for your making of string instruments?"  Did you make the knife that you have a picture of here?

From Royce Faina
Posted on July 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Double post, sorry ;)

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on July 21, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Nice work, I think what is so great about traditional lutherie is how much is done "by eye", so much more interesting than the 100% precision of our modern totally mechanised world.

Now, I just know that if I was even skilled enough to be able to make a scroll and get to this stage, it is right at this point that my chisel would slip and decapitate the scroll...  always was clumsy like that... :-(

Posted on July 22, 2009 at 3:00 AM


Royce, roughly I use:

about  4 japanese chisels (nomi);

about 6 gouges (Wolf (European) and Japanese (ori nomi);

about 4 knives (all Japanese, laminated);

2 Japanese saws

a small Japanese saw

many files, about 12

about 6 rasps

4 finger planes

one plane I've made myself

a Record no. 7 plane

a Stanley no. 5 plane

a 6 1/2 low angle Stanley plane

a low angle Lie Nielsen plane (rarely used)

clamps for glueing the soundbox (made myself)

10 hatanage - japanese clamps for center joints

peg reamer for violin/viola, another one for cello, the same for the peg shaver

reamer for cello endpin

about 10 Japanese sharpening stones of different grades

many scrapers, many of them I shaped

a "yarri kana", a Japanese tool

a bandsaw

a driller

a glue pot

about 3 brushes for varnishing

chemistry hardware for making oil varnish

and perhaps some more tools...




From Royce Faina
Posted on July 23, 2009 at 3:03 AM

Quite a few are Japanese tools!  My grandfather was an aircraft mechanic.  Began just before WWII and into the Jet Age.  Most of his tools he made or modified.  He was cheif mechanic for the XB-70 project.  Was hired to work for the space program for NASA just by word of mouth from his superiors, but he was color blind and failed the eye test.  He spent 8 years in the third grade and was a self taught avionics mechanic genius!  His name was Tony Jenkins.

Posted on July 23, 2009 at 9:54 AM

Yes, the Japanese tools are fantastic! They hold quite a good edge. They are being made by generations of family smiths, many of which were - or still are  - sword makers. They are quite expensive, but they worth the money.

Your grandfather was quite a gifted man! 

From Royce Faina
Posted on July 23, 2009 at 2:33 PM

I agree with you when it comes to tools, lots of things.  Don't settle for second best.  Quality wins out all the time!

Yes, my grandfather was.  He loved his grand children dearly!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 25, 2009 at 7:50 AM

I'm really enjoying your series of blogs on this topic.  Only photographs could tell this story so well, and your photos are very good.  I'm especially impressed with this entry, because you show that such delicate but precise control is needed for carving the thin part of the scroll.  Strong, steady, well trained hands are essential, too.  This series of blogs has been very impressive.  Thank you.

Posted on July 25, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Thanks for your kind words Pauline!

I've just posted some photos of my newest 16 inches viola on my blog.


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