Bass Bar, Fingerboard and More

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Bass Bar, Fingerboard and More

Bass Bar Completion

When I last posted, I had installed the bass bar, and left it to dry overnight. (I did remove clamps too early one time…not good.) We needed to chauffeur a family member to the airport, in the morning, but before we left, I did get the clamps off and the bass bar completed. The rest of the day was occupied with other things.

Clamps removed: Bass bar still in raw condition.
Clamps removed: Bass bar still in raw condition.


Bass bar shape sketched
I sketched the general shape and size I wanted the bass bar to end up.


Bass bar profile planed.
Then I planed the profile shape, using an Ibex plane. Notice the Sitka  Spruce color is lightening up, as I plane away the older surface wood.


Bass bar complete, footprint view
Bass bar complete, footprint view; after planing and scraping.


Profile view of completed bass bar.
Profile view of completed bass bar.


Front Plate Preparation and Installation

Once the bass bar was completed, I rounded the inner edge of the front plate, all the way around, to about a 2mm radius. I checked everything one last time, and then carefully fitted the completed front plate to the completed garland, exactly where it was supposed to line up. I held it in place with six spool clamps: one at each block. Double-checked everything, then began removing a single clamp, one at a time, and inserting hot hide glue not only at that block, but as far in each direction as the blade would fit between the plate and garland. Then I re-tightened that clamp and added more spool clamps, side by side, repeating the operation umtil the whole perimeter was fully glued and clamped, like this:

Garland and front plate assembled.
The completed assembly of front plate and garland. (Remember, the mold is still in there, too!)


After I took the clamps off (several hours later,) the whole assembly looked like this with the back and neck:

Back, neck, garland and front plate.
Back, neck, garland and front plate.


More Scroll Work

While the glue dried between the garland and front plate, I completed the neck carving. There are still things to do: I have not carved the volute, yet, nor even the pegbox (usually I complete it before adding the fingerboard), but I was anxious to get the fingerboard installed, so that I could set the neck sometime soon.

Completing the neck and scroll.
Completing the neck and scroll. That gauge, with the cutouts, sizes the neck, top and bottom.


Fingerboard Preparation and Installation:

Once I was satisfied with the neck and scroll, I decided to begin the fingerboard. I first planed it until the edges were a consistent 5 mm thick. Then I  laid out the shape of the hollowed portion underneath the fingerboard, so that I could carve it out. I wanted the hollow to end just a few millimeters from the lower end of the neck, and be about 5mm thick all over.


Fingerboard prep
The hollow is laid out after the fingerboard has been planed to proper thickness.


More fingerboard prep
I carved, planed and scraped away the ebony until the hollow was the size and shape I wanted it to be.


Fingerboard temporarily attached to the neck.
Fingerboard temporarily attached to the neck, with three dots of hot hide glue.


Temporarily attaching the fingerboard allows me to complete the shaping of the handle portion of the neck and the fingerboard together, as a unit. I will then set the neck with the fingerboard still in place, but pop the fingerboard back off while I varnish the violin.

So…that is as far as I got today, but I feel relatively satisfied with the progress.


Thanks for looking.


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