Another progress report: 14 inch Viola

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Another Progress Report on the 14 inch Viola

Mold Removal

When we last looked, I was ready to remove the mold but had not yet done so.

Ready to remove the mold.
Ready to remove the mold.

Removal of this sort of mold (French style) is very simple: I insert a tool (parting knife, usually) between each block and the mold, to break the glue that had secured the molds to the blocks, then I just gently lift the mold straight out.

Installing the Back Linings

So, here is the viola body with the mold freshly removed:

mold is gone, but the linings are not yet in place
The mold is gone, but the linings are not yet in place, and the blocks are still not shaped.

The viola still needed the back linings, so, I cut a tiny mortise in each side of each block, to receive the linings, bent the linings to shape, and installed the linings.


bassbar side view
Here’s that side view of the completed bassbar that I promised a week or so ago. You can see the two mortises in each block, prepared for the back linings.


Linings installed
Linings installed, using hot hide glue and lots of clamps. Those braces were just temporary insurance that the garland would stay the same shape.


Closeup view of clamps and linings.
Closeup view of clamps and linings.


Shaping the Blocks and Linings

After the glue dried, I removed the clamps and shaped the linings and blocks. I carved the linings to a smooth taper, and scraped them to a clean, smooth curve. I sanded all of the inside to remove splinters, etc. I also leveled the back of the garland and the heel of the neck before moving on. It had to be dead flat and smooth:

ready for the back plate to be installed.
So, there it is, ready for the back plate to be installed.


Installing the Back Plate

While the glue was drying, I had installed the label on the inside surface of the back plate, located so that it will be visible through the bass side f-hole. (Forgot to take a picture…sorry.)

Once all was ready, I clamped the back plate in place, dry; then, using a thin-bladed palette knife, I inserted hot hide glue all around the perimeter; quite liberally at each of the six blocks, and clamped it up tightly. The last clamp to be applied was the neck block clamp. I checked the angle of the neck one last time before adding still more glue under the button, and adding that clamp. But here it is, all clamped and drying. My wife always says the clamps look like old-fashioned hair-curlers. (Yeah, I remember those things….)

spool clamps holding bacl plate to garland
These spool clamps were given to me by my friend and mentor Jake Jelley. I don’t know whether he made them himself, but they are definitely handmade, and they work very well.

I will try to get the back purfling done this weekend. Then we will be on the home stretch.


Thanks for looking.

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