Skip navigation

Tag Archives: maple

The cello is now finished, although not yet varnished. I made a short fingerboard and a tailpiece out of bird’s eye maple, turned an endpin out of boxwood to match the nut and saddle, fitted a baroque bridge and strung it up. It’s always an exciting moment when one first tries it out. Will it sound as good as one hopes or will it be a disappointment?

Fortunately, it has turned out well, producing a warm resonant tone with an even response across the strings. I’m no cellist, but the person I made it for has tried it and we’re both pleased with the sound that it makes. Almost inevitably, there’s a ‘wolf’ – on this cello it’s somewhere between f and f sharp on the 3rd string – but I don’t think it will prove to be a serious problem.

Of course, it was necessary to unstring the instrument to varnish it but, before I did so, I took a couple of photographs.

dsc_0002-41

dsc_0008-21

Advertisements

The starting point for the back was two pieces of nicely figured book-matched maple.

dsc_0005

I glued them together and cut out the outline roughly on the band saw. Then followed quite a lot of hard work, finalising the outline and establishing the arching – at first roughly with a gouge, but later smoothly and precisely with thumb planes and scrapers.

dsc_0130

Here a channel has been cut for the purfling.

dsc_0131

After hollowing the back to a thickness of around 6mm in the centre and 3.5mm at the edges, the weight of the plate had been reduced to 630 grams and the tap tone had fallen to somewhere between C and C sharp and I was ready to glue it to the rib and neck assembly completed earlier.

dsc_0015-1

After the clamps have come off, it begins to look something like a cello.

dsc_0022

The binding and purfling went in quite neatly. It’s a simple scheme but I think it will look fine on the finished instrument. You can judge for yourself from the pictures. The apparent staining of the wood in some places is where I have brushed on some shellac to stop the white maple picking up dirt or, worse, turning an orange colour from contact with the cocobolo. It will disappear when the next coat of shellac goes on.

The next tasks are to prepare a fingerboard and make a bridge.

The binding is made from sawn veneers of ebony and maple. The photograph below shows a true edge being planed using a shooting board before using the bandsaw to slice off a narrow strip.

Here, a border of maple is being glued to the ebony in a shop-made clamping device.

Below is a strip of the finished binding, bent and ready to be glued into the ledge already routed on the guitar.

%d bloggers like this: