Nelle's Notebook


Last update, April 20, 2011

Antonio Stradivari (Tony, for short), my apprentice. So far he's only really good at spreading sawdust and wood chips around the house!



Violin, 'Daniel', Assembled May 10, 2010

This is perhaps the most exciting stage in the creation of a new instrument . . . the pegs are fitted . . . the bridge carved . . . the violin is strung up and ready for its first playing . . . in the ‘white’. It’s also a little scary . . . what will it sound like??

In this particular case, I’m delighted . . . (and a little bit relieved!) . . . the tone is big, mellow and even over all four strings! Next comes the varnishing . . .

. . . after 3 coats of clear varnish the frist coat of 'red madder' is applied . . .

Go here to see the completed 'Daniel'

Creating a new mold

The mold for my favorite violin pattern, the "Kreisler del Gesu" has served me well over the years . . . but now is showing signs of old age . . . so it's time for a new one . . .

To shape the ribs on a violin or viola, a "mold" is created. Here, I'm tracing the mold pattern onto a piece of high density 1/2" plywood.
Once the pattern is complete it's ready for the next step . . .
. . . drilling holes to facilitate clamping the ribs . . .
. . . the mold is then cut out with a band saw . . .
. . . and the blocks, to which the ribs will be attached are then glued on.

VOILA!

I'm building a viola for a very special person, my grandniece, Maggie . . . a high school junior and talented young musician!
Here I'm removing the ribs from the mold . . .

Cutting out and carving the scroll . . .
for her new viola . .

August 30, 2010
. . . the nearly completed scroll and neck with fingerboard tacked on . . .

Carving the 'button' . . .

September 13, 2010
After 3 coats of clear varnish,
Maggie takes advantage of the Nevada sun!

September 15, 2010
. . . once the clear varnish dries, it's time to add the first coat of color . . .

Go here to see the completed 'Maggie'

Proper positioning of the f holes is critical, not only for appearance,
but for the tone quality of the finished instrument . . .

Fitting and shaping the bass bar . . .

'Roughing out' the scroll . . .

Back to
Nelle's Home Page