Nelle Doak O'Neill, Luthier
Carson Valley, Nevada

From Tree . . . to Concert Hall . . .


Purfling, in the world of the violin maker, is a thin sandwich of veneer inlayed around the entire edge of an instrument. Although to the casual observer it may appear entirely decorative, it also serves to strengthen the edge of the plates.

For hundreds of years, the purfling grooves were painstakingly cut by hand . . . now, with the aid of Tom Croen's marvelous purfling tool, (925-280-9011) what used to take hours can be accomplished in minutes.

Once the groove is cut, it is cleared of sawdust . . .

Even with modern power tools, many aspects of violin making remain as they were in the days of the "Old Masters", and the corner grooves must still be cut by hand!

Individual strips of purfling material are compressed to a thickness of about 1.2mm to fit easily into the groove. Purfling sizing tool was built to specifications provided by Albert W. Fischer.

The purfling is bent to approximate shape with the same jigs used for bending the ribs. In this case, the strips were "bundled" together to save time . . .

The purfling is then carefully cut to size and fitted into the finished groove.

The purfling glued in place, the plates are now ready for the "f" holes (the top, that is) . . . and the final arching, graduating and tuning . . .

Next Page,
Graduating and tuning
the plates

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