After a super busy autumn with lots of repair and restoration work as well as my job in the RAM workshop, I reserved January for catching up on new making. I'm working on two new violins after the Stradivari Maurin violin from 1718. They have been neglected a bit, so it is high time to get stuck back in. I had got as far as rough arching and purfling the plates of both violins and marking out the f-holes on the front of one. Now I'll finish the archings and start thicknessing. It is nice to see the figure in the wood get clearer as the work progresses.
Five small studs are fitted over the centre joint in each plate for extra security.
After making some progress with the new violins I took on some repair jobs again. One of them was a fingerboard replacement on a cello. I quite like doing fingerboards. It can be very satisfying to get all the aspects of curve, string clearance and alignment right, so that it is comfortable to play for the cellist. In this case the cellist complained that she felt her fingers could get trapped underneath the A and D strings. First I thought this was a usual case of 'time for a truing', but when I looked closely it appeared it had the deepest scoop I had ever seen. Trapped fingers was not an exaggeration! It turned out that there was a long crack in the board, so that the board did not give the extra stiffness it usually provides to the cello neck. With the strings pulling the head of the cello forward, the neck had bent and the scoop underneath the strings had become overly deep. The crack came to a splintery feathered edge, so it would always leave a funny uneven spot if we were to glue it. And there was not much room for adjustment should it be possible to glue it back with the neck in a straight position. The best solution was a new fingerboard.