Violin week 6 – The neck

Shaping the neck blank

First I squared up the neck block and then marked the outline and scroll detail from the template I had made out of perspex and rough cut the outline on the bandsaw.  Then I drilled the pilot holes for the pegs taking care to angle each hole slightly so that the pegs would be drawn into the box by the string tension.

Then I used gouges and files to get the correct outline before marking the details of the fingerboard, pegbox and scroll.

Neck rough cut from blank on the bandsaw and pilot holed drilled for pegs
Outline marked in pencil and first cuts done

Then I carefully sawed out the scroll a section at a time and then used gouges to get close to the finished shape.

Scroll roughly cut with chisels

I used scrapers and files to get to the finished shape.

I started the pegbox by sawing the sides and then used a sharp knife to continue deepening the sides and hogged out carefully with a chisel aiming at a bottom thickness of 5mm.

Then I used a gouge and scrapers to carve out the fluting on the back and scroll.

Scroll nearly done
Scroll nearly done


I had a nice clean ebony blank for the fingerboard and easily flattened the back and planed to the correct width profile.

I made a simple profile template out of a piece of rib set to 42mm radius and used this to guide the shaping of the fingerboard aiming at side heights of 5.5mm.  There was a lot of material to remove and when I got close I moved to scrapers.  Finally I scraped out the fingerboard relief at about 0.5mm on the treble and 0.75mm on the bass.

Fingerboard ready to be tacked onto neck

I used a few small spots of weak glue to tack the fingerboard to the neck and set about cutting the neck joint.

Neck joint

First I planed the root of the neck to size and then carefully transferred the width measurements to the ribs and used a scalpel to cut the ribs making sure I cut the slut slightly narrow.

I marked the position on the side of the neck where it should intersect the top of the belly plate giving a standoff of 6.4mm and a distance to the nut of 130mm and then marked the top of the mortice on the belly and cut down with a scalpel before using a chisel to carefully deepen the slot.

It is a very iterative process gradually deepening and widening the slot, planing the heel to fit and checking for the fingerboard projection at the bridge of 27mm.

After several hours I got it all to fit perfectly so it would just hold dry fitted.

Neck joint dry fitted
Gluing the neck

After letting the glue dry I started to shape the button and neck with chisels and then files. My aim was to get the total depth of neck + fingerboard at the nut to be 18.5mm and  20.5mm near the heel.

Neck rough shaped

Now for a final clean up and into the light box for a few weeks.

Into the lightbox for a few weeks

It looks as if the instrument is going to weigh in at about 415g once finished with all its fittings.



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