Violin week 7 – Finishing

At last I have reached the fun bit where the beauty of the wood finally comes to light.

Cleaning up

The first step was to clean up the instrument all over using a scraper a 600 grade emery paper to get rid of any remaining tool marks and surface blemishes.

Then the fingerboard was easily popped off and replaced with a guard piece held on with a weak glue solution to make access to the top while varnishing much easier.

Giving it a Sun Tan

Then into the UV cabinet for a few weeks to start the ageing process and give the wood a natural darkness and bring out the figure on the maple.

I put a bowl of water in the cabinet to stop things getting too dry.

Into the lightbox for a few weeks

Peg Shaver

While it was getting a tan a made a simple peg shaver to deal with tiny (compared with the cello) violin pegs.

I just squared up a piece of maple thick enough to tak a peg hole and wide enough to take the full peg length. I then drilled and reamed a peg hole  to fit the peg blanks and then cut a quadrant out so i had a surface to mount the blade.  Previous shapers I have built had the blade mounted near the top of the peg a bit like a pencil sharpener but I found these tended to grab the grain.  So on this shaver I took a blad from a cheap chinese scraper and mounted it more like a scraper halfway down the side of the peg secured with a few 5mm set screws and then fitted a few fine adjusting screws through a side block.

Violin peg shaver

Seems to work really well.


This is what it looks like after 1 week in the cabinet

Front after 1 week in UV cabinet
Back after 1 week in UV cabinet

After 2 weeks I made up some ground coat the same as for the cello and rubbed in with a rag, Once dry I sanded back with 600 grade emery paper to make it flat and gave it 2 coats of wiped on shellac sanding back between coats.

Back after ground coat
Top after ground coat

I had to repeat the process after flattening with 600 grad a few times before adding the colour glaze. I made this up from golden brown varnish, linseed oil and artist colours (burnt sienna and a little alizarin red). Rubbed a couple of thin coats of this in with a cloth and this what it looks like.

Front after colour glaze
Back after colour glaze

Next for a coat of golden brown varnish before I decide whether or not to do any more colour adjustments.

After 1st colour coat
Back after 1st colour coat

Still needs more colour so another colour glaze going on next.

After another colour glaze and colour coat

The maple back is looking much better now with the flame really shining through. Once I have finished the varnish coats and cut it back the glossy shine should change to a much more pleasing satiny finish.




After another colour glaze and colour coat

















I think the front still needs a bit more richness before the next colour coat so colour glaze again.

After final colour glaze

So now for one more colour coat and a few clear coats.

Last clear coat finished
Last clear coat finished

Clear coats went on very easily making sure I sanded very lightly between coats to get rid of any surface dust and hairs.

The violin has a lovey glow and colour has been kept light as this client wanted.

Now into the light box for a couple of weeks to dry /harden the varnish properly before cutting back, polishing and then fitting the fingerboard and finishing the back of the neck.

After cutting back with progressively finer emery cloth down to 4000 grade I used rotten stone and linseed oil to finish.

Then I re-glued the neck after re-flattening the fingerboard and neck which had both moved very sightly.

Gluing the neck back on
Finished awaiting setup
Finished awaiting setup
Finished awaiting setup



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