More Progress on a Commissioned 5-String Fiddle

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Progress Report: 5-String Fiddle

When I last posted, it was to explain my neck and scroll procedure. Before that, I had left the project with both plates partially carved.  The garland was complete, but with linings on the front side only.

Front Plate Procedure

So, moving forward, the next thing was to complete the front plate,

front plate
Douglas Fir Front plate outer arching nearly completed

Once the arching was nearing correct values, I carved most of the interior and then began laying out f-holes and purfling lines. The Douglas Fir is extremely difficult to work with, because the winter reeds are incredibly hard, while the summer reeds are nearly as soft as spruce… so the knife tends to follow the winter reed, instead of your intended path, making it very difficult to cut a smooth line.

beginning to carve the interior
Beginning to carve the interior of the Front Plate. This part was not too hard.
checking the depth
Checking the depth of the hollow. There is still work to do on the outside, so I have to be careful.

Purfling Procedure

rough purfling due to hard fir sound plate
Rough beginning for purfling and sound-holes. 

It was discouraging seeing how rough my beginning looked. But, as things progressed, I was able to clean up my lines a little and they began to look more acceptable:

Inner line of purfling completed.
Inner line of purfling completed.

And then, The outer purfling. I was being careful to not inlay the purfling too deeply, for fear of causing problems, but that meant the purfling did not want to stay in the slots by itself, while the glue set. So I had to clamp it down until the hot hide glue gelled and set up.

clamping purfling while glue sets.
Clamping purfling while glue sets.

But it looked pretty good after I planed it all flush with the Douglas Fir.

Double purfling on Douglas Fir Soundboard
Outer line of purfling copmpleted. Notice the pilot holes for the f-holes have been drilled.

When the interior and exterior were correct, I could finish cutting out the f-holes.

Beginning to cut out f-holes for a 5-string bluegrass fiddle handmade in Oregon by Chet Bishop, Luthier.
Beginning to cut out f-holes.
F-holes completed but rough
F-holes completed but rough. as the next few days went by, I kept returning to the f-holes with small files and perfecting the shapes.

I forgot to take pictures of the sequence of steps installing the bassbar. I constructed it of Douglas Fir, to match the top plate, and chalk-fit it to the correct location inside the plate. After the glue was dry I shaped it to the correct height, thickness and curvature. 

(There are a couple of links in the above paragraph to other builds, where I remembered to take pictures,,,sorry for the inconvenience!)

Then, after completing the inside scraping and edge preparation, I installed the front plate, using hot hide glue and spool clamps.

Front plate installed, with neck, fingerboard and back plate for 5-string bluegrass fiddle handmade in Oregon by Chet Bishop, Luthier.
Front plate installed, with neck, fingerboard and partially completed back plate.

Next time, I will show the procedures for setting the neck, completing the back plate and closing the corpus.

Thanks for looking!



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