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Carving a scroll step by step (or almost)


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Well, I changed for photobucket now, let's see if it works.

With the same hot glue I used to glue the fingerboard I size the endgrain of the neck root. If you don't do that, when you glue the neck to the soundbox the glue will penetrate in the endgrain, weaking the glue force:


Now I'll cut the wood from the fingerboard's sides till its end, I'll cut it with my bandsaw, near the line, of course the fingerboard must not be damaged by the saw.


This is what I have now:


Now I'll make the sides of the neck flush with the fingerboard, I'll use a wide gouge to do that initially, a coarse rasp can do that too but, again, don't touch the finished fingerboard:


Here I'm working in the neck root part with a wide Japanese chisel (nomi)


Now I'll trace the circle lines to start removing the wood from the sides of the pegbox. Notice how the back of the soundbox starts with a relative parallel lines and then tapers. Some pegboxes are formed by a continuous tapering of the sides, making them a bit "triangular", I don't like this type of sounbox back, I prefer this type I'm making that is found in the best Italian School:


Photos from photobuccket are being shown cut here...

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Oh Manfio, you are making me feel the pain of my crappy bandsaw most acutely. I have major bandsaw envy right now. I couldn't do a neck the way you're doing with my crappy saw. Too much wander and so forth of the blade. Sigh.

Also, who's your wood supplier that's giving you such meaty neck blocks that you can cut the sides vertical on your bandsaw like that? All my neck blocks are angled and probably not meaty enough to go vertical on both sides from resting the planed surface (where the fb will go) flat on the bandsaw.

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Now, with the fingerboard faced down (and protected by a piece of leather) and with the top of the scroll facing down the table of my bandsaw, I make two cuts following the pegbox lines, take care to don't touch the part of the scroll you are not seeing and is facing the table of the bandsaw. When the cuts are done I have this



Here the front view. Notice that I left the front side of the pegbox wider than the part in the end of the fingerboard, in order to make it with "cheeks":


Now I continue tracing circles to mark the limits of my next saw cuts. I conect the outer points of the circles with a line with the help of a piece of paper:


Now with a Japanese saw (I think it's a Dozuki (or Kabata) rip saw) I make the following cuts. Take care again with the scroll beneath. This Japanese saw makes a fine cut, less than one milimeter, much less I think. Notice also how the piece is hold in the vise:





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Thank you!



Now I correct the outline of the beggining of the first turn with a rasp:


Now with an almost flat gouge I taper the front face of the pegbox. The pegbox is tapered also from the back to the front side. Some Italian makers made the pegbox (front view) parallel or almost parallel, Del Gesù made some instruments with this feature:


I check the end of the pegbox width, in the root of the scroll (throat), in this case it's about 17 milimeters:


I continue tracing circles to guide my cuts. The scroll measurements can be found in Strad posters and other books, such as Biddulph's on Del Gesù. I'm not following any given measurments to make this one, I'm a bit guided by my eye, but I check sometimes with one of my own scrolls:


I continue cutting with my Japanese saw. The cuts must be made in a square angle, so be sure that your neck block is clamped in a correct position in your vise:


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Her I'm cutting the walls with a gouge.


More cuts:


Again the use o small rasp to reach the line, then I use the gouge again:



Making it deeper:


Correcting the curves with a small sculptor's curved rasp:


Now the front view. The scroll is tridimensional, so allways check it visually in different angles while you are working, front view and side view mainly. The lines most flow harmoniously without hills and valleys:


Back view:


Side view. Just advance to the next part when you have your work clean and cut to the line:


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Thank you all!

I continue sawing with my Japanese saw:




Notice the pin marks left by the dividers on centerline. These marks can be seen in many Cremonese instruments, including Stradivari, as pointed out by Sacconi in his "I Segreti di Stradivari":


I continue cutting:


Back view:


Another view:


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Undercutting the turns... notice that I'm leaving a flat area near the edge of the turns to be chamfered later. The gouge (a small gouge, Stubai, with a small mushroom handle) rotates around the turns, the sweep of the gouge must conform to the turns diameter. The gouge is rotated "down" the turns:


I draw a small circle with a divider for the last turn. The pin mark of the divider can be seen in many Italian scrolls. You can leave it or scrap it:


For the last turn, in the eye, it's impossible to work with the saw, So I work with a gouge that has exactly the same diameter of the eye. I rotate the gouge upright and then undercut:


I use a small chisel here:


to get this:


The last gouge stroke in the end of volute is quite important. The eye of the expert will be directed to this point instinctvely. I do that with two gouge strokes, the idea is making this, and making it deeper:



I will undercut a bit more:


Here I have cleaned the surfaces with a small shaped scraper and now I'm reworking the throat, quite an important region in terms of style. Notice for instance how the throat on Del Gesù's (Catarina Guarneri, more probably) Leduc points down:


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I am another amateur who would like to thank you for this thread; I completed my first scroll before it started, but am glad I did, for now I am in a position to see the value of what you are showing us here. I look forward to embarking on my second scroll with renewed vigor.

This is doubly interesting to me, as I have marveled in the past at the beauty of your instruments.


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Now I drill holes to carve the pegbox:


Notice the position of the chisel in this area, as well as the sawn neck block backing the scroll to suport it:


Here the upper nut is already glued:


Shaping the pegs:


Oooops!!! I've forgotten to take some pics!!! And now the pegs are already in their place...


Cleaning the surfaces with a shaped scraper:


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Hmm, interesting, so it looks like you've got your pegholes done before completing the final thickness of the pegbox walls. I can see how that would help to "clean up" the edges of the pegholes, if that was needed at all. Luis, you've got us all riveted to our chairs waiting for the next installment. Also, nice photography!

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Luis, Seeing the rapid progress and development of the scroll is very inspiring. Your visual documentation is more practical than reading about scroll carving.

I was told by a Welsh Luthier that he likes to set the chamfer as soon as possible as it is another visual aid of the symmetry of the scroll curve. I noticed that you are saving the chamfer till the end.

Great craftsmanship!

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