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Carving a scroll step by step (or almost)


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Nice thread, Manfio.

Instead of trimming the sides of the neck flush with the fingerboard early in the process, have you tried leaving this step till the very end, to make the neck easier to clamp into a bench vise in the interim?



I guess the picture doesn't show it very well, but the neck is clamped into a bench vise from the sides. View is from the top....you can see the bench dog holes on either side. Really handy when doing the fluting on the back, and hollowing out the pegbox. When flipped over in the vise, the back of the scroll is supported on the benchtop for hollowing the pegbox.

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Here's an example of how I was able to clamp my last neck on its side by leaving that bit till near the end, as David mentioned.

ps: I won't inline my pic, so as not to get in the middle of Luis' photos, but yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I'm following his method with fascination, however, and I wonder how I will benefit from his photos and whatnot on my next scroll.

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Now I will shape the chin of the pegbox, mine is in the form of a half circle:


Now the chamfer, I'll do this with a small file and refinish with a scraper. Keep the file in the same position, the chamfer may not be rounded or finished with sandpaper:



The two lines of the chamfer may run parallel, that's quite quite important. Here now I'm working with a small gouge to undercut the turns and reach the inner line of the chamfer.


In Italian the chamfer is also called "nastrino", that is, little ribbon, and I like the idea of a little ribbon runing through the scroll. But the chamfer varies in width, depending on its place. It's a bit wider in the chin region and narrowner in the end of the turns, on the eye. Here I'm making a narrow chanfer in the eye region:


Here I'm undercutting again, preserving the inner line of the chamfer:


If you want, you may mark the lines of the chamfer with a simple marking tool like this. It's a scalpell knive glued in a piece of wood with sewing line and super glue. I'm not using this tool in this scroll, but I used it in the past:


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Hi David! I don't have a drill to make holes in 90 degrees, so I do this primitive thing: I mark the place of the holes, draw circles in the peg positions and drill it free hand with a small eletric driller. Then I reamer the hole.

Although I'm reducing the pics for "forum format" in photobucket they are appearing cut in my computer... are you having this problem too?

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This is a great thread! I am really enjoying it. It is interesting to see your approach and method of work. After Manfio completes this thread I would loved to see David do the same thing so we could compare Methods of Work. I do like David and keep the neck side square until the very last. It makes it so much easier to clamp and complete the other steps. Here is a shot of the Corpus and the rough neck showing the square sides. Not the greatest photo!


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Hi Barry! To make that mark on the scroll this is a much better tool!!!:


I think I'm almost satisfied now with the side view. Only when I'm satisfied with look of it I'll carve the channels on the front and back of the scroll.



I haven't mentioned it yet, but NO SANDPAPER was used, of course:



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Hi Edi! This leather was in a chair, I saved it to cover my bench when needed.

Hi JimMurphy! I break a scraper and shape the points with a file, in different shapes. The edge is 90 degrees, but I may have sone with a knife edge type too.

Newnewbie: part of the pictures are in my flicker page (see address below) and most of them are here, I hope it works:


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Manfio; Thanks so much for sharing this informative post. This is being very helpful for me.

I have a question regarding the finger board:If this is the final FB, do you finish, plane and dress the FB prior to glueing it onto the neck. Or do you replace this FB after you have neck and scroll finished and attached to the corpus? Best Regards, Henry

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Hi Martina! Bello Hamster! There are 5 bunnies here, plus the adult couple, mini rabbits. I used to eat them when I was a boy but now my children would kill me first...

Hi H.R.Fisher: the fingerboard will stay there, yes, it's already in the proper size, I'll just make a chamfer and polish it. In Italy modern and contemporary makers will leave the fingerboard untreated, in general, but for instruments shipped to America they must be polished, the same for the peg shafts.

NewNewbie: I'll keep the photos there, I think. That's a low profile pegshaver, I think I'll take some pictures of the tools I used. Ciao!

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When I started to learn carving the neck and scroll, I also drilled the peg holes free-hand. When I finished the violin, a friend would come over to look at it. The pegs were not perpendicular to the center line, the 2 eyes were also slanted. He would just laugh at it.

Nowadays I carve the scroll at the kitchen table. I only have virtue but no vise to clamp the neck. Therefore I use small gouges to carve with one hand. BTW, one neck block can yield 2 necks and a few rib stocks.

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As I mentioned before, there are some scroll styles. Maestro Carlo Vettori, from Florence, published a quite interesting book called "Linee Classiche della Liuteria Italiana". If you happen to visit Florence go to visit him in his workshop on Via Guelfa, he is an expert in the Florentine School. He works with restoration and make many new instruments as well. I'll quote some parts of the above mentioned book regarding the scroll, and attach a pic of the book's page:


"Fig. 31 represents the front view of a scroll. This is the sort described as "aggressive" since the narrowest part of the chanelling (visible in fig 32) is moved forward by two centimetres from the centre. From this change of position comes the predominance of two curved lines (see the dotted lines in fig. 31). Many of the greatest Italian makers have employed this type of scroll not least among whom are certainly the members of the Amati family." (Carlo Vettori, "Linee Classiche della Liuteria Italiana", Giardini Editori e Stampatori in Pisa, 1980, pages 66, 67, 70 and 71).

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I'll quote again the Maestro Carlo Vettori:


"Fig. 33 shows a front view of a scroll in which static and roughly pyramidal lines prdominate. The characteristic point of this design is that the narrowest part of the channeling is found in the centre of the scroll (fig. 34). This type of scroll is the one used by Antonio Stradivari and may be considered to be the purest andmost classic of all violin making" (Carlo Vettori, "Linee Classiche della Liuteria Italiana", Giardini Editori e Stampatori in Pisa, 1980, pages 66, 67, 70 and 71).

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Luis, I assume you're translating from Italian in your quotes, do you know if this book is available in English? It looks like a must-read for anyone aspiring to know really what they're doing, instead of just working from templates and examples, especially someone coming at this from a "lay" perspective, without benefit of study in the relevant history. You've just moved this thread from a mere practical demonstration, into a rarefied learning experience in what kinds of things should be looked for, and how to look. The information here takes my breath away!

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