Sign in to follow this  
Urban Luthier

Tool marks: a luthier's signature

Recommended Posts

Something that doesn't often show up well in the typical violin 'mug shot' are the tool marks left by makers. The corduroy top thread had a discussion on tool marks left on Amati scrolls (Bruce and Guy posted some excellent photos). The topic also shows up periodically as parts of other threads.

Ancient or modern, I thought it would be fun to see examples that clearly show the affect of tool marks throughout the instrument. The intent, at least for me, is to better understand how makers worked, and appreciate the character their working methods bring to the finished product.

I know nothing beats seeing the affect in the flesh, but like many amateurs who are 'internet apprentices', access to good work is often hard to come by on a regular basis.

To kick things off, here is a fantastic example showing gouge marks on the scroll left by a well known maker who contributes here. The gouge marks on the inner turns appear to have been quickly excited, confident and intentional, and clearly show the maker's working method.

Thanks in advance!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it is David's instrument I'm sure he can provide a more eloquent answer, but I suspect the step offset is designed to make it easier for future restorers to true the neck surface without damaging either the scroll or the varnish on the pegbox.

Not really a tool mark in this case but more of a working method

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread!

You can see from this picture of the Folinari scroll (provided by Tarisio auctions) that Del Gesu went a little too far with his saw cuts on the treble side.

Here is a picture of alot of (I would guess) non-typical tool marks along the C-bout left on the brothers Amati 'King Henry IV' violin ( I say 'non-typical' because if you look at the photos of this Girolamo Amati violin also provided by the National Music Museum, you can see that even the interior looks pristine, and there is scarcely a tool mark to be found.

These c-bout tool marks are usually left behind by clamps when closing the box. You can spot them even on some Strads, such as the 1734 'Willimotte.' ( There is a very clear indentation near the upper corner, followed by a more shallow tool mark near the lower corner. This picture was originally from the 'Strad 3d' publication but it has been cropped.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.