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Starting scroll question


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When starting the scroll does the initial block need it be perfectly square? My main concern is the angled piece at the base of the neck. If my wood isn't square and I lay it on its side and cut that angle I'm concerned that when I put it on the violin it will angle the neck either left or right? Is this the case if I don't start with a square block? Or is all that matters is that the top be perfectly flat for the fingerboard?

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The top is your reference surface, and if you are talking about the neck root, this is cut at 87 degrees to the top surface.

Often you can't square up all of the block, due to the shape of the blank. I always try to have the sides square, at least until where the eyes would be. If I can't do this, I will glue on some scrap wood, then plane it square.



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13 hours ago, Carman007 said:

...I'm concerned that when I put it on the violin it will angle the neck either left or right?...

The straightness of the neck is achieved when it is set in the body.   So if the side angle of the end of the neck is not exactly square, you can cut one side of the mortise in the block a bit deeper than the other side to set the neck straight.

But to get the desired neck insertion in the block, the other angle should be around 87 degrees.  And for laying out the neck and cutting it on the bandsaw, the upper surface of the block should be perpendicular to the saw blade.  To make use of an out-of-square block of otherwise suitable wood, you can achieve perpendicularity by gluing a temporary piece of sacrificial wood to the surface that rides on the saw table.

Manfio's scroll cutting guide is excellent.

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46 minutes ago, Carman007 said:

Can you show me where manfios scroll guide is?


13 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Manfio's tutorial is excellent, highly recommended.
If you have more time and patience, this is my contribution which shows how I do my scrolls (24 videos!):


There are always small differences between luthier and luthier, each of us with practice has found his own system with which he is better off.

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35 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:


Did you make the neck/scroll template?

I have on old plastic self-made, in bad shape. If those could be bought somewhere I would..

I make all my templates, I've never bought any already made. I think it's an important part of the job, where you learn a lot in the process.

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55 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:

So I also thought, it's just that it looked so clean and "machine made" (kind of your trade mark) :)

Well, making an inaccurate aluminum template would not make much sense, you would always report the same inaccuracies that would take you away from the effort you made to design that model. In fact, before making an accurate template in aluminum, I do several scrolls with thin cardboard templates cut with a knife and using a pencil for tracing them on the wood to make the scroll, marking the turn with many small pinholes by piercing them directly through the cardboard template. Very similar to the original Stradivarian ones for viola and cello. They would also be sufficiently accurate, but after a while they become unusable for wear. In fact I suspect that the (missing) one that Stradivari used for violins was not paper, but a more durable material such as wood or even some metal.

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