*Updated 12/13/15 I apologize for any trauma or
bodily harm inflicted by my 9th grade grammar
My friend and I attempted to build a cello for my 9th grade Science Olympiad Sounds of Music competition--these are the results.
-Body: plywood (not the most traditional material I can readily admit)
-Fingerboard: unknown, scrap railing found at Home Depot
-Strings: Stock cello strings bought from local music store.
-Tuners: An L-bracket, a washer, and a screw.
-Metal Bar: I used a metal bar for the area where the fingerboard met the peg box.
C2 to F6, the range of a normal cello
Relatively muffled but plays well for a homemade instrument
A quick timeline
1. Construction began with finding dimensions. Plans and measurements are readily accessible on the internet
2. Once plans were obtained, I mapped out a blank of the faceplates.
3. Using these blanks, I copied them onto two sheets of plywood.
4. Taking the leftover wood (save the planet!) I cut out the bouts (sides) of the cello.
5. I soaked the plywood in water overnight, this unorthodox method surprisingly worked! You will notice that the veneer of the plywood peels off.
6. I cut out two f-holes onto the faceplate using a power drill and handheld jig saw.
7. Creating the bridge was a bit more involved, I had to borrow a table saw and a belt sander from my school’s woodshop.
8. The scrolls and peg box were simplified for ease of construction. Note that the pegs are lubricated with graphite and/or bow rosin to control its coefficient of friction.
9. The Fingerboard was created (see above)
10. All the pieces were glued together using wood glue, with hot glue where needed, or with deck screws.
This cello was constructed for a retired Science Olympiad event called Sounds of Music. We had to created two different instruments of different registers, take a sound physics test, play Canon in D by Pachelbel, compose an original piece of music, and play both pieces. We placed second at states.
What you'll really need for this project varies
with how nice you want your cello to be. I was under a deadline (the competition) but depending on your skill and time limits you can obviously take this above and beyond!
-Handheld Jigsaw: this gives you so much freedom when it comes to cutting the plywood, just be sure to use the proper safety procedures
-Power drill: this will help, especially when it comes to creating the peg holes and the f holes
-Hot Glue Gun: self-explanatory
-Ruler, pencil, calculator
-Sandpaper/ belt sander: this is imperative! It saved me so much time by cleaning up rough edges and sanding down the wood where I wanted slopes and curvatures, especially on the bouts.
-Access to a woodshop: this will help but is not necessary.
-A reliable recycling bin: I used a trusty recycling bin in lieu of an actual table.
-Creativity & Innovation: to have as much fun as you possibly can!