My friend and I attempted to make a cello--these are the results. 
1) We made a functioning cello, as well as a bow from scratch.  The main body of the cello i used plywood, not traditional, but soaked- and compressed pinewood can become pretty dense and resonates well, also it bends well! For the fingerboard, I'm not sure what kind of wood it is, but if you go to any local home improvement shop, you should be able to find some railing. Also, i used regular wood glue to glue the body, then I added hot glue where i felt necessary. The bridge and peg box are oak, the only metal pieces are a bar near the area where the neck meets the peg box, and the strings which are regular cello strings. All the tools i used i either own, or in the wood shop at my school, I list some of them later.. You can play all the regular notes on  a real cello from C2 to F6. 
2) We began the project for an event called Sound of Music in the New Jersey Science Olympiad
Competition, in which we placed second at states in. In this event, we were required to build a treble instrument, for which we built a flute, and a bass instrument, for which we decided to take on the ambitious project of a cello.
We were also required to arrange two pieces of music. However, the cello soon became the
centerpiece of the project. Beginning as a simple outline, the cello took weeks and months to
3) We began the construction of the cello, including the faceplates and sound post, in Justin’s
 garage. But in order to make the more delicate pieces of the cello
including the bridge and the end pins, we worked in the woodworking classroom in our school.
This room had both more powerful tools as well as more delicate tools that we could use to
construct the more difficult parts of the cello.
4) The first obstacle we had to overcome was the sheer magnitude of the idea of building a
playable cello from scratch. The most difficult parts of the construction included building the
bridge and the other more delicate parts of the cello. However, we were able to use our school’s
woodworking classroom which helped us tremendously. The proudest part of the experience
happened when we were completely done building the cello and we played it for the first
time. We were so excited and shocked that it produced such a deep, rich tone. After months of
construction and weeks of practicing, we were able to play actual pieces of music. If we had to do it again, we would have used the woodworking classroom to begin with because the tools we used in Justin’s garage made it take hours to build
one piece.

Step 1: Materials

What you'll really need for this project varies with how nice you want your cello to be. I was under time restrains and with school and everything between i shot for a moderate quality homemade feel. For the most part i only used 3 tools a power drill/screw a handheld jig saw and a mutli-purpose sander, and for a table i used a recycling bin- not exactly safe but hey you got to do what you got to do. For making the bridge i did quickly have access to a school wood shop for two weeks- that's where i cut the tail piece and bridge with a band saw, and where i made the pegbox otherwise it would've been impossible. I also suggest you buy two sets of strings, one low quality one medium, and one high (only if you are pro). I got low quality strings imported form china from my friend.. and used it to model where the strings go- i say this because i went through 2-3 D strings before i finally got the right angle (the strings snap where there is too extreme of an angle especially where the fingerboard meets the pegbox, i used a metal edge which is probably the reason it snapped so often), then use the medium quality string for the final construction  Finally i suggest getting horse hair for the bow hair, and if you can't find some fishing line and repose it, i'll talk about that later and it actually really works!
I would really suggest having at least a handheld hacksaw, a belt sander, wood glue, wood.., goggles, a powerdrill/drill bits, a table jigsaw (or really any fixed saw that you can cut curves with) and a strong sense of creativity! 
A lot of instruments are made from non-traditional materials. I have an inexpensive mandolin and owned a Harmony archtop that are both made from &quot;laminated wood&quot;. <br>When I worked for a music store, we farmed out our violin repairs to a shop in Broad Ripple where they had a bass in the rack that had a body made of pressed aluminum. The story was that they were built during WWII for Army orchestras because they were light, rugged, and not made from as strategic a material as Spruce. <br>It sounded OK
<p>Hi, there.</p><p>Thanks for your instructable. It's very nice.</p><p>I just want to add a piece of information which is actually a piece of wood to your cello. :)</p><p>It's missing its &quot;soul&quot;: the sound post. It's the small rod that connects the bottom and the lid, below the A string, inside the &quot;box&quot;.</p><p>You can find more info about it here:</p><p><a href="http://www.aitchisoncellos.com/publications/cello-and-bow-articles/technical-articles-about-the-cello/the-sound-post/" rel="nofollow">http://www.aitchisoncellos.com/publications/cello-...</a></p><p>And how to place it here:</p><p><a href="http://www.violins.on.ca/luthier/soundpost.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.violins.on.ca/luthier/soundpost.html</a></p><p><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7py45_colocar-el-alma-al-cello-con-philip_music" rel="nofollow">http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7py45_colocar-el...</a></p><p>You'll see that after this, your cello will gain a new soul and life when you play it!</p><p>Alexandra</p>
<p>This is pathetically ingenious (I hope that came out as a compliment).</p>
Thank you again for the cello.<br>Do you know the cubic inches of the bouts?
Thank you for your cello. I've made one out of cardboard. It's an 'emulated cello - viol da Gamba'. My next build will be of 1/16 inch pine. Oh, G-D willing. Again thank you for your cello.
<p>This should help...</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjS3vh6TvkQ</p>
Hi there! <br>I'm considering doing this myself. What did you use as a frame to bend the wood?
<p>I made a cut out of the cello out of scrap wood, and used clamps as well as weights to hold it down </p>
Hi there! <br>I'm considering doing this myself. What did you use as a frame to bend the faceplate?
I despair that so many &quot;Instructables&quot; are so poorly written and by no means is this one the worst I've seen but it is above average (or should that be below average?)<br> <br> Previous commenters have pointed out the usage of &quot;finishing line&quot; instead of &quot;fishing line&quot; and &quot;table [jig] saw&quot; instead of &quot;scroll saw&quot; (with the ubiquity of Google or Bing search it should take seconds to find out the right term) in this document. They could have easily started with the first sentence &quot;So i'm attempting to make a cello with my friend.. and here were the results.&quot; Here we have a confusion between present tense &quot;attempting&quot; and past tense &quot;here were&quot;. &quot;My friend and I attempted to make a cello--these are the results&quot; or &quot;My friend and I are attempting to make a cello and this will be a documentation of the results&quot; might be better depending on when the text is being written.<br> <br> To quote fully from AutoDesk co-founder John Walker's <em>Reading Unedited Text </em>http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/strikeout/ :<br> <br> <em>'[Some argue that] the Internet is a dynamic medium; there's no time to carefully proofread text before posting it.<br> <br> Consider what the folks who advance this argument are saying. &quot;I'm in such a hurry that I can't be bothered to critically read what I've written before I dispatch it to be read by hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people. My time is so valuable, the five or ten minutes it would take to spelling and grammar check my posting, then read it over for coherence and edit it accordingly cannot be justified. Better all of my readers spend the time to figure out what I was trying to say than I spend a minute making it clear.&quot; '</em><br> <br> Perhaps this site needs a cadre of editors to review first-time submissions? They could provide feedback to the poster to improve his or her writing. In the mean time I would suggest that posters ask three to five people to read their text and make suggestions for improvement. Perhaps then their writing may deserve the superlatives commenters give it.<br> <br> I highly recommend borrowing the book <em>How Not to Write Bad</em>, by Ben Yagoda, from your local library. It is a quick read and very useful.
That proves that we are all human beings (but I don't know about you, I think you're an exception to that) :)
That proves that we are all human beings (but I don't know about you, I think you're an exception to that) :)
Are you just constantly complaining about things? You always talk about how poorly written instructables are and I've yet to see you publish a single one. If you want to offer friendly criticism that's one thing, but sod off if you're gonna just complain about everything.
This man obviously spent a fair bit of time working on this project. <br>Why are you insulting him? <br>If you have nothing positive to contribute to the article why even bother. <br>As far as &quot;How Not to Write Bad&quot; how about you spending some of your time reading &quot;How Not to be Obnoxious&quot;
I'm just glad he posted this. There were some typos, but nothing I would cry about. It was a very good instructable, considering that it's the only one I know of to make a cello from scratch. <br>I understand you were trying to help, but it came off slightly offensive. Just thought I'd let you know.
Thank you for the feedback, it will definitely help in writing future instructables. I have no excuse for my many typos- and this comment is a testament to how little time i have spent revising the text. Hopefully this experience will help me learn and grow, again thank you for the constructive criticism.
How does a Cardboard Cello sound? I'm making one of out of Cardboard (well, Chipboard actually) and I'm making it stiff enough to resonate the sound and take the pressure of the strings... but i need help &quot;how do I make chipboard stiff enough? what chemical can I use to stiffen it (not fiberglass please)? some chemical that doesn't change the acoustic properties of the paper...
I was in science olympiad in texas for sounds of music we made a flute and a guitar
How much did all of the materials cost?
This may be the solution to school orchestras experiencing a cello shortage (thanks to &quot;The Piano Guys&quot;) I'm now inspired to make one of my own!
Good luck!
I noticed you don't have the bridge on the finished version does it not work? how about a sample video of it in action luv to hear it thx
I added a video to step eleven!
Can I please a audio sample of this violin? Have you ever thought of an electric version?
I've added a video to step 11! Currently I'm working on an electric balalaika, should be up soon
Its a cello.
Nice. I only have one little unasked (mea culpa) tip for you: which I fell over, once, making an upright bass (not on instructables). <br> <br>Your bridge, the thing with the hearts in it needs to be quarter sawn (kwartiers gezaagd: in Holland-isch). If I say this right. This means the lines of the wood need to be horizontal, yours is vertical I believe. <br>Why is this? <br>Because of the vibrations, which give the sound, etc. Vertical lines will break or &quot;bite in&quot; over time. Also every snare should meet air in the bridge; that is what the &quot;hearts&quot; are for. This also has to do with the vibrations of the bridge moving to the body etc. <br>All in all I do like your project!
O.o wow.
O.o wow.
O.o wow.
Great job! this is awesome
I really appreciate this project. I've been teaching myself to build instruments for a few years now, and it's nice to see what a couple of non-professionals can accomplish. <br>If you ever want to, feel free to bug me and I may have information or design information about some instrume t you might be building. My current project is 3 simultaneous lyres. :-) <br> <br>mikemenzie@yahoo.com
Since I have deep rooted conections with Paraguay I want to share how others have made insturments. <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/405192963/landfill-harmonic-inspiring-dreams-one-note-at-a-t?ref=live" rel="nofollow">http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/405192963/landfill-harmonic-inspiring-dreams-one-note-at-a-t?ref=live</a>
great group. I've been following them on Facebook for a while now <br> <br>http://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie?ref=ts&amp;fref=ts
This is amazing! Well goes beyond the level at which I made my instruments, the caliber of sound compared to the materials used is amazing- simply amazing.
Whoa! You just lost me. One moment you're cutting out some blank as a reference, then you're putting pieces of wood in a pan, now most of the cello is complete. What happened? How do I construct the rest of the cello.
I so wish you had shown how you did the side bending, as it looks awesome! To me, that would seem to be the hardest part, because you can glue the top and bottom on and then trim them to fit. Your side piece looks quite professionally done. I'm impressed. What was the wood you used? It would have been nice to get pieces of mahogany or oak. How many pieces did you you use, how thick was it, and how did you join the ends together? Whatever you did to make it, you did a very fine job! How did you curve the top and bottom as well? I love music, but have no talent. I have had a violin, a viola, a,mandolin, several 6-string guitars, and now own an electric bass which I use to play along with my music. It sounds terrible most of the time, but occasionally I will get into the right cord and play along well. I love the sound of the cello, and I think this will be my next indeavor. That you for giving me the inspiration to tackle it. I, too, Can't wait to hear your video of you playing it. By the way, there are several sites on ebay that sell pegs, nuts saddles and bridges for very little. &quot;songtieling&quot; seems to have god prices.
:&quot;in this picture my G string is missing&quot; <br>I laughed so hard at that. <br>I'm sorry I'm so immature.
i want to listen how it sounds....make a video <br> <br>
that was my first question. I sort of assumed it would sound terrible, but then I remembered a video I saw on youtube of this old Mexican guy playing beautiful music using a plastic 2 liter coke bottle as an improvised trumpet, so I suspect that it sounds wonderful.
Do you have a link to that? It sounds awesome.
the one I saw first is this one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNTBO7v6tQw<br>video is pretty low quality, but you see the skill. There are a few other videos on youtube of the same trick.
Okay i'll try to make one soon!
Can you post a video comparing the sound between the cello you made and one you bought? Also do you know if this would the same as making a violin just scaling down?
I think that would be quite impossible to do on a table saw. Perhaps you meant scroll saw??
The main body was cut from a jigsaw, the tailpiece bridge and peg box were made from a scroll saw, sorry for the confusion.
Nice Job, alot of guitars are made from &quot;plywood&quot;
You've got balls tackling a cello. Nice job.
Boy what a project and I bet it sounds like the real thing! Now to make a Stradivarius copy
Nice project! For anybody interested in building cellos there is another good resource online here where a professional luthier in Alaska shows every step involved. <br> <br>http://osnesviolins.com/1.Cello%20Build%20start.htm

About This Instructable


503 favorites


More by innovation redesigned: 10 easy steps to make your own cello!
Add instructable to: