Step 1: Obtain Aged Wood
Spruce wood is used for the top or belly of the violin. Spruce is preferable for the top of the violin because it's a softer wood, so it vibrates more easily.
Wood should be aged by at least five years, but the greater the better. 20 years of aging is the most preferable, but that wood is more expensive.
Step 2: Some Tools Used
Step 3: Select a Mold
Favorite molds include the Stradivari, the Guarneri, and the Amati.
In this picture, the mold is a Guarneri, and surrounded by maple ribs that have already been glued to the corner and end blocks in place around the mold.
This finished stage is called the rib assembly.
The upper portion of the violin (Top Guarneri in photo) is called the upper bout. The lower part of the violin (top in photo) is called the lower bout. The middle portion with two "C" shapes is called the C bouts. On the finished violin, the C bouts are called the waist of the violin.
Step 4: Glue Linings to Ribs
Be careful not to put linings on both sides. The other side of the rib assembly is where the mold is later removed.
Step 5: Joined Plates Ready for Gouging
Step 6: Gouge the Plates to Form a Rough Arch
Step 7: Smooth Surfaces With a Scraper to Desired Plate Thickness
The second picture shows an example of the thickness of the belly and the back of a Guarneri violin.
(Image from Strad Magazine Vol 122 No. 1455 poster July 2011 )
The third picture shows the measuring of the thickness of a maple plate with a caliper.
Step 8: Glue Base Bar to Inside of Spruce Top Plate for Shaping
Step 9: Glue the Finished Plates to the Rib Assembly
The purfling is a thin sandwich of wood along the edges of the violin used for aesthetics and to prevent cracks from spreading.
The second picture shows the scraping of the purfling to the right size.
Once this is finished, you now have the completed violin body.