Intro: How to Make a Violin
I have been intrigued by wooden instruments forever. The wood, the strings and how all the small things come together to create beautiful sound. So when my sister started taking violin I was ecstatic. After a bit of research I learned that everything is handmade, so naturally knowing nothing about the actual process of making it I set out on a journey of making learning and all around awesome experience! Since a knew virtually nothing a made a f̶e̶w̶ lots of mistakes. :)
Step 1: Wood and Tools
- 20 mm spruce
- 20 mm maple
- Maple veneer
- 300 mm by 50 mm ebony
- Wood glue
- Chisels and gouges
- Hand plane
- Wide array of drill bits
- wood glue
- Tuner pegs
- End post
- Templates (I got mine from http://www.makingtheviolin.com/ and from my sister's violin)
Step 2: Cut Along Dotted Line
Tape one half of your template onto the spruce board. Then cut it out with a coping saw and do the same with the other half of the template and with the maple.
Step 3: Glue and File
Next, Take the four halves that you just cut and using wood glue glue them together. Following that, if you have any imperfections file them down. Don't go on to the next step until the glue is dry. If you don't, the minute you start chiseling they will come apart.
Step 4: Chisel, Chisel, and Repeat
Cut the negatives from the board and screw them into the table (see pictures.) If you have never used chisels before I would practice a bunch on some scrap wood before you go right into chiseling. Once you are confident in you chiseling skills put the wood blank into the holder and go at it! I eyeballed it the whole way so I don't have very many measurements. Pro tip: the maple is a very hard and dense wood so you will need to use the hammer constantly in contrast the spruce is extremely soft. I rarely used a hammer on it so go especially slow on the spruce.
Step 5: Mould
Once you are done chiseling trace the spruce on paper and retrace it only smaller. Next, copy it four times and tape it onto cardboard. After that cut the cardboard out and glue it together. Following that cut a
Step 6: Veneer
First cut the maple veneer so it is 3 cm wide. Next, put all of the maple blocks in place and iron the veneer onto the mould and blocks (taping the places where there aren't any blocks helps when you try to get it off.) Then pull the blocks and veneer off.
Step 7: Making the Neck and Scroll
First, cut three pieces of 25 cm by 6 cm maple and glue them together. Then tape a template onto the side and using the coping saw cut out the outline (I found that taping another template onto the other side helps you cut straight.) Following that, find the middle and mark 16mm on top of the stop then mark 10mm right before the start of the scroll. After that, saw along the line. Next, using another template saw a little bit at an angle then turn (see picture.) After that chisel the pieces out so you have a circle. Then do that with the top circle. Following that, with a large gouge cut from the outside to the inside creating a concave surface. Next, with a small gouge create two "troughs" on the bottom of the scroll to the area where the pegbox would be. Finally with a 9mm drill bit drill out the pegbox from the scroll to 60mm down the neck (chiseling helps.)
Step 8: Fingerboard
Get out the ebony and mark the middle. Next, at one end mark 22 mm on both side of the middle line. Then mark 11 mm on the other end. After that, saw along the lines. When you have the rough outline use the hand plane to bevel the edges. Following that, use the gouges to create a "trough" on the bottom. Next, plane down the smaller end so it is a little bit thinner than the other side.
Step 9: Gluing
When the top, bottom, ribs and neck are all finished, glue the ribs/rib blocks to the bottom. Next, glue the top to the ribs and bottom. Watch out though, because when I was gluing mine the top became slightly deformed due to changing weather conditions.
Step 10: Holes
on the bottom of the top tape the f-hole template on and cut it out with an X-ACTO knife.
Step 11: Assemble
First, measure your end post and drill a hole in the very middle of the end of the violin. After that, measure your pegs and drill the same size hole around where it is marked on your template and glue it in. Next, assemble the tail piece. Following that, push your pegs into the holes. Then drill extremely small holes in the middle of the pegs. For the sound post use a 5mm dowel and wedge between the top and bottom.
Step 12: Strings
Now to string it. First, put the end with the nut on it into the fine tuning peg. After that, push the other end into the small hole in the peg and then twist (the peg.) Then put the end with the nut on it into the fine tuning peg. The order of the strings is small on the right hand side to big on the left hand side. After you've strung them put the bridge between the tail piece and the fingerboard (it is held in by friction.) Then with a violin tuner turn the pegs until you have E on the smallest string then A then D then G