Making A Violin: Today I got a Blister

Today I got a blister.  It took many steps to get to that blister, somehow I’m lagging behind and have to catch up to where I am. 

Once the ribs were done it was time for the joins. I’d like to say that I’m doing this all myself, but I’m not.  I plane the center join and Brian steps in at the end.  Getting the two halves to



meet perfectly is not easy.  There can be no gap and my brain doesn’t quite get how to tell which side is high and which is low.  It’s all so subtle and I have to make sure that I keep the plane completely steady.    There is a tendency to push more in the center so the edges are off.  Brian is very kind and lets me think that I’m helping, but this task I happily leave to him.   We glue the halves together and take a small shaving of the join. It is perfect.  The fit is so tight that it is hard to see the line. 

When I sculpt in clay joining two pieces is easy.  I score the two sides and then add water and pull the clay across the join until there really aren’t two distinct pieces anymore, the clay has been joined and one piece has become the other.  Wood isn’t clay and the two pieces that need to be joined are really always separate.  They are separate but held together by the glue that fills the invisible empty spaces. The join is a thin line that is all but invisible but I know it’s there. 

Once the joins were done I traced the shape of the ribs on the top and bottom.  This is it.  The individuality of dimension is set.  Whatever small variation came into play when the ribs were bent, this now dictates what my fiddle will be. The ribs won’t be used again until it’s time to put the pieces together. So now they sit on a shelf in the spare room keeping company with the fingerboard that, too, must wait its turn.

And then I sawed out the pieces with the aptly named coping saw.  They call it a coping saw, I am sure, because it is very difficult to cope with.  The blade turns, which is handy, but my brain cannot figure out which way it’s supposed to go.  I muddle through and in the end I am way too far from the line which means I will have to file a ridiculous amount of wood.  Oh well. 

I am missing steps.  The filing, the planeing somehow they disappear.  Like all the photographs I never took of family vacations and times past.  The days, the hours, I didn’t write them and now they merge together and end in the blister I got today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *