A new cello on its way

February, 2018

Since early January I have been working on a slightly small full-sized cello, based on an instrument by Andrea Guarneri. This is my favourite cello model, and the use of poplar for the back, ribs and scroll gives it a different appearance from the more common maple. The poplar is softer to work and is less dense, so the back and ribs are left thicker than would be the case with maple.

The sound of poplar tends to be a little less bright, and darker than maple, so I am looking forward to hearing if this is the case this time. I already like the look of the instrument- instead of the tiger-like stipes of figured maple, the poplar has strong grain lines which form contour-like lines on the arching, and there is also some light ephemeral figure in the wood, which should look great through the varnish.

The pictures show the scroll at various stages, the saw cuts for the second turn of the scroll, the side view of the scroll with the gouge marks in the volute clearly visible, the scroll held in the vice whilst I fluted round the top, and the other side nearly completed.

The pictures of the body show the back and ribs just before glueing on the belly, the newly cut f-hole, the body with clamps around it to hold the belly, the bass bar clamped whilst the glue set, and the unfinished neck being fitted into the body of the instrument.

The cello has now got its primer on and is in the drying cabinet, the rest of the varnishing following after I return from a week’s violin making in Manchester.