Making a Cello #9: Corners and fixing a joint!

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Blog entry by PhiltheLuthier posted 12-05-2012 06:51 PM 2862 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Flattening the Rib Assembly Part 9 of Making a Cello series Part 10: A real work out! »

Hello again, only 19 days later! I must be on a roll, though not a whole lot has happened.

Thank you for all the kind words, I am very glad that this series is being well enjoyed!

Okay, so first up I cut some corners! Not to save time, but to make them even (ish). So they’re cut to length with a really big chisel.

The angle of the flat surface (if you lay a ruler flat) crosses the centerline of the instrument at the inside of the furthest away non-corner block. I should have a picture for this to make perfect sense, but I don’t, sorry.

More cutting

And the face of the corner should be square to the back surface plane. Next the corners are shaped to the proper thickness, being about 2-2.5mm depending on one’s personal preference. I used a dowel with sandpaper stuck to it, as seen here in this hard to comprehend photo:

So all that is left to do on the ribs is sand them smooth to say 400 grit, wetting in between each, and I usually do the rougher grits twice, seems to get a better surface. Also to shape the linings.

On to exciting stuff!!

Remember that back joint I made with my block plane? Well I didn’t like it, so I stuck a knife in it and it popped apart with zero tear out. That means it was a bad joint.

Magnified shot of why I didn’t like it:

It’s not that visible in the picture, but there’s a thick glue line in the joint.

The knife:

Parted joint:

I recently purchased a jointer, the electric kind. I did a practice joint using it on a piece of maple violin sized. Frankly it was the fasted joint I’ve ever made. I face jointed, edge jointed, cleaned up the joint with a block plane and glued a joint in about 20minutes. I was hoping the cello joint would go so smooth, but alas it did not. While the violin plates had no twist after running over the jointer the cello one’s did. I guess the tables are not flat! And they’re not, I checked with a straight edge, I guess that’s what you get if you’re not willing to spend more than $700 taxes in. So the jointer cleaned up my edge a bit, and the rest went by block plane.

Jointing edge:

Very slow work. After an 8 hour day I glued the joint:

Then took it apart again…:

Joints can be very discouraging, especially when you’ve taken them apart twice! I worked on it for another day, got really close, then screwed that up. Another day, closer… went on the LeeValley website and ordered a VeritasĀ® #5-1/4W Bench Plane and a parallel jaw clamp…

This plane is the bee’s knees, check this out!

Though I have some reservations on their definition of sharp, because they say it come with the blade ready to use and frankly it had a burr on the back side the size of ceder hedge!

Anyway… 20 minutes and a perfect joint, yay! The parallel clamp made a huge difference too. Unfortunately (or not) I forgot to take pictures of the glued up plates and the clamp.

Next while that dried and I didn’t want to make a lot of noise I worked on my scroll design. The scroll template I have is about 1 cm too long to be convenient when fitting a cello in a case. Since this cello body is also shorter than the one the scroll was meant for, it would make sense for them to match a little. So I traced the template, and removed a central piece.

The new design:

The new, superimposed on the old, so you can see the difference:

That’s it for now, I’m going to work on the top joint next.

2 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4119 days

#1 posted 12-05-2012 07:23 PM

Simply amazing.
I don’t know what else to say.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View SirFatty's profile


545 posts in 2449 days

#2 posted 12-06-2012 02:37 AM

Thanks for keeping at it!

-- Visit my blog at

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