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Joining the wood for the back and front plates

June 20, 2012

While I was gluing the blocks into the mold, I didn’t want to waste a bunch of the glue, so I decided to join the two quarter-sawn pieces of curly maple for the back plate of the violin. First, I tried planing the edges for the joint.  But my plane blade kept slipping (I usually bumped the mechanisms that hold it in).


So in the end, I ended up just sanding them flat on my sanding board and then finishing it with a scraper.

I did this for the front plate a few days later, when I needed to re-glue a block that came loose from the mold (I wasn’t surprised –I had had troubles gluing that one in, to start with).

Overall, I’m much happier with how the front plate turned out, than with how the back plate turned out.  The joint of the back plate isn’t as tight as I would like.   I’m trying to decide if it’s worth attempting to unglue it and try it again…  I’m not sure how possible that is.

I made them both “rubbed joints”.


In the meantime, though, I think I’m getting better at resetting the blade of my plane so that it’s more square and makes a really shallow cut.  (I find/make some saw dust on a very flat surface and then set the blade to a depth where it just scrapes up the saw dust…)  This will presumably be very helpful later on when I need to plane anything that’s curly maple –like the back.  (Or, if I break one of the ribs while I attempt to bend it, I’ll need to start over with thicknessing a new rib…  Lets hope that doesn’t happen!)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2012 5:33 am

    Hi Sarah,
    I am so glad that someone shared your blog with me! I am also just getting started building my first violin. I am also keeping a journal of sorts as I go though mine is mostly through video. If you’re interested you can have a look here:


  2. June 21, 2012 6:32 am

    From what I have read getting the joint “perfect” is very important, particularly when using hot hide glue as it does not have good gap filling properties. Also, one of the primary benefits of using hot hide glue is that it is “repairable”. You might try getting in touch with your wood supplier who I believe also does violin repairs. I have read about using a hot (not too hot) knife and dribbles of water to separate a joint. This is a common task for luthiers when they have to do things like repair or replace the bass bar, etc.
    I found this video about joining which might be helpful:

    My wood should arrive today… Woot!

  3. jack permalink
    July 10, 2012 10:05 pm

    Oh, wow! I’m so pleased you’ve started back up on your project (i feared you had given up for good). Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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