Recently, I have begun fitting up my instruments in the white and putting on the strings in order to make some final adjustments before the varnish is applied. This last segment of making this cello includes the addition of pegs, bridge, soundpost, nut, saddle and tailpiece. When that is completed, I take everything off of the cello and cover the fingerboard with foil in order to protect it during the varnishing.
The varnishing is done by applying a primer to the wood, which is followed by a filler/sealer coat. That process adds a lot of color to the wood. When the surface is finally properly prepared, the top coats of varnish are applied. The varnish I use is that which I make myself from raw ingredients such as larch resin, called “Venetian Turpentine” and linseed oil. In the old days, this would have dried in direct sunlight. Nowadays, we use UV bulbs in a confined space like a box or small closet. This provides the light which dries the varnish in a controlled environment, without wind, dust and flying insects of trying to do it outside.
With the varnish completed, the fittings are once again installed, the strings put back on and the cello finds its voice as a finished product. This cello asserted itself with the strings reattached and immediately showed a great deal of promise. The sound was deep, powerful and clear, and the response was surprisingly easy and this cello is off and running. This cello will continue to grow in its response and resonance and it is a very satisfying conclusion.
Thank you for following this process with me as I made this cello. I will next be making another cello. For me it will be yet another adventure. Please come back to check on our progress.