With all of the parts finished and ready to assemble, first the back is glued onto the finished rib assembly. The form is dismantled and removed from within the ribs/back unit and thereafter the top is glued onto the ribs, thus closing and completing the body. Now there is one more “drama” left in the woodworking and that is the installation of the scroll into the body, the cutting of the back of the neck. The neck/scroll is joined to the body by means of a mortise in the upper block. The back of the neck is shaped to the finished dimensions and smoothed. With that the woodworking part of the cello is over, and it moves into the phase of varnishing.
A favorite point has been reached for me when the parts of the cello, or any instrument have been completed and are ready for assembly. The shots (1, 2 & 3) are a portrait of the four main parts of this cello ready to be put together.
The first two of those four to go together are the back and ribs as shown regarding one another in (4). Next, (5) has the two ready for clamping in the “dry-run” done to be sure everything fits before gluing it. In (6 & 7), the back has been successfully glued to the ribs with the help of my brother-in-law, Tom Allison.
12/18/2000 – (8 & 9) are the removal of the form.
(11 & 12) show the inside corner blocks as they come out of the form, but marked for streamlining.
(13, 14 & 15) are the next candidates for further parts assemblage, as the top awaits being glued to the back/rib unit, thus creating a finished cello body or corpus.
The top having successfully been glued to the ribs (16 & 17), is clamped and drying overnight.
With the cello body finished, the neck heel is given its final shape and that shape, in its exact dimensions, is transferred to the body of the cello as shown in (18). The waste wood inside the mortise is cut out with a chisel, as shown in this ugly gash, (19). The fit of the neck is important simply to hold it in place and not fly out under string tension. Additionally, the aspects requiring exact fit are, the neck length [distance from the edge of the body to the bottom of nut, or the termination of the vibrating string length], straightness in the lengthwise direction, correct angle for the bridge height, as well as the correct overstand of the neck heel over the top. Though poorly illuminated, in (20), it is possible to see the gradual sliding back against the button extending up from the back.
The finished mortice is shown in (22), at which point the neck is fit and ready to glue in.
In (23-25), the neck is glued and clamped and ready for the final step in the woodworking part of the making of this cello. This also concludes the “Assembling the Parts” section, though I will also provide the neck handle work to bring the cello to its final woodworking conclusion that represents the final step before the varnishing begins.
In (26) the neck is freshly glued in, attached to the body and now dry, awaiting the temporary “tacking on” of the fingerboard (27), accomplished with three dots of glue and clamps.
The final woodworking part of the cello is addressed in (28). The shaping of handle of the neck is particularly critical as it is the main location of the player’s left hand and must therefore create no hidden surprises and be as smooth and regularly shaped as possible. The lengthwise straightness and uniformity of cross-section is controlled by carving facets. Then when those are accurate, the corners of the facets are removed and finally all the shapes flow from the back of the handle into the neck heel and up under the pegbox.
(29 & 30) show the finished neck shape.
The remainder of these pics are sentimental last views of this cello “in the white”, because the next step is the move on to the next section titled “Varnishing”.