The first stage of construction is the selection of the materials. Only the very finest materials are used by Frank Eickmeyer who chooses them himself, starting with the wood.
A split spruce of extremely narrow grain (18th century)
Violin maker Daniele Canu from Pesaro, selecting maple logs with Francesco Dalla Quercia
Maple logs, chosen for making Violins and Cellos, are always sawn radially
Maple from Bosnia
Old Spruce, detail of grain
Modelling the curves of a viola body involves several different tools. Francesco starts using a gouge, then finger planes of decreasing sizes. Finally, instead of sand paper, a piece of sharkskin or a plant called "horse-tail" (Equisetum palustre), rich in silicon.
In this photo we see a cello back (model after Domenico Montagnana) after modelling it with a flat gouge.
To control the curves Dalla Quercia uses highline so that the shape can acquire a third dimension.
Different sizes of finger planes used to shape the internal and external curves
Linings and blocks are generally made either of spruce or of willow. Guarnieri del Gesù used spruce.
Block and linings in old spruce (18th. century) in a violin of Dalla Quercia.
A label is no conclusive proof of genuineness in itself (It is possible to see fake labels almost every day). That's why I brand my instruments on different inner positions and deliver them with warranty certificates. I started doing so after recent scandals involving some Italian dealers selling Chinese instruments as if they were Italian.
Labels on more recent instruments will be different to those shown above. Whilst the border is always the same, the town may be: Cremona, Bologna, Bosa or Marseille
The closing of the instrument (sideview)
The closing of the instrument (view from above)
Inner finishing is even more important than the outer, for the final acoustic quality of an instrument
Pegs (lathe-turned boxwood) for a baroque cello.
Before being varnished, plates are seasoned in the open air, on the sunny Sardinian hills.
A good tan will better their look as well as their sound.
The deep stain, accurately laid by the maker, is now turned by the Italian sun into a dark-golden coating. An oil varnish gives a noble aspect to the instruments and gives elasticity to the plates that sounds better.