12. Setup

After a week of settling, I glued the fingerboard on using hot dilute hide glue. It’s a good idea to warm the fingerboard and neck before gluing.

In this picture I’m using a scraper to even the joint between neck and fingerboard. I then sand lightly with 220 grit, then 400 grit. Next I wet the neck to raise the grain. When it’s dry, I sand with 600 grit paper.

Next I smear a liberal amount of Tung Oil into the neck. I keep adding this over several hours, letting it soak into the wood. I let this dry for several days before polishing it with pumice. I then buff with a clean cloth.

The varnish isn’t hard enough to put a bridge on for at least two weeks , so I have plenty of time to wait.

I checked the fingerboard surface and noticed I’d lost my scoop. I have to plane again.

Here, I’m knocking off the nut with an opening knife and a hammer. One or two taps and she should pop right off.

Planing the fingerboard again. This time, after using the plane, I sand with 220 grit backed by a flat piece of wood. Next I coat the surface lightly with Linseed Oil; then burnish the oil into the pores with 400 grit sandpaper. It gives a nice matte polished look. I then glue the nut using a dab or two of Titebond. The nut is not glued to the neck, just the fingerboard.

I take my violin reamer and go at the holes from both directions. This is done mainly to clean up the edges of varnish so the wood and varnish won’t chip when I finish the job. I ream a lot deeper when I’m using the tool in the correct direction. The photo above is my cello reamer.

Getting close. The masking tape on the reamer gives me a distance check.

I try for 21 mm to the collar.

It’s pretty faint, but I’ve scored the position of the A and C strings on the nut with my divider. I’ll deepen those marks with needle files then use another divider to mark the positions of the other two strings.

A couple of my peg shavers.

Adding peg dope.

The finished pegs.

The string groove should be about 1/3 the string thickness deep and the path should be an arch with the highest point at the edge of the nut. I use a pencil to lubricate the groove.

The bridge and soundpost come next. The bridge on the right is the one I’m using. I’ve thinned it to 12 mm at the feet. The S shaped tool is a sound post setter.

Used like this.

The post is put in position with the sharp end of the tool...

The top and bottom of the post are cut to match the inside arch of the cello. This takes a lot of fiddling around with knife and file to get perfect.

and pushed home with the other end. It sits inboard of the treble bridge foot by 3.5 mm and about the same distance toward the bottom of the cello.

I use carbon paper to fit the bridge feet. There is a foot spreader pushing the feet apart when I fit the bridge. This simulates the downforce from string pressure.

I keep trimming with a knife until I get a perfect fit. When getting close, I use the knife as a scraper.

I’ve a silly wooden tool that is planed flat along it’s length with the height of the A string on one end and the C string on the other. I use it to mark the bridge height. I then use my arch template to trace the arch.

The finished bridge. There is a piece of drumhead parchment glued at the A string position.

The back of the bridge is flat and shows the most ray cells. The front of the bridge is round. With any luck this will counteract the tendency of the bridge to curl forward.

It’s done and sounds wonderful.

I hope everybody enjoyed my build project.

Anthony, the prospective customer, has been watching the whole process. He’s coming over this afternoon to try it. He’s pretty excited.

I hope he likes it.