9. Purfling and Edges

The next step is to clean up the edges, making them parallel to the ribs, so the purfling tool has a good guide.

I first work with a knife on the tight curves...

and planes for the rest.

I use a sanding board to remove tool marks and give me a clean edge for the purfling tool.

For the curves, I’ve adapted a broom handle.

A finished back corner. I try to make all the corners look the same.

Here’s a top corner for comparison.

I’ve several small chisels, picks, sharp knives, and a double bladed purfling tool with an edge guide. I use fiber purfling that I buy from various suppliers. The black outside strips are pressed fiberboard and I think the inside is holly. I’m trying for a very tight fit this time, so I had to shave the purfling a bit with a scraper.

This is as close as I get to the corner with the tool. The purfling tool should be considered as a marker and lightly pushed without too much downward pressure. I go over each cut about three times pressing slightly harder each time. The grain of spruce will grab the tool if you are not careful.

For the most part, I just grab it in my fist and pull it around the edge.
The knife markings are later deepened with a knife, then chiseled out.

I finish up the corner cut with my #11 knife.

This little chisel has been ground to fit the groove. I used it for most of the wood removal.

Using the commercial purfling chisel for chipping out wood in the tight corners.

Okay... a day later and all the wood has been removed from between the lines. In this picture I’ve fired up the bender and am putting a curve to a piece of purfling.

I mark the end where to cut.

Then chop... or slice...

Doing the back first, I fit all the outside corners first...

then fit the middle pieces. I do the same for the front.

Here is a finished, unglued corner. In Stradivarian fashion, the “bee-sting” points slightly up.

I’ve flattened the end of this glue syringe so that it fits easily within the purfling groove. I use Tightbond diluted with water for better flow. The Tightbond gives me more working time and also helps to fill all the gaps.

> Am doing half the top at once, running a bead of glue.

I put the corners in first and milk some glue into the narrow point...

Then shove it the rest of the way in.

Here I’m pressing the purfling to the bottom of the groove with an old rosewood chisel handle. Note the glue getting squeezed out.

That has to be mopped up. I’m using a liberal amount of water here. It removes excess glue and expands the wood making a tighter joint.

When the glue is dry, it’s time to cut the purfling level with the surface.

The fiber purfling takes a bit of time and dulls the gouges quickly.

With rasp and plane, I now go after the edges making a 45 degree bevel around the perimeter.

This goes for the inside also. In the tight curves, I use a knife. I like to leave about 2 mm. of flat ledge between the rib and where the edge starts to roll over.

After finishing the bevel, I use a sanding stick with 180 grit and clean things up.

Here’s an image of the back when I’m finished...

and the top.

Now it’s time to level the purfling with a scraper and at the same time clean up the edges.

Here’s the lower right back corner I pictured earlier prior to gluing. Looks pretty good to me...

Next, I round off all the sharp edges using a rasp and a small flat plane.

You can get that rasp into all sorts of interesting positions.

When finished, all the rasp marks need to be cleaned up. I use 180 grit open-coat sandpaper, then go to 320 to make things perfectly round and clean.

Then I hit all the edges with a scraper to add some character.

The next step is to join the neck to the body.

Here’s another picture of myself... c.1981 around Anchorage, Alaska on a mountain trail.
I had more hair then...

10.Fitting the Neck