Trade Secrets: Making purfling with fish glue


A flexible method for luthiers who prefer to make their own purfling rather than buy it ready-made

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By Christopher White

Luthier based in Boston, MA, US

On instruments of the violin family, the purfling inlay might appear to be mere decoration, but it can transform the instrument’s appearance and often give a clue as to its place of origin or making school. After assisting William Monical in a purfling study project in 1990, I began making my own in small batches. With the method shown here, I have glued and made purfling strips ready for insertion in just a few hours…

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