Trade Secrets: Organic scroll carving


A method for shaping the scroll and pegbox that can give more flowing results, in line with what is seen on old instruments

I originally developed this expedient method of sculpting the scroll and pegbox from the wooden block at a time when I did not have access to a bandsaw or power tools. It relies on the maker’s eye, with a lot of going back and forth between the shapes that determine the front, back and side profiles of the scroll and pegbox. While this sounds as though it might be time-consuming, it takes me about as long as the method I learnt in school, and is much more fun. This method freed me up to embrace a more organic, less ‘perfect’ aesthetic, and focus on the flow of lines and shapes. I think the result has been scrolls with a more elegant and asymmetric character than I would otherwise have made.

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