Trade secrets: making and fitting purfling

purfling 5

A solution to the awkward problem of how to insert strips around the neck heel area, by Hans Pluhar

The button is a semi-circular extension of the back plate, which gives a large gluing surface for the area where the neck heel is inserted in the mortised top-block. It needs to be stylistically designed to match the lower area of the pegbox. It also interrupts the natural flow of any purfling cutting tool as it runs along the outlines, and hence creates a problem in cutting the purfling channel, which is often overlooked. If it is not carefully executed, it can ruin the overall look of otherwise nicely crafted purfling.

Over the years I have come up with a method that provides me not only with consistent results, but also gives me the flexibility to manipulate this curve to the best aesthetic effect. In violin making I always find myself in the position of having to strike a balance between technical precision and artistic expression. While creating smoothly flowing lines, I must still meet the technical requirements. Here I would like to share a few thoughts regarding the purfling in general, and solving this somewhat difficult button area in particular.

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