Fixing the plate
  1. Fix a wooden plank (in red in Fig. 1.) of approximately 60 x 7 x 5 cm to your workbench making sure its protruding by at least 30 cm.
  2. Clamp your front plate upside down to the bottom of this plank. See the top-down view of the setup in Fig. 1.

Cutting the plate
  1. Using a coping saw, cut within 2 mm of the outer pencil line. Make sure the saw is tilted a little away from the outline so that you avoid undercutting. Keep rotating the plate as necessary.
  2. Correct the outline using a rasp, downstrokes only, so as to avoid tearing off the fibers at the bottom of the plate. Get to about .5 mm outside the outline.
  3. Using a marking gauge, scribe along the whole length of the contour a line 6 mm in height.

The plate holder

Now is the time to attach the plate to the plate holder. It serves to hold the front and back plate while you carve the outside arching and do the purfling.
  1. Get a piece of wood about 60 x 30 x 2 cm.
  2. Mark the centerline, take the template you started the violin with and scribe the full violin outline on the plate holder.
  3. On the centerline drill two holes about 12 cm in from the top and bottom edges of the outline. Refer to Fig. 2. for their position.
  4. Find two screws and insert them in the holes from the bottom side to find out by how much they protrude. They must not stick out more than 8-9 mm but also not much less in order to securely hold the plate. Use washers to reduce the length of the screws if necessary.

Fixing the plate to the plate holder
  1. Put the plate bottom down on the plate holder and align it with the centerline. Refer to Fig. 2. to see how the plate is fixed to the holder.
  2. Clamp down securely with a few clamps.
  3. Flip the holder and screw in the two screws.

    Make sure again that the screws will not enter the wood farther than 8-9 mm to avoid penetrating into the wood that will remain in the finished plate.

    The holder must hold the plate firmly but avoid over-tightening.
  4. Remove the temporary clamps and clamp down the holder to the workbench.

Removing wood
  1. With a pencil, mark out the outer "A, B, C, D" areas as depicted in Fig. 3.
  2. Using a suitable gougle, pare away the wood down to the 6 mm height-line, you previously created. Make sure you do not "enter" the waist "v" of the plate more than 15 mm.

    Take a look at the red arrows in Fig. 3 to see the general direction of carving.

    As you continue removing wood be extremely careful in the area of corners, as these are easily split off. Be extra sensitive of the grain in those areas and apply only very limited force. See the red arrows near the corners in Fig. 3 for the direction of carving. Also make sure your gouge is razor sharp.

Category: Front
Comment by
2016-06-02 16:18:27
I don't quite understand what the A and B regions are for. Are those whole regions supposed to be gouged down to 6mm, too?
Comment by
2016-06-03 09:07:29
Roughly and gradually, yes, the 6 mm thickness being just at the edge. Check your long arch template, so that you stay within limits.