Alfio Batelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1903, and died in Los Angeles, California in 1977. He spent his lifetime making and repairing fine violins, violas, ‘cellos, and other instruments and bows. He studied and worked with famous makers in Italy, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He was entrusted with the repair and adjustment of the collection of instruments belonging to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and people brought him instruments from all over the United States and Europe for his skillful treatment. These included works by most of the better known makers, and enabled him to analyze the effect of different wood, construction, and varnish regarding the tone and playing qualities of thousands of violins that passed through his hands.
The writer had the pleasure of examining and playing many fine instruments in his shop, including those by the Guarneri, the Amatis, Stradivari, Vuillaume, The Gaglianos, Pressenda, and others too numerous to mention.
Mr. Batelli found that the best violins incorporate certain features, and that a violin made accordingly was invariably a good instrument, the sound varying with the wood used. All instruments made by him sound well. They brought high prices when new, and the owners refuse to consider selling them. Gregor Piatigorsky paid $5000 for a new Batelli cello, and played it in preference to two Stradivari cellos in his possession at the time. A letter of gratitude from Piatigorsky's wife to the maker verifies this. One owner of a violin valued it at $10,000 at the time of Batelli's death. Having heard both it and the Stradivari he also owns, I think the value too low.
Mr. Batelli considered the construction of the violin the greatest challenge of all, and some of the following comments and teachings are his. The writer hopes this information may help to Perpetuate the craft as practised by the Cremonese Makers, and dispel some of the myths concerning wood, varnish, and construction. The exaggerated fluting, thick or thin edges, thick ribs, etc. of modern factory instruments are leading us astray from the old methods. A good toned violin can be made from different and various woods, as long as they are of the right density and elasticity, but the different allowances in thickness and arching make it very difficult to achieve the desired result. The best European wood is the most certain to give uniformly good results, and the information given here assumes the use of it. Fine West Coast American maple and spruce equal it in tone quality, but the American maple is not as lustrous and beautiful to look at. Softer or harder wood may be left one or two tenths of a millimeter thicker or thinner, especially the top. Harder wood will make a more brilliant toned instrument if it is not heavier. Two pieces of spruce may look alike, but one can be much stiffer and stronger. Slab sawed maple cracks several times as much as quarter sawed, so avoid it. Maple with a moderate amount of curl seems to sound best. Arching should be about 15mm. for the back, and l5~mm. for the top. Flatter may be nasal in quality. The back should be a smooth catenary's arch longitudinally. The top should be a slightly flatter curve through the center half of its length, sloping a little faster toward the ends. This helps the quality and volume of sound a bit, but do not exaggerate and spoil it. The shallow shading outside the wings of the f-holes should be done with a scraper and the f-holes remarked before they are cut. Don't over-do it. The fluting around the edges is finished with a scraper after the purfling is planed, and should be just under one millimeter deep at the most, less in the C's. and corners. Thickness of top is 3mm at center, 3mm from bridge to top block, 3mm from bridge to 2.8mm at lower block. Shade off to 2.5mm at upper and lower flanks. Thickness of back is 4mm for 80mm distance at center, shaded to 3mm at top and bottom blocks, 3.5mm at edges of center bouts, and 2.8mm at extreme edges of upper and lower flanks. The back will usually have a tap-tone of g or g-sharp when finished, and the top f or f-sharp depending on the wood. Ideal width of grain for the top is about 2mm to 2.5mm. Narrower grain is harder, but may be heavier. Very soft wood is easily damaged by the bridge and soundpost, and is undesirable. Use sunlight to shadow the arching when finishing to show up any irregularities. Let the finished top and back season for at least a month before gluing the instrument together, to avoid strains and sound problems in the completed product. It is to be assumed the maple and pine may shrink differently if the violin is glued up immediately. Try to assemble it on a very dry day for this reason, to help prevent cracking of the top later. Aged instruments reach a state of equilibrium where the structure can carry the strain of the strings yet vibrate more freely, due to playing and gradual impression of the wood's nodal patterns. A really good violin gets better, but a poor old one does not. The ribs should be one and one tenth millimeters thick, and 31mm to 32mm high when finished. Nothing is gained by making them narrower at the upper part of the body than the lower part, unless you like the appearance. The linings should be 2mm by 8mm, and mortised into the corner blocks in normal fashion. The top block is 60mm wide, the bottom block 50mm wide. Be sure all blocks are absolutely square and flush with the ribs, or you may strain and warp the top and back when you glue them on, causing problems in the sound and adjustment of the finished violin. The bass bar should be 5~ to 6mm thick, and stop 40mm from the ends of the top. Make a line on the inside of the top by measuring in millimeters across the upper bouts and divide by fourteen, the answer being the number of millimeters from the center line of the top to the bass bar. IDo the same for the lower bouts. Measure out from the center line of the top in each case and make a mark. Cormect the marks so you will have a line that angles out from the center at the lower part of the top. The bass bar sets on the outside of this line, and must be fitted with chalk so it will fit and glue in perfectly without straining the top. It will show on the outside after varnishing otherwise, and may cause problems with the sound. The bass bar must be finished down to a height at the center about 10mm to 12mm, and should bring the finished top to a tap tone of f-natural, or f—sharp if the top is hard wood. Too thin a bass bar is more nasal, with more chance of wolf—notes. Too heavy gives a thinner woodier sound. The bar must be made of fine grained wood, not resinous.If the finished instrument sounds dead, try another soundpost, then another bass bar, then a new top. Set neck angle to give proper string height above the fingerboard with a bridge that is 34mm to 35mm at center. This is important. A higher bridge makes the sound less vivacious and deadens it because of the increased tension on the top and the muting effect of more wood in the top of the bridge. A lower one leaves the instrument in looser condition resulting in a coarser tone, and spoils the responsiveness. Exposure of the violin in the white to the sun for a few hours a day for a month or so before varnishing darkens the wood and improves the sound by relieving stresses. Don't do this unless the humidity is over 50%, and in cool weather or you may cause the top to crack. (Don't get it hot) This may do the sound as much good as several years of playing. A new instrument will improve noticeably in the first year or two as it settles down, the varnish dries out, and vibration patterns in the wood become established. The highs become more brilliant, and the lows get richer. A new soundpost requires settling in, too. The varnish should be the hardness of your thumbnail when thoroughly dry. If it contains too much oil it may never reach proper hardness. Good varnish is elastic enough to let the wood mar under your thumbnail without chipping, powdering, or peeling. Test it before use. It is thought that the “amber” resin of commerce three hundred years ago was copal resin from Africa. This is the most durable of the natural resins. The varnishes made from propolis are light and friable, wearing off quickly. Many of the varnishes used today are brittle as a coat of rosin, and powder easily under your thumbnail. The less varnish used, the more the violin will sound like it did in the white. The first coat of varnish mixed with Indian Yellow goes directly on the wood as a filler, brushed on rapidly in a thin, even coat. The second coat should have strong color and be applied thinly. If a third coat is used, it should be sparing, and partly polished off. This will leave a film thin enough that the violin will recover in a year or two and sound better than it did in the white. Before gluing on the top, apply two coats of white varnish to the inside of the top, back, and ribs, using a small sponge. Avoid the edges and blocks to be glued. This coating is made of 25 grams of gum arabic, ~ tsp. honey, ~ tsp. sugar, dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water. When cool, stir in one egg white, and let set for two hours before applying. This very definitely improves the playability and responsiveness. Soft coatings mute the violin like a layer of rubber soaked into the wood. Harder elastic varnish about the hardness of your thumbnail seems best, thinly applied so it will not mute the instrument, but still damp the unwanted shrill high frequencies heard as harshness in a new violin with a thick coat of flinty powdery spirit varnish. A glassy finish is not a tonal asset.
Vibrations travel as a standing wave form through the wood from the point of origin. These wave forms are full of complex patterns due to reflected overtones and harmonics produced by vibration of parts of the instrument itself. The least difference in wood, varnish, construction, and fittings affects the respons of the whole assembly.
The sound travels faster through the wood than the varnish, causing the wave form to be weakened by the conflicting secondary wave through the varnished side of the wood. Coating both sides of the plate with a substance about the same .density and hardness as the wood may reduce or cancel conflicting peaks and lows, and experiments have shown this certainly makes the violin more responsive, with better note change, trill, and spiccato. Double stops in higher frequencies do not warble and sound sharp, and low frequencies are clearer and play more easily. Apparently some desirable damping of frequenciesabove 5000 cycles is achieved.
The sealers the old Italians used on the great violins were probably applied to prevent the colored varnish soaking into the wood and spoiling the appearance. Finding that sealing the inside surfaces improved the ~2ayability and sound was probably discovered by accident rather than extensive scientific research. The failure of subsequent generations of violinmakers to recognize or rediscover this is also history. The best relationships of wood, coatings, and construction must now be established by research and experimentation. Procedure for assembly:
Make two half forms from pattern minus 4mm. Glue four blocks on half inside form. Mark corners on blocks and rib line on top and bottom blocks 4mm inside pattern line to coincide with form. Finish ribs to 1.1mm by 35mm or wider and bend to fit form and finished blocks. Glue 0-ribs first and thin corners. Thin and glue upper and lower ribs to corners next. Leave corners long, to finish later. Finish ribs down to form height. Remove from form with chisel and repeat to make other half set of ribs. Fasten ribs in outside form and fit linings, mortising C-linings into corner blocks. Prime edges of back, blocks, ribs, and linings with a coat of thin glue. (Prime all glue surfaces when assembling except for edge of top. Sometimes it must be removed for vital repairs.) Glue top and bottom blocks on back 4mm from edge. Glue ribs on back, starting with C's and corner blocks, then upper and lower blocks, then upper and lower bouts. Before doing this, round o1~ the inner edges of top and back. Apply two coats of thin white varnish solution to all interior surfaces and inside of top, avoiding all places to be glued. Glue on top, C's and corner blocks first, then top and bottom blocks and upper and lower bouts. Carve neck and scroll, glue on finger board, fit nut and pegs. Fit neck into top block for proper bridge height and length of stop. Size neck and block with glue and let dry. Sand glue lightly and recheck fit. Glue in neck. Finish button and shoulder, finish neck, fit rest for tailpiece, fit bridge, fit soundpost, round off edges, and the instrument may be strung and played before varnishing.
Some useful measurements:
- Thinnest part of neck - 13mm plus thickness of fingerboard.
- Outside edge of purfling is 4mm from edge of top or back.
- Fingerboard is 6mm above edge of top, and base of neck is 6mm inside edge of top.
- Bass bar is 51/2 mm to 6mm thick, 40mm from ends of top, and 10 to 12mm deep at center.
- Button at base of neck 20mm wide.
- Soundpost 6mm thick and i-mm longer than top to back distance.
- Strings at bridge 33mm (11mm apart).
- Strings at nut 16mm (5~-mm apart).
- Soundpost normally clears bridge by 2~mm to 3mm.
- Arching- top l5~mm , back 15mm.
- Thickness of edges - 3.8mm to 4mm, corners 4½m.
- Thickness of edges - 4mm, C's 4.5mm, corners 5mm (Stradivari)
- Bridge height at center- 34mm to 35mm, 4 mm thick at base.
- Edge of top to center line of bridge - 195mm.
- Nut to edge of top - 130mm.
- Fingerboard - 25mm x 270mm x 42mm x 5mm thick minimum.
- Nut — 61/2 mm x 25mm x necessary height.
- Rest for tailpiece gut - 40mm wide.
- Linings - 2mm x 8mm.
- Top block 16mm x 60mm - Bottom block 16mm x 50mm.
- Center line to bass bar - 1/14 of width of top (slopes).
- Peg box - 10mm x 14mm x 72~-mm long, inside. Cheeks 5mm thick..
- Chin of scroll - 26.7mm wide.
- Nut line to end of neck - 137mm.
- Nut line to front of scroll — 68mm - 69mm.
- Top end of neck - 331/2 mm wide.
The purfling is inlaid when top and back are finished except for the last half millimeter of fluting, but before hollowing out the inside. The exact outline of the top and back must be perfect to have the groove follow the edge at a distance of 4mm inside it. The purfling is normally about 1.2mm wide and 2.5mm deep. The groove is not quite as deep, to allow for trimming. Too deep weakens the edge. The two lines for the groove are traced separately, then cut down carefully with a very sharp pointed knife to the required depth in several steps, removing the wood in between the cuts with a small pick or chisel. This tool is bent to relieve it from binding in the groove, and must be narrower than the groove. Work out of the corners with the knife, to avoid damage. Clean out corners carefully, and pry a thin knife point into them to open and extend them slightly. The hot glue will close them around the points of the inlay. Modern factory practise cuts the groove with a router type machine tool, the corners being finished by hand. The strips of purfling are cut long to use as follows, and bent to match the line of the groove. Lay them out on the plate as they are bent. The miters are marked on the top edge, then cut on the irmer side by laying the bent end of the purfling over a 24mm wood dowel held in the vise. In this way the miter faces can be shaved to a perfect fit in the corners. The bottom edges of the purfling must be scraped just enough to remove the sharp edge, so they will not snag when pressed into the groove. The C-pieces are mitered first, and fitted so tightly they are almost too long for the distance they occupy. The other pieces are then mitered and matched to them, by removing the “C” pieces, then pushing both back into the corner together. On the back, there should be a joint 30mm to the right of the neck, and another where the chin-rest clamp covers it. These are cut and fitted by cutting the purfling on a vertical bevel, so the last piece is undercut slightly to fit over the other, and glued in after it. When the purfling is all tightly fitted, it may be lifted carefully out of the groove with a knife point, avoiding the corners. Lay it out as it was when you remove it, to avoid confusion. With a thin stick or spatula, run thin glue into the “C” groove and corners, and 30mm past the corners. Push the C—purfling corner and its matching mitered piece together into the groove corner so they are perfectly matched. Lay the sharp curved point of a knife across the purfling near the corner arid push the joint in tightly. Repeat for the other corner, then push in the purfling all around the “C”. Press it down firmly with a rounded tool such as the end of a screwdriver handle with a rolling motion, causing the excess glue to ooze out. Run glue into the next groove and roll in the purfling, and so on, being careful to leave the overlapping joints in the proper order for the last. Scrape off the excess glue, and clean up with hot water. Allow to dry thoroughly before planing and scraping the final fluting and arching.
Priming the surfaces with a thin coat of glue permits the use of thirmer glue in assembly. This results in a tighter, stronger joint, and lets the excess glue squeeze out of the joint. The clamping blocks for the ribs at corners, top and bottom blocks, fingerboard, etc. should all be lined with 2mm cork to make tighter glue joints and avoid marking the wood. The spools on clamping screws for top and back should be faced with 1mm leather. Never glue in the tailpin. When fitting and gluing the neck, use a marked wedge under the end of the fingerboard to check the exact height. A thin spatula of fiber or stainless should ~be used to apply glue between surfaces being joined. After clamping and heating, remove all the excess glue you can and wash clean with hot water on a small piece of cloth, linen preferred. Any remaining glue is: dissolved and washed off after clamps are removed. Never round off edges of top and back until instrument is finished to avoid damage from clamping and handling. Keep your fingernails short. A fingernail mark or dent may be removed by wetting it and heating with the alcohol lamp, or if on an edge, heat it with a hot spoon handle or similar curved surface. When gluing the linings, and when gluing the top and back to the ribs, after the clamps are tightened use an alcohol lamp to reheat the glued areas. This lets excess glue ooze out where it can be scraped off with a beveled, chisel edged stick. Keep the flame moving to avoid scorching the wood, and stay off the sharp edges. Avoid getting any of the white varnish sealer on surfaces to be glued. When gluing on the top and bottom blocks, the neck, and the fingerboard, rub them back and forth to work out excess glue, and tighten clamps carefully to avoid slippage. A small piece of screen in the bottom of the glue pot will prevent breakage of the glass jars used to melt the glue in. Never melt the glue in metal containers, causing it to turn dark with age.
The Sound Post
The soundpost ends must fit perfectly against the top and back to avoid damage. Squeezing the soundbox gently across the C's will raise the top ~- to 1-mm and helps when inserting it through the soundhole. A tighter post will give more volume and brilliance than a loose one, up to the point where the violin becomes rough and hard to play. Too tight a post may crack the top , causing permanent damage to the instrument, and an extensive repair job. The edge of the soundpost should be l 1/2 to 3mm below the edge of the foot of the bridge, and in line with the center of the foot.
The grooves in the nut and bridge must be shallow and not binding. Deep grooves in the nut will cause premature string breakage in the peg box area. The E string should be supported by an insert of very hard wood inlaid in the bridge. Keep the size to a minimum. The rest for the tailpiece gut must be rounded so the pressure from the gut holds it in place. Poor shaping of the part may cause it to flip out of place.
A Few Hints on Tools
ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN USING TOOLS OR MACHINERY!
Many superior tools can be homemade by the violinmaker. Small gouges for scroll carving can be fashioned from old golf club shafts, by splitting them with an abrasive disc in a Dremel motor-tool. Due to their thin-ness they get into tight places better, and you can see the cutting edge better. Old high speed steel power hacksaw blades from l~mm to 2mm thick make good knives, small plane blades, and small chisels. Avoid the soft blades with only the teeth hardened. They can be split by using the Dremel motor tool with abrasive blades. Toothed plane blades may be made by grinding or milling very small grooves in them spaced 1mm apart. Use a very thin abrasive disc, or carbide dental burs. A hole cutter as sold for drill press use makes a good marker for purfling by altering it as necessary. The commercial peg shavers in brass are inferior to one made of lignum-vitae or goncalo-alves wood, which is self lubricating and never sticks. Drill holes in the block so they are parallel to the face, ream them assorted sizes with the peg hole reamer, reface the block to expose the sides of the holes evenly, and install the cutting blades, made from hacksaw blade material. Slots for screws are ground into them with a disc. Proper adjustment will produce pegs that exactly match the taper of the reamer. Use a needle point to re-mark and finish the outline of the top and back before purfling. The outline must be perfect, and the edge square. Scrapers can be cut from thin spring steel such as a cheap back-saw blade, using aircraft type metal shears. Finish the outline with the grinder and oilstone, and sharpen it with a burnisher. Hold the scraper in the vise with paper, so you do not cut yourself. Sandpaper files may be made by gluing 6mm x 30mm x 300mm wood strips on a sheet of sandpaper, then cut them apart with a single edged razor blade. Repeat for the other side of the sticks. Spray adhesive or contact cement is handy for this job. Round dowels and sandpaper are also useful in finishing the outline of the top and back, the neck, etc. To re-coil a bandsaw blade, hold the circle in front of you with teeth facing away from you with both hands a little above center. Twist the toothed sides outward and let the top loop fall away from you, as the bottom loop will come up and away from you. Let the band lap over into a three-coiled finish. Wear gloves for this, at least until you get the feel of it.
Old dental tools make purfling picks, carving tools, etc. when the points are re-ground. A drum surf orm (made by Stanley Tool Co., Ltd. in England) used in a hand drill motor, helps to rough the excess wood off the outside of the top and back.
Clamp the workpiece on the corner of a high table. Cut only with the heel of the drum, and be very cautious on the corners or you'll break them off. Clean out the drum frequently with a small stick. Small sanders may be made from (20mm dia. x 40mm) dowel and -1” drill rod. They are used in the drill press to shape the corner blocks, thin the miters of the ribs, etc. so they fit . Cover them with a spiral of sandpaper, various grades. These do a far better job than the old makers could do with a gouge, as you may see on many “fine” old instruments when they are open for repair. Do riot use power tools when you can do a better job by hand, but don't hesitate to use them otherwise to save time. The old Cremona makers would certainly have used a band saw if they could have. Plastic bags are handy to store finished violins, and hang them up by the scroll. Good screws for clamping top and back can be made with #l0x24 stove bolts 3~” long, 20mm dial. by 16mm thick spools made from hardwood dowel or broom handle, and 1” hex sleeve nuts. Don't use wing-nuts because they are too slow and clumsy to manipulate, and exert enough pressure to mark the edge. Face the spools with leather, not colored, and use Teflon washers under the nuts. Larger than 20mm spools will mar and damage the top. Don't over tighten them and mash the soft edge of the top. Number 11 medical scalpel blades are helpful in cutting the sound holes. Always cut toward the point of the wing, to avoid breaking off the heel of it. An Exacto knife handle can be altered to hold the blades by cutting grooves in the chuck with a jewelers saw. Curved plastic patterns for laying out the scroll and peg box can be made from plastic two liter beverage bottles. A scribed center line on them makes it easy to see the center line on the wood under the pattern. The smaller Exacto razor saws are just right for carving scrolls, and you can pry open the back to reverse the blade so it cuts on the pull, closing the back in the vise.
Alfio Batelli's secret varnish was a readily available artists material. It was Winsor-Newton oil copal varnish, with Japan drier added if necessary to attain proper hardness. Tests should show drying thumbnail tough in a week or so. First coat is colored with Winsor-Newton Indian Yellow oil color (in tubes). Second coat is colored with Winsor-Newton Alizarin Crimson oil color (in tubes) or any desired combination of Iosol Red 4B, Iosol Orange, and Iosol Black (blue) color solutions made by dissolving Iosol color in oil of spike lavender. These colors dissolve even better in synthetic acrylic lacquer reducer. They are strong alizarin type colors and very permanent. Make up three small bottles of color by adding crystals of Iosol in one ounce of reducer until no more will dissolve in two days. Use small drinking straws as pipettes to drop this into the varnish. The varnish can be tinted strongly enough to get good color with very thin coats. Fifteen drops of red, thirty drops of orange, and five drops of black-blue will color about an ounce of varnish. This will do two thin coats on two violins. You must experiment to get the color you want and get it dark enough. Test it to make sure it dries in three days before putting it on a violin. (Don't hurry the varnish). When the colored varnish is dry, wait a few days and apply a thin coat of alcohol retouch varnish, and polish when dry. This may be repeated until a high polish is achieved, but the more varnish the less sound. (So many of the greatest sounding violins have almost no varnish left.) At this time (1984) the Winsor Newton oil copal varnish is no longer sold in the U.S.A., but is still sold in Europe. The tubes of oil color are still sold in the U.S. Grumbacher high gloss copal varnish is an equivalent substitute and dries better without adding Japan dryer. The Iosol colors are available from Keystone-Ingham Co. in Cerritos, CA. The clear Grumbacher varnish is fine for the edge of fingerboard and the neck. Use three coats and rub it to a dull finish so the hand will slide on it when the player is nervous. The colored copal varnish may be thlimed slightly with Grumbacher “Grumtine”, and may make the application more manageable. A Sable brush is best. You must experiment on scrap wood, and get adept at handling it. Thin a little copal varnish mixed (on a scrap of foil or glass) with burnt umber and do the inside edges of the f-holes with a very small brush. If you touch the colored top wipe it off instantly. Alfio Batelli also used all the old colors: Dragon's Blood, chestnut color, etc. for repairing where necessary, but most of these fade, so he avoided them on new instruments. The Alizarin color from madder root is the same chemical produced today, and in a variety of colors. Soaking roots and bark to get color is as archaic as washing your clothes on a rock. The self styled “experts” who state that only vegetable colors must be used apparently don't know that they are recommending that the varnish shall fade and go dead. I recommend Sacconi's book for the insight it provides. While the thin thicknesses are for very hard wood in the top and seem too thin in the back, they are compatible with Alfio Batelli's teachings. The thicknesses Alfio gives, however, produce an easy playing instrument, usually very free from wolf notes and even in tone and volume.
SEQUENCE FOR ASSEMBLING THE VIOLIN
Buy wood for top, blocks, and linings. Buy wood for ribs, back, scroll, and bass bar. Buy fingerboard, pegs, tailpiece, bridge, strings, and ebony for fittings. Buy wood for forms. Buy 8 C-clamps, (2” size), 5 bass bar clamps, 36 violin screws, 24 clothespins for lining clamps, and some small rubber bands to use on clothespins.
Make forms from patterns minus 4mm. Glue 4 blocks lightly on ½ inside form, mark corners on blocks 4mm. inside pattern line. Finish ribs to 1.lmm.x35mm. or wider and bend to fit form. Prime with thin glue, let dry, then glue C's to corner blocks. Thin ribs at corners for miters, thin and glue upper and lower ribs to corners next, leaving corners long, to finish later. Don't forget to prime with glue and let dry, before gluing. Finish ribs down to form height exactly. Remove corner blocks from form with chisel and fasten ribs in outside form frame with clothespin clamps. Bend linings to fit, leave long and 2x8mm. Cut out mortises for C-linings in corner blocks. Glue linings in ribs, finish corner blocks and linings with knife and chisel. Carve top and back, inlay purfling, and finish outside, leaving edges square. Finish inside, graduate thicknesses, round off inner edges, coat edges of back, blocks, ribs, and linings with a coat of thin glue, and sand lightly. Do not prime edges of top. Glue top and bottom blocks on back, allowing for ribs. Glue ribs on back, starting with corner blocks. Cut f—holes in top and fit bass bar. Apply white varnish (arabic) to all inside surfaces, avoiding gluing surfaces. Fit end pin in bottom block. Glue on top, C's and corners first, then top and bottom blocks, then upper and lower bouts, in the same sequence as when gluing ribs on back.7F1nt~h carving neck and scroll. Glue fingerboard on neck. Fit neck in upper block with fingerboard in place using gauge for proper bridge height. Size neck and block with glue. Glue neck in upper block using gauge, finish button and shoulder, fit bridge, fit soundpost, fit rest for tailpiece, round off edges, fit pegs and nut, and the instrument may be strung and played before varnishing.