Trepanning and varnish

14 September 2010

After a year of occasionally picking up my giant block of maple, then putting it down again, I decided to try a new tack with the head (I also went and saw some sweet hardangers at the Met, and a viola d’amore which gave me some oblique inspiration).  Having vertical pegs between the horizontal ones seemed like a worthwhile experiment, so I drilled four holes in the head and used a tiny round file to taper them. I shaved and filed down a set of peg blanks to fit, and kept it a very tight fit as there’s no secondary hole for balance. Had some difficulty figuring out how to drill the string holes in the tapered pegs, but my very resourceful brother Ryan made me a little wooden peg-holding device to go into the vice.

and now my fiddle has a mohawk

workshop

After I stripped the head, which I’d left alone the first time as I had intended to chop it off, it was time to varnish. I rubbed in a British oil-painting medium called Liquin to seal the wood, then just used a semi-gloss clear Varathane. I ended up with a few bubbles on every coat, sanded down a lot but eventually had to accept some flaws so I didn’t build up too much varnish. The Liquin brought out the grain nicely and it looks realllly pretty.

clear coat

pegbox

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