Derek Roberts Violins

Violin Making
Day 21 The fingerboard

This is one page in a series about violin making by hand in the traditional way. Please see the introduction for more, and our violin making courses if you are inspired to make a violin yourself.


Today violin maker Derek Roberts shapes the fingerboard and glues it onto the neck block.

The fingerboard is made from ebony. Usually it is bought machined to a rough finish, for the maker to shape to exact measurements. First, Derek checks the measurements with callipers.


The top surface of the fingerboard has to be shaped very carefully because it has a big effect on the playability of the violin.

Derek checks the curve with a template.

The top surface is sanded with a shaped sanding block.


Derek finishes the hollow of the under-surface with a steel scraper.


The next stage is to glue the fingerboard onto the neck block, which was finished on Day 10.

First, Derek uses a block plane to flatten the heel of the neck block. This is the part which will be glued into the body of the instrument. Unless it is perfectly flat, it will be difficult to set the neck in accurately.

Finally the fingerboard is glued onto the top of the neck block and cramped into place. The neck is still only roughly shaped. It will be finished after the neck has been glued into the body.


This end-on view shows the curved shape of the cramping block, matching the curve of the fingerboard.

In the next stage Derek makes the neck joint and sets the neck into the body.

Are you interested in learning to make a violin, or developing your violin making skills? See our Violin Making Courses. Our resources page has recommendations for books and suppliers for violin making.

All material on this site copyright Derek Roberts, Leamington Spa 1999, 2000, 2001, 2014