Derek Roberts Violins

Violin Making
Day 16 Marking the F holes

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 starts work on the F holes or sound holes. They will be marked out on the front plate of the violin which was thicknessed in the previous stage.

A template of thin plywood is used to give the shape of the F hole. This template belongs to the particular Stradivarius model which Derek is making.


The template is placed on the front plate and drawn round with a pencil. Accurate positioning of the F holes is important as this will determine the position of the bridge and the length of the vibrating strings.


Next Derek uses a gouge to flute the edge of the F holes. The purpose of the fluting is purely aesthetic.

The fluting is finished with a steel scraper.


The centres of the top and bottom holes of each F hole are marked with a scriber, and then drilled out with a hand drill.

In the next stage Derek cuts the F holes out.

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