Derek Roberts Violins

Violin Making
Day 15 Thicknessing

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 hollows out the front plate and completes the thicknessing of both plates of the violin.

The back plate was hollowed out in the previous stage Now similar work is carried out on the front. Derek uses a large gouge to begin carving the inside.


The next few photos show how quickly the work progresses. The spruce of the front is softer than the maple of the back, so the rough hollowing is completed in the space of a few minutes.



Now the gouging is complete, Derek starts finer work with the thumbplane. At first the aim is to remove the tool marks.


Next, specific thicknesses must be achieved across the plate. Derek uses the dial gauge to check these measurements.


Work with the thumbplane is much more accurate than work with the gouge. Small tool marks are left which will later be removed.

You can see the flat surface around the edge and at the top, bottom and corner block positions, ready for glueing to the rib structure.


The work is finished with a steel scraper. This produces a fine surface and removes the small plane marks. It also allows the thickness to be adjusted to an even finer tolerance, a tenth of a millimetre.

In the next stage Derek marks out the F holes of the violin.

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