Once the glue had dried I removed all the peg clamps and used a pencil to draw around the outside of the ribs onto the material for the back.

By keeping the pencil flat to the ribs this means that the line would allow a little overlap beyond the ribs – this will help to protect the ribs from knocks when the fiddle is assembled.

After cutting out the shape roughly with the hobby bandsaw I set it in the vise and positioned the hollow rib frame over the board. Again using a pencil I roughly outlined a dish shape inboard of the blocks and leaving a little margin for the edges so that there would remain a flat lip for gluing the back to the ribs.

Using great care and loads of protective clothing – canvas apron, earmuffs, dust mask, visor and gloves I gently scalloped the dish out with the Arbortech Woodcarver blade mounted in a standard Ryobi angle grinder. And I mean gentle – that blade can take off a load of wood very fast if you are not well braced and well balanced on your feet.

Then a bit of leveling with hand chisels and finally dressing with a curved scraper. This latter is a wonderful tool that gives great feedback and you can scrape along or across the grain with impunity.

By the end of the evening I had the first phase of the back almost done. The next thing will be to thickness it down a little and then shape the convex surface close to the interior contour. The wood already has a ring to it – it’s amazing how you can hear the acoustic properties change as the scraper is drawn along the timber.

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