I’ve been busy making these small violas for some time. This one is for my rental scheme, for a player who will soon be moving up from one of my smaller violas. This one is the same size as a full size violin, great for young players or for violinists who want an instrument that they can easily transfer to.
I’ve started by making the back and front. The two-piece back is from a nice light piece of maple that I bought in France some years ago. The front is also jointed from two pieces, good quality spruce. I start with solid wood which I carve to the shape, then I inlay the purfling round the edge of the back and front.
I build the ribs directly on the back. First I glue on the top and bottom blocks, then prepare the ribs themselves. These are strips of maple, matching the back, which are planed to just over 1mm thick, bent to shape and glued in place.
While working on the ribs, I’ve made the head, a simple light design that works well with the cornerless body. And also cut the soundholes and fitted the bass bar.
Then all is ready to glue the front to the ribs and fit the neck. The final task is to shape the neck so that it is slim and comfortable for the player.
And now the viola is ready for the varnishing process.
Early September and the viola is finished. It has a lovely transparent golden oil varnish which brings out the figure of the wood. The sound is rich and resonant, with a proper viola C string.