This is one of the best stages in making a cello. I am arching the top plate. The spruce cuts easily and the graceful curves gradually appear. I have control over the contours, and I'm trying to decide exactly what I want. There's a lot of concentration at this stage. I am creating an arch that resembles my previous cello in hopes that I get a similar result. The next step is to ensure that arching of the 2 halves of the top are symmetrical. That will have to wait, as I need to be freshly rested to do such precise work.
I make most of my violins using European maple because that's the tradition. However, I made two violins using North American red maple during my apprenticeship. The results were very satisfactory from a tonal and visual perspective and my only regret is that the wood came from New England instead of a more local source.
Since the spruce that I source from Canada is second to none in the world, I've been feeling the need to complement the spruce with Canadian sourced maple. So on a recent trip to New Brunswick, I started asking around about some maple, and alas, I returned empty handed. A few days later, I found myself at a woodworking show held at Black Forest Wood Products, here in Calgary where I found the block in the picture. It was harvested in Eastern Canada and was one of 5 that I could choose from. After two hours of deliberation, I came home with this one. There's enough wood for 2 backs. The wood will season further in my shop for the next year or two, and then a new creation will unfold.
It's amusing to think that I travelled across Canada in search of that special piece of wood, only to discover that it could be found in my backyard. I often think about violinists that feel the need to go shopping for an instrument in far off places when what they really need might be found locally, perhaps in some obscure luthier's home studio.
A cello is making progress in the shop and for a bit of variety I've started a violin with a 1 piece back. Both will be varnished in the spring and will be available for playing in the summer