Purfling between your ribs..

Between the ribs of both theorbos there is a small band of a contrasting color.  Walnut for the ash bowl of the Sellas, and vice versa on the Schelle. They are almost a photo negative of each other.

The 1,5 mm lines are a bit wide, but on such large instruments it gives a great visual effect. The light white lines between the dark walnut ribs of the big Schelle bowl (yes it is really big, I’m considering making another one and rent it out as an airplane hangar or use it as a garden shed), make it appear a bit smaller. And the small bowl of the Sellas  (the smallest ‘normal’ theorbo) appears a bit larger. So both instruments are getting more in proportion.

For the Schelle this was partly inspired by the instruments of Joachim Tielke, whose workshop produced a lot of extremely decorated instruments, which had either ivory-in-ebony or ebony-in-ivory inlay. And sometimes the ebony was even substituted for tortoiseshell.

Tielke is especially known for his guitars and gamba’s, but he also made baroque lutes and angelique’s. Tielke lived and worked a little earlier than Schelle, but the shape of their bowls looks a bit similar. His lutes often have dark ribs with an ivory inlay.

Making the purfling.

There are a couple of methods to make these lines. You can cut them to size before or after bending. For these lutes I have chosen for the latter.

Because they are made of the same material I have taken one of the spare-ribs (sorry) and bent them to shape of the other lute.

To make cutting easier a little saw table with a horizontal blade would be great. But I have never found anything like this. So that sounds like a great excuse for some macguyvering…

The ingredients:

-One old Bosch drill
-One drill clamp, unknown origin
-Some scraps of wood
-A multiplex top
-Small circular saw blades (found at Banggood or for the Dutch: at the Action)
-30 min of spare time

This whole bunch is stirred for 5 minutes and then baked at 180 C for 25 min. Then you clamp it in the bench vise, plug it in and cut your purflings…

And it works…

Another way is simply buying some pre-made b/w/b violin inlay… Which can be nice, but much too fine for a large theorbo.

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This entry was posted in Guitar, Lute, Projects, Think different, Tools, Uncategorized, Woodworking, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Purfling between your ribs..

  1. Hans says:

    Good stuff,
    For a similar task, not guitar related though, I’ve used an old (fixed speed) Dremel that also happens to fit my drillpress’ clamp. Saw blades came from either Wish or Action. By using the drillpress I could adjust the hight (thickness) quite easy.
    Sadly the old dremel is giving Up over time. A replacement is already stashed somewhere in a box.

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  2. I did something similar. I have one of those benches from Brico which come with a vice, bench dogs, and various holes for the bench dogs. On the underside of the bench, right under one of the holes for the benchdogs, I mounted a small metal plate with a hole in it. Into this plate I mounted a dremel tool with its shaft coming up partway through the hole in the bench. Then I mounted a small 2 inch diameter radial saw blade into the dremel tool. It works pretty well. Just make sure you watch out for your fingers. – Richard

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