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Herman Viola Purfling

This is my latest commissioned viola build. There are many steps that take place before I am able to fit my purfling into the top plate. Purfling is the decorative inlay around the edges of the instrument. It is a 3-piece veneer that is handmade, a white inside with two thinner, darker pieces on the outside sandwiched together. Depending on the style we are modeling the instrument after some purfling blacks are lighter then others. Also the thickness varies quite a bit depending on the maker. There are many different wood selections in making purfling. Commonly used materials include; poplar, maple, ebony, and more.

Attached are pictures of the purfling process, the scribing and carving of the channel. The channel with the material removed. Then the bending and fitting of the purfling.