Dang! That’s a lot of work!

But the results are so pretty! The purfling and adjacent wood needs to be gouged down 1mm and further scraped another 0.5mm to get the lovely beaded edge that adds so much to the overall silhouette of the fiddle, and it’s not an easy task, let me tell you. Oh, it’s easy enough when working with the grain, but it’s very easy to gouge too deep when working across the grain – the purfling is stubborn, while the spruce top is soft. Lots of “easy does it” (and tool sharpening) to keep the channel as smooth as possible.

There are no instructions with the Stew-Mac fiddle kit for gouging the channel, but I feel that it adds so much to the finished look of the fiddle that I couldn’t leave it out. The Ossman book is rather vague about dimensions, but Strobel’s book is very specific about width and depth and those are the numbers I chose to use. Holding the top plate up to the light really showcases the subtle compound curves that form the shape of the belly – it’s hypnotic, I swear.