In order to make a matching tailpiece for this instrument, I had to choose a piece of maple which looked as much like the fingerboard material as possible. Fortunately, I had just such a piece in my stash of off-cuts.
Once I had decided on the outline shape of the tailpiece I of course had to cut it from the slab and set about creating the in-curve and arch of the finished piece.
When the shape of the tailpiece was established, I then needed to cut the channel for the purfling inlay. Getting the purfling to bend into the arch at the front of the tailpiece was quite a challenge, as it really doesn’t like to bend in this direction! However, once I was victorious, the inlay and the rest of the tailpiece had to be finished ready for varnishing. There was one more thing to do before I could varnish it however… and that was to drill the hole for the tailgut to pass through.
The wood was then sealed and the first coat of varnish was applied. I used a spirit varnish for this and several coats were applied to bring the whole item to a good colour match to the fingerboard of the violin.
Finally, I needed to fit a bridge to the instrument. Baroque violin bridges are more demanding than their modern counterparts, as you have to make the bridge ‘blank’ yourself from a slab of wood rather than buying in pre-cut, albeit rough blanks, as you do for modern instruments. They tend to be more intricate in design than modern bridges too and every maker has their own particular favorite pattern.
Once the bridge is cut, it then needs to be fitted carefully to the top or belly of the violin, in a similar fashion to fitting a modern bridge to an instrument.