CHAPTER XIII - FIXING THE BELLY
The label being fixed with thin glue,
and all being in order, see that your cramps, both
of iron and wood, and accessories, are all well to
your hand, for this is a process where quick action
is imperative. Your glue must be hot, and about
the same consistency as when the ribs were fixed;
and broad pieces of stiff cork must be procured, because
the pressure of cramp 11 on back and belly at both
ends will necessitate these safeguards.
In the first place, temporarily fix
the belly, making as accurate a piece of work of it
as you can, exact in overlapping as is the back, if
possible. Then get your assistant to clamp it
here and there with the wooden cramps.
Afterwards, pierce each end of belly with a bit about
three-thirty-seconds of an inch, three-eighths of
an inch deep through the table into each end block.
Then remove cramps, and, into the holes in said table,
fix a small pine peg, about as will just drive home
when all is fixed and glued.
Now, wet with a hot sponge all the
belly where junction with the ribs has to take place,
and then dab a nice layer of your hot glue all round
the ribs and end blocks, going over it a second time
rapidly, and finally holding every part glued for a
second over the hot water under your glue pot.
It is urgent that the pegs are then inserted into
the holes mentioned above, and that you at once force
them home with the smart blow of a hammer, when your
assistant begins to clamp as you direct; for there
may be parts where a little humoring of either rib
or belly will tax your ingenuity, so as to make a
neat fit. Then, when all are on fairly well, clamp
the ends with the iron cramps, having the blocks of
cork to intercept, as spoken of above.
When the glue is dry and hard, on
the following day you must clean all of it away that
is showing and superfluous, and use gouges, chisel, scrapers. Any cutting
of the wood is objectionable; but if there must
be a trifle taken away from some part of the ribs
to make a bad fit nearer a good one, then be certain
to make all smooth with scraper and sandpaper, over
and over again, or your work will be uneven at the
finish; and your varnish is a terrible shower-up of
bad work, my masters.
Following the above is the careful
rounding of the edges of under and upper tables with
files and glass-paper, as previously shown on the
inner edges of the back and belly. Not too broad
must this be done, or the somewhat sharp edge which
you seek (or should seek) to bring neatly along the
centre of the edge, as it were, of a small wave, doubtful
whether to curl over on to the body of the violin or
not, will lose much in form, and the grace intended
be negative, if not utterly lost when under the eye
of the connoisseur.
When this is all done, and the corners
left beautifully square, save that the sharpness of
the terminals are just a little rounded off (not the
two points these must not be touched) wet
all you have gone over with a sponge, and clean when
dry with sandpaper, until you are sure your
work will do you credit under the varnish, when you
arrive at that stage. Before that, however, we
have to consider the cutting of the scroll.