MORE ENDGRAIN TIPS (continued)

Detail from one of Miles Mibeck's violins.
The vice you use should hold the work piece about 2 mm below the surface you intend to cut. I say this because the vice causes the fibers to compress and if too much endgrain is above the vice the fibers are too loose and you get tear out.

Next, lightly wet the surface and wait a few seconds for absorption. Wood with water in it becomes dense. [Swiss cooper Ruedi Kohler also did this before planning the endgrain rims of a bucket.] Endgrain may now be cut and the fibers shear easily. Violinmakers will often lick the endgrain of a sound post and shear it with a chisel or double-bevel knife.

The nastiest endgrain can be sheared with a skewed chisel instead of a straight chisel. [This accomplishes the same result as slicing or skewing the tool, as explained last month. But now you can move the chisel forwards.]

Endgrain is best worked on small pieces (those under 5 mm) by filing rather than cutting. A relief cut is made on a fingerboard nut. Pushing a large flat mill file in one direction only will make a flat surface. Each push must be controlled and you must check for square on each end. It takes a while but you are assured accuracy.



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Drew Langsner
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