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Cutting f-holes

A methodical way of completing this elegant but delicate part of the making process
BY WILLIAM CASTLE Luthier based in Whitchurch, Shropshire, UK

Makers reveal their special techniques

Marking the outline

1. There are different approaches to marking out the f-holes, but no matter whether the eyes are cut first or the whole f-hole is drawn on the outside, a template is used to mark at least the central section of the f-hole. I use a transparent plastic template, with struts between the central run and the round holes to prevent it breaking at the top and bottom where the f-hole is very narrow. The inside template gives a line which is slightly outside the finished f-hole, and so remains visible throughout the cutting process.

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About The Strad

The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary and we hand on some yoga tips for string players. There’s an in-depth look at Stradivari’s working methods and Shostakovich’s violin works. Plus Maxim Rysanov’s Life Lessons and Rivka golani’s Sentimental Work