During my time at Peabody, I had the opportunity to take a class, in my doctoral program where my group members and I built a fully-functioning cello from the recycled wood of former homes in Baltimore. For construction directions we used the H. S. Wake, “A Strad Model ‘Cello Plans” (1975). This project started during the Spring 2019 semester and continued into the summer where Leon and I both continued working on the project together. After that time, I spent the rest of the Fall finishing the construction of the instrument.
This project has deepened my appreciation for how lucky we are to have these instruments in our world. It takes so much time and craftmanship to simply create an instrument that has resonant open strings. I now see open strings, not as the starting point for the instrument, but the culmination of months of hard work in the woodshop, and centuries of craftsman refining this instrument to make it what it is today.
Below I have included pictures and captions that chronicle portions of the assembly process. For a more detailed account of this construction, please visit Dr. Nathan Scott's webpage:
Me and Daniel Kamon seen here gouging the front face of the cello. In order to get the depth of this highly sophisticated shape, we had to drill holes in the wood at different depths so that we only removed the necessary amount of wood with the chisels.
Dr. Susan Weiss, Professor of Musicology at the Peabody Conservatory
Dr. Nathan Scott, Professor of Enginerring at The Johns Hopkins University
Nonoka Mizukami, Professor of Percussion at the Peabody Preparatory Department
Steve Crino, Daniel Kamon, Wang Liang “Leon“
The back and front faces of the cello are attached to the body of the instrument. Lacquer is applied to the entire instrument along with walnut oil. Leon and I had the opportunity to sign the inside of the instrument before the front face was attached, since we were the only group members left working on the cello at this point in the summer.
Finally all of the hardware is attached to the instrument. The bridge is fitted, the strings are strung through the tuning pegs, and the sound post in inserted into the body of the instrument.
Once each of the six rib pieces have been assembled using three sheets of veneer glued together, these six pieces must be shaped by clamping them to the cello molding.
After the ribs are shaped, they are connected together. You can see that we decided to use a dark veneer on the C-bouts to give this instrument a personalized look. The neck, carved by Leon, is attached to the body of the instrument, and the endpin hole is drilled and attached.
Copyright © Steven Crino. All rights reserved.