Large Frame Saw - Part 2


In this instalment I will be shaping the handles and long stretchers as well as carving the scrolls on the ends of the handle. To get started, I first laid out the shape of the handles on my prepared stock. To the right, is a picture of  one of the scrolls, ready for final sanding, as an example of what Im doing here. I first laid out all the transitions, and marked ninety degree lines all around the board. I then laid out the angled lines, which go from a straight six inch centre portion that angles down to the end of the mortise (from 3” thick at the centre to 1 15/16” at the edge of the mortise). The ends are 2 3/4” long from the mortise to the end and 1 15/16” wide. To cut the shape, the ends were cut, one rip and one crosscut saw will get you the finished end shape (below left). Next the angled cuts were cut with my large tenon saw, leaving the rough shape, which was cleaned up with a chisel and spokeshave. (below right).


Now it was time to lay out the scrolls. Having little experience carving scrolls, I had a bit of help from the book Violins and Other Stringed Instruments and How To Make Them (1906) by Paul N. Hasluck. It gave me basic directions for a violin, which I followed for some very basic guidance, but changed some things for my particular project. Here is how I laid out my scrolls.


Step 1 - Lay out the centre point for the scroll, square off a section the size of the outside of your scroll. Then draw two ninety degree lines and connect them around the head. Then draw another ninety degree line, to create a square around the spiral of the scroll. Then draw two forty five degree lines creating an X. 


Step 2 - Draw Your centre circle. Mine was 9/16”in diameter. Then draw the outer circle. Mine turned out to be 1 15/16” in diameter, which is the width of the end. 


Step 3 - There is a formula to figure this next part out, but I simply laid it out with a compass by eye, to what spiral pattern that I wanted. 


Step 4 - I laid out the spiral line, using a scraper to get the curves that I wanted. I marked the scraper with tape at ninety degree angles to keep the angles consistent (like here). 


Step 5 - I then cut the square corners off the outside of the scroll. Then using a chisel I pared down to the circular line, then cleaned of the ends with a rasp where needed. 

At this point, I cut out the mortise for the screw plate (below left), and for the blade holder (below right). To cut the mortise for the screw plate, I placed the plate in the desired location, and simply traced the outline with my marking knife. I then cut the mortise with a chisel. It goes quite quick, walking the chisel about 1/8th of and inch at a time and giving it a good hit with the mallet. I then cleaned it down the finished depth with a small router plane. The small cut out for the blade holder to sit flush was simply marked, then a series of saw cuts were done, and the waste chopped out with a chisel. It also needed a small amount of round over to allow the hardware to sit flush, due to the bend in the steel. This was done with a rasp.


Here is the arms, up to this point. Now back to the scrolls. 


Step 6 - Now it is time to lay out the scroll shape on the end grain. First re draw the lines that you removed shaping the edges, and add a centre line, this will make it easier to see symmetry of the scroll. Start to determine the shape of the scroll, and its dimensions. I first drew the smallest dimension first. Mine is 9/16”. 


Step 7 - Now determine the dimension for the base of the scroll. This is where it starts at the back by the mortise, mine starts to angle right after the mortise. Then draw lines, using a flexible item with a straight edge, such as a thin piece of sheet metal, connecting the base with the smallest point. 


Step 8 - When you look at a violin scroll, as it goes back to the centre point, it side profile raises again as goes to full thickness at the centre. I selected this point to be a bit less then the thickness of the stock, by about a sixteenth of an inch. I then connected this measurement with the low spot as before. At the junction at the low point, as I carve it will be more rounded, not a sharp angle as in the picture.


Step 9 - Saw time. Its now time to start to carefully cut lines that will remove the bulk of the waste. I start with the face, start connecting corners, going slow as you make sure you watch your depth, which is marked on the end grain. Connect and cut as much as you can, it saves you time later.


Step 10 - Continue sawing, now on the end grain with a fine rip saw, I used my dovetail saw. Following the line around, cutting to remove the sections we just cut in step 9. Go carefully, checking as to not go too deep. 


Step 11 - Start to clean up and do the rough carving. I used straight chisels, in and out channel gouges, and some small carving tools. 


Step 12 - As you continue, some small rifflers come in handy in some areas. Watch grain direction as you go, its easy to have unwanted chips while carving. Here are the rough carved scrolls. 


Now that the scrolls are cut and ready for sanding it was time to mark and cut the stopped chamfer in the arms. I marked the chamfer with a compass and square (left), using the compass as a marking gauge to mark the depth, and the square to give forty-five degree angles. Keep the pencil on the compass sharp, as it dulls it will change the measurement. The chamfer was then cut with a drawknife (below). You can do the entire cut with the drawknife, just follow the guide lines.


Next it was on to the arms. I wanted to do a few things to them, like chamfer the ends of the tenons, and round over the edges of the arms. I started rounding over the arms by marking the base line of the round over on all four sides with a compass just as above for the chamfer (left). I then cut a small chamfer on the edges with a block plane, then I rounded over the chamfer with a hollow plane. This creates a nice rounded corner that will be smooth to handle (below). 


To cut the chamfer on the end of the through tenon (right), I used my block plane with a chamfer guide attached. It makes easy work of this process. I just put a small chamfer on the edge, to soften the corner to prevent chipping and make it a bit nicer to handle.

Below is the saw, ready for finishing. Next time I will be sanding, and applying the finish and getting it ready to use. Till then.


© Shane Larson 2018