About a tail

In one of the earliest blog posts I mentioned two rebecs being built. When the time came to work on the tail piece I figured it would be smart to make two at the same time. I’ll do this for all the bits and pieces from now on.

Here’s one of them, in the process of being planed to thickness. I really like working on small pieces this way: big plane upside down, and moving the piece over it. It’s not super safe, however, because the thumbs come eerily close to the blade, but so far I’ve managed to avoid injury.

Shaping of the tail pieces is done with knive and the plane method mentioned above, until the shape is there. Next, sanding time!

Starting to look like something! For some reason, I feel my initials should be marked somewhere on the instruments, and what better place to add some visual interest than an otherwise plain slab of wood.

I came up with the design years ago, and have used it in my ex libris for ages. It is inspired by how initials were styled in the seventeenth century — not entirely the appropriate period but hey, my instrument, my initials.

The holes for the strings are also drilled and filed to eliminate sharp edges. Two at the back for the string connecting to the end pin, three at the front for the three actual strings.

After sanding and a brush with steel wool, I applied some linseed oil. The steel wool gets rid of all the particles from the sanding and opens up the pores in the wood. The oil enhances the resulting contrast and gives the wood a beautiful, deep, almost 3d-like sheen, which is hard to capture on camera. But I tried nonetheless.