DAY 7 : Purfling and ff-holes

There are several things that make every luthier’s instrument identifiable – the shape of the violin, the purfling and the ff-holes are three of them.

The purfling is the beautiful-looking inlay running around the edges of the body. It’s primary function is to protect the plates, preventing the spread of moisture and helping to stop the wood from cracking. Our violin has traditional purfling made of three thin layers of wood, in this case pear, stained black, white poplar, and pear again.

Beatrice Philips bending the purfling on the hot iron
© GMIsserlis Photography

The ff-holes are the two openings cut into the front of the violin and they have three acoustical purposes: 1) to give the body the so-called Helmholz resonance 2) to allow more freedom to the part of the plate where the bridge is placed 3) the ff-hole wings act as resonators for higher frequencies.

Peter using a template to mark the ff-holes © GMIsserlis Photography