The violin outline is inherently beautiful in the nature of its shape, a unique combination of disciplined symetry and implied voluptuous freedom in its curves. Making the completed outline even more enhancing are three strips of wood, glued together and set in as a decorative detail encircling the outline just inside the edge: the purfling.
The purfling before it is set in. The white center is generally made of holly wood. The black dyed outer strips made of an easily bent fiber. The three strips are glued together before they are set into the purfling channel.
I have traced out the position of the purfling channel which will be cut in between the two scribed lines about two millimeters deep.
If you look carefully, you will see that I have cut - with a dremel tool - the beginning of a small channel into which I will then set the purfling.
An instrument with the purfling just set in. A strip of left-over purfling lies on top of the viola in the right-hand photo.
A cello with the purfling channel finished and the edges rounded. The purfling provides a decorative detail and a practical purpose in that it helps keep any cracks that form around the edges from spreading further into the back or top.