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Construction of a new Viola d'amore

The construction of a new viola d'amore is being commissioned to luthier Devin Hough in Davis, California. The new instrument is inspired by one in the Musical Instrument Museum in Basel by Benedict Wagner from 1763. Various stages in the construction are being shown below. All images courtesy Devin Hough.

Maple wood of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

For the wood of the back two options were considered. A two-piece flamed european Maple, and a single piece european bird-eye maple. The latter was chosen and will also furnish the material for the sides.

Rough cut of the head of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

The head and pegbox roughened out, made from european maple.

Carved head of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

The finalized head of a satyr with pointy ears, horns, following quite closely the Benedict Wagner instrument.

Body of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

The body of the instrument. The top made of european spruce (without soundholes or rosette), the mold with sides attached, and the shaped back from the european bird-eye maple shown above.

Side view of the body of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

Side view of the instrument. The back is still protruding over the sides as a temporary construction assistance. It will eventually be made flush with the sides.

Top of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

The fully carved top with rosette and flaming sword sound holes. Left external view. Right: internal viewwith bass bar.

Rosette of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

Detail of the rosette showing oak leave and acorns of the cork oak (Quercus suber). This particular species was chosen, as the satyr (see head on peg pox above) is a creature of the woods, and likes drinking wine.

Pegbox of a viola d'amore by Devin Hough

The fully carved pegbox, including the oak leaf and acorn relief on the back. The ebony finger board is attached and the passage of for the sympathetic strings under it is visible.

The instrument was delivered on May 23rd 2009. Additional images of the finished instrument.

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