This is my workshop diary. 
Here you can follow the making of my second cello.

It's nerdy and full of details.

This is part 2. If you want to read part 1 click HERE

To read from the beginning scrol down.

You can also follow on Facebook: Ida Johanne Kühn Riegels
Or on Instagram: Ida Riegels 


30. April - I'm wondering

I'm wondering how to cut the one piece back i bought.
My intuition tells me version A because you get longer parts of the dense year rings.
I think I'll ask an expert. Willy Nielsen helped me with the first cello, he probably knows.






27. April - Scroll 

On adventure with the scroll and the Ryoba saw. 
Moving the workshop to Copenhagen for some time.

Here are some videos from the last few days:

Sawing video

Gouging video












25. April - Scroll

Checking if it is symmetrical.
Here is a short video from today. Carving the scroll 1

















24. April - I'm quite sure it has no influence on the sound

Lots of fun making the scroll. Relaxing to cut something that is not crucial  to the sound.

















Almost finished the inside of the pegbox.













23. April - Scroll finally!

- Silly humans "what is that now?!"
"It's a cello scroll, little cat. Don't you think it's nice to be petted with that?"
















Drawing center line and guide lines from a template that I adjusted. - Sawing and drilling.

















After af few hours. Making the inside of the peg box is hard work.

















22. April - Dremel table stand

Today I bought a table stand for my Dremel so that I was able to drill guiding wholes for the pegs. Tomorrow I wil prbably start carving the scroll.












1. April - practicing till it burns

Practicing purfling skills.

It is not easy at all even with a router.
Everytime there is a dark yearring the router wants to jump in stead of making a nice straight groove.










... and then it burns.

Also the router bits I could get at the local harware store are too thin.

But what I learned from practicing is:
- Have a flat table to work on
- Use a medium to high speed on the Dremel
- The most challenging places are where you work almos parrallel to the yearrings
- Go slow even when it starts burning
- Press the edge of the wood very firmly to the Dremel
- Be careful when you start and stop. 

- What sould I actually move. The wood or the Dremel?


27. March - What did I do wrong?

It worked. The join opened completely after a night with two wet cloths.

What did I do wrong?

I think the glue was too thin. I made it thinner because I had just had problems with too thick glue that made a gel while gluing the ribs.

I have been studying The steps of cutting the scroll today. Again waching Davide Sora: Scroll from start to finish












26. March - I did it...

The joining of my back has opened.

I got expert advice from Chris Beamant in Cambridge, and it worked, but then it opened again...

The 'spring' I made in the joining, must have been to little. I have no experience with this yet.

To be honest I never really liked this wood. It is very heavy and feels stiff.

In the spring when I bought it, I was actually in love with another piece from the same seller, but found it too... big, good and expensive for me.

A one piece back from Bosnia.

Last week I looked and it was still there for sale.









For a week I have been considering if I should invest. I have had no income for months now, but look at it... It's like a big block of maple. The package will weigh 18 kg!

It would need no joining, I'll just have to cut it out and arch it.


Well, I ordered it. It will be two weeks of work over again, but I think it will be great.





Look at the figures. I will have to do my very best with such fine tone woods. It almost makes me nervous to see how beautiful it is.












24. March - Busted

I had some left overs from the front and made some blocks with cello like curves and the same thickness as the front.












Then I tried to make a 2mm deep groove 5 mm from the edge.
- And yes I'm busted . I'm not doing it by hand, I'm using my Dremel and a special device.

Unfortunately the router bit broke after 2 min. I have no idea why. I'll have to buy a new one.








22. March - A peculiar taste

I have a very peculiar taste when it comes to cello corners. I want them wide and, in the end, rounded. I think it looks nice and you don't want any pointy corners in your legs while playing.

I worked on corners and edge out at the balcony today.




























21. March - Edges

That is how it looks when you pack a workshop and half a cello on your bike.

Went to my parents house where the sides are waiting.
















The edges have to be very smooth to be ready to make the purfling groove. 

















19. Mach - Symmetry

The lines are so helpful to reveal asymmetry.

Worked a bit on that today, and spent quite a lot of time out in the sunny spring weather and practicing.











18. March - Will this sing?

Arching, arching, arching. It's not something to do when you are tired. It requires your full attention. I feel that it is SO important for the tone.

All the time I try and feel the curves and ask "will this sing?"
An area can feel wrong even though I can't tell why. Then I imagine sitting with the finished cello, ready to play, ready to hear that beautiful sound - and suddenly I can feel the right shape of the arching, where to remove some wood.





The grain direction is shifting a lot in this piece of spruce, and at some point I tried to work with a rasp instead. It's so easy, I whish I had a curved ironing rasp.
















Workshop selfie in twilight.

I found some very useful videos on Youtube today and learned something about italian arching.

Edgar Russ: The secret of the perfect italian arching

This one is also really good!

Davide Sora: Violin top plate arching from start to finish












17. March - Productive day in the workshop

Made a new tool to measure the arcings.













Trimmed the corners with my chilhood knife. I think we bought it on a flee market when I was 8 or 9. I have made many things with it. Memories from playing outside with my sisters, cutting nice straight hazel branches to make bows and arrows, finding delicious mushrooms and picking them with this knife. Long summer evenings around a fire in the garden. Cutting something while the flames turned into embers. Sleeping in the open air on the balcony, waking up with the sun. Good times!

Cutting the corners today seemd like a big step in the cello making. This time I get to make them just the way I like them.








This was a problem I discovered some time ago. Fortunately I got advice from my teacher in Cambridge, Chris Beament.

Thin glue and a wet cloth sitting for a day.
















I'm really hoping for the best. I have kept an eye on it all day.

















12. March - Secret signs

This is my secret sign for 'don't touch'.
Getting the arching closer to final height.
I shape one side and then I mirror that on the other half. 
All the time asking "is this a curve that will make a good tone - a strong sound?"









11. March - Arching the front

Eating some bread in the workshop after arching.

This is not the colors that was actually in the room. In google's editing program I added as much wormth and light as you can, and now the photo looks the way it felt:
So 'hyggeligt' the best room in the apartment!












10. March - Back in the workshop!

Working on the arching of the front.

I often tell myself that today I will stop before I get blisters. Today I couldn't. 

Had my thum on ice all evening.

Tonight Annual Accounts... 







Spring is coming. We don't even have to do anything to earn it.

















4. March - Do you have plans Sunday at midnight?

I love Bach's music.
Today I played a dress rehearsal in Hørsholm Church.

If you don't have any plans the night after this Sunday, you can get tickets for a midnight concert with candle light and sweet baroque music, streamed directly to your living room.

Santa Cruz Baroque Festival: Tickets

(You can also view later during the week with the ticket)











I'll play with my best baroque bow, that just got a new fancy mahogany tip.

















3. March - An old accident

This is not really apropriate for a concert. My favorite baroque bow lost it's tip at the concert tour along the Rhine in 2018. Today I decided to repair it.

















I had some mahogony left over, that has a similar color.

















Made each surface flat and cut an oversized tip.













Glued on and drying over night!

Took an hour or so in total. 















2. March - Cello making on pause, but believe it or not...

... I played a concert today!
Makes me really glad.

4 invited people, 3 pieces of choclate each, listening to 2 different instruments for a 1 hour baroque music.
We were in an old hall in the center of Copenhagen that is right now filled with office materials.

This was my first concert in months, and to be honest I was quite nervous. The program is so demanding and only has a few spots left to relax. So it is almost like one hour intense meditation. Like balancing your mental focus on a knife edge making every single note sing, and at the same time listening to what the Muse is telling you - what is the music is all about today.

1. March - Workshop closed for a week

First day of spring. 
















Practicing all day. So wonderful!

The workshop will probably be closed until March 8th because I'm preparing a concert and a recording next week.
















28. February - bridge soles

The bridge didn't fit perfectly, so I once again took of the strings and trimmed the soles of the feet with a knife using chalk to find the high spots.

It sounded much better.

Unfortunately I still feel like I'm having influenza, and even thoug I usually never cancel, I had to prostpone the outdoor concert tonight and go have another covid test.







27. Februar - New bridge

More practicing today.
I'm making videos of all the music to try and get used to looking into the camera. 
It is so different from being in the room with the audience. 

Some of the music I'll play for the concert tomorrow is first time pieces for an audience. It is always challenging first time. I'll go for better safe than sorry with these pieces, and then relax and enjoy the rest.

I had to make a new bridge today, because the one I had kept shrinking. - Very strange and not the best timing. It takes a few days to play in a bridge.


26. February

Just practicing and going for the daily walk today.













25. February - cello-dress

Today I practiced, did office work and adjusted a dress for the concert. - No woodworking unfortunately.

I bought a long dress online in the spring and it didn't fit.









But after some cutting and remoddeling at the sowing machine, I think it works. And it is even cello friendly with lots of width for sitting and playing.














24. February - Contour lines

This is a... What is this actually? I don't even know what it's called in Danish.
I made it some years ago and now I upgrated it. You can draw with it and adjust it to have a different heights.










Here you can see the contour lines. 3,5 cm in the middle and 1,0 cm nearest to the edge.

The idea is to check how even and symmetrical it is. Not bad for a first round, I think.














Today I mostly prepared for the concert Sunday - practiced all day.
It will be in an arcade near by and I'll spoil the 5 people in the audience (that's how many you are allowed these days) with the best chocolate in town. I also made a hand written program and found a red candle.








The weather was so pleasant today that even the flowers came out.

Spring is coming again.
Is life just like one long dream?











23. February Arching the front part ....

This is what the front looked like this afternoon.

38 mm thick in the middle
















Found out that one guy actually makes violins that look like that. I wonder how they sound.

















This is the front an hour later after using a small plane.

Middle is now 33 mm.
















This is the secret concert venue for this weekend. I'll invite 4 people for a warm up concert before the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival concert March 7th.
The acoustics are amazing here, and it is only closed shops and offices, so we won't disturb anybody.

My coronatest was negative btw.













22. February

I woke up at 5 in the morning with a sore throat. Felt tired and flu like. But found out that when I practiced or gouged, I didn't really feel it.
I finally got the edges down to 7 mm as planned.










Made the arching along the middle line roughly.
It was 4 cm high in the middle, and it is so tempting to make a very full arching of 4 cm, but in all the books they say 2,7 cm. So I took it down.
Aparently the tone projects better when the arching is flatter.

I was sweatting more than usually while doing this, and at some point I decided to go and take a corona test.













I washed my hands and face and sanitized like crazy before going out in public wearing mask and gloves.

It takes 2 min to get tested. I hope to get the result soon.

The foggy sky today is caused by red dust from Sahara coming all the way up here. 









Arching after sunset.













Look at this! Imagine if you could keep this lovely structure at the finished instrument.

















21. February - Special fingerboard and soundpost

5-String fingerboard is on it's way from Indonesia.
Even though it will be a regular 4 string cello, it will have a wider fingerboard than standard cellos. I think it is better to have a bit more space for your left hand while playing.










And now this is also on it's way from Germany.
It is a brilliant invention that I personally have very good experiences with.

The soundpost has to fit the curves of both front and back inside the instrument. It also has to have just the right lengh so that it will sit with the right tension at the right spot behind the bridge. 

Long story short, there are A LOT of parameters that has to fit, and it influences the tone quality dramatically.

This Hamberer adjustable soundpost takes care of all of it. You can adjust the lengh, and the ball joint in each end makes it fit to any curves.

I'm not advertising here, but I do recomend this thing, even though it is not as aesthetic as a real spruce sound post.

20. February - Getting ready for Santa Cruz Broque Festival

Today I had a zoom interview with the board members from Santa Cruz Baroque Festival. I tried to make a cozy ambience with candle lights.
It is such a honor to be invited to play a solo concert at their festival. The plan was to make a live concert over there, but now we will do it as a live stream concert.

I will do my very best to connect to the audience even though we are not in the same room. Thinking about it - the advantage of a live stream concert is, that you can look every single person in the audience in the eyes at the same time. (:

You can get live stream tickets here:

Live stream ticket

It is valid for a week after the concert.








The bridge on my cello had suddenly shrunken for some reason and I had to make it taller to be able to play.

This is my 'hack'. - New soles under the bridge feet. Glued in and fixed with rubber bands while drying.
















I find this process a bit boring and strenuous. The feet have to fit exactly to the curve of the front.
It is not the way I see violin makers do it. I should probably get the right knife if I didn't want to use sandpaper.











My nephew and I glued in the fingerboard on his DIY concert Ukulele.
We also caught quite a few wild animals on the attic with a lasso made of rubber bands.












19. February - It's about time

My nephew is 4 years old so it is high time that he builds his first instrument.















A real concert ukulele!

Today we glued the neck on.
















18. February

Funeral day.

















17. February - Just one hour in the workshop today

What can I say. Refining the edges with a rasp and a scraper.

















16. February - 'Hygge-høvle'

Fresh morning air in the workshop.

















This edge takes forever. In Cambridge, some years ago, a teacher did it on a machine. It took 5 min...!

















I don't think I would have finished the edge if it wasn't because I wrote it on yesterdays post.

My invisible teacher behind my ear was after me today. I had taken away a lot of wood with the gouge, and then started to even out the surface with a little plane. Just because it looked so unfinished.
Then I was asked:
"Do you have unlimited time?"
"Du hygge-høvler jo lige nu. = You are 'hygge-planing' right now"
"That surface you are smoothing out will be removed later. It's a waste of time."

It was true. So here is the front frayed and splintered. I'll save the 'hygge planing' for later.











15. February - Sprucy day

Spruce is a delight to gouge.

It sounds almost jucy when you cut it.

I developed a strategy for the arching. It is nerve wracking to cut in this very fine wood that took 3 days to join in the middle. I'm constantly concerned to cut away too much. But now I found out that I just make the long arching in the middle close to what I want in the end, and then the edges down to a little above final heigt. Everything in between becomes easy then.

The arching of the front is kind flat on the middle, while the back arching is even all the way. 



I found a resin pocket. Don't know if that's a problem, but I think it looks very nice. It's full of gooey, fragrant resin.












This is a start. Tomorrow I will make the edge.

Right now the middle is around 40 mm thick. That is too much I think.
















Evening walk on the lakes. A snow storm is coming...!











14. February - The golden plane

Everyone in Copenhagen has been waiting for this day!

Finally we could all legally go ice-scating on the lakes.

I could have fixed so many other things today, but as soon as you get on the ice, it is impossibe to stop. - Also because in a few days the temperature will rise.













The corona numbers are fortunately very low at the moment...
















It was so strange...
Somehow the little golden plane, that my nephew has been waiting for, (coming all the way from China) was hidden in the stone wall by the lake. :)











He couldn't wait to get home and use it for cello making.

















We did a lot of hard work!

















- and went to the roof top to walk in snow without shoes. I don't hope his parents are reading this blog...












13. February - The sound of spruce

The first shaving of the spruce front. The sound is so wonderful. I wish I could upload videos on this blog.









10. - 12. February

It is not easy to see people these days with all the restrictions, but I needed to talk to friends and family, so we took some long walks in the winter weather.
Shared thoughts about life, the human mind, darkness and light. Understood new things I didn't know the exsistence of. 
How grateful I am to know such wise people. 








9. February - The front

Cutting out the front in spruce.

















I checked if the front was flat. It was ok, but not perfect. I think it was good enough though because I can adjust the last 1 mm later.

















So far so good.












It starts to look like a cello.













8. February - What does a cat see in a cello?

I'm kind of flattered every time the cat sniffs around the cello.
I don't really get it. What's intersting about a cello for a cat? 













This is basically what I did today. I used the rasp to get the edge area even all the way round. 6 mm everywhere except at the C-bouts and corners. There it is 7 mm.
















This is just a nice photo I think.
















I also started cutting out the front while the wind was howling outside. Also some snow today.
A few days ago we lost a dear friend to a terrible illness. She was such a warm and beautiful person full of laughter and visions. A brilliant musician, full of  fantasy, sensitive, powerfull and skilled. A fiery soul and a friend since childhood. To be honest everything just feels incomprehensible and wrong these days. 













7. February

Time is precious.













The edges should be 5,5 mm thick.

















5. February - Edges

I realized that my new cello is bigger than the first one. I will have to make the corners shorter if it should fit in the case...

















Restored an old chisel -













- and worked on getting the edges ready for purfling.
They should be 5 - 7 mm thick.

















4. February - More arching 

Early morning in the evergreen forest.

Went out to have a look at the habitat for spruce.
There is a special calm ambience. Quiet. Probably because the ground is often covered in thick moss.
Many different birds were singing. What beauty.









I checked the archings in the bright sunlight...

















... And corrected it with gouges and my mini brass plane.
I like it a lot, but my thum is not so crazy about it.
Unfortunately it cracks my finger just where I hold the bow...


While working on this I was listening to a radio program by my sister's boyfriend, Emil Rothstein-Christensen. It is called 'Satans Syndsforladelse', and it is a stroke of genius.
You can listen to it here.











Finding asymmetry, humps and lumps by feeling.

















The daily inspection by my assistant. She is usually very reserved, but cello making has her interest.

















3. February - Like a sculpture - Arching part 3 

This is the back after rough arching with gouge and small planes. I'm checking the shape under the light.

















I got new blisters and cracks from the small planes. It is so hard to stop.

This is such a lovely step of the cello making. You are shaping freely, as if it was a sculpture.
















My dad is good with a gouge and helped me when my arms neede a break.













It was a day of one of my favorite things: "Workshop-hygge".
My mom made this beautiful ceramic sculpture in the next room.

I'm very inspired by her immersion in shapes. The expression in a curve. A sense for minute details. The sculptures kind of take on their own life while she is making them.








This is my sculpture for today.
Tomorrow I will refine the surface.