Dare to Think!


Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

How can a new student tell if the violin purfling is inlaid or painted? I would like to suggest two simple ways of identifying the type of purfling.

  • Follow a single line of the grain (on top/bottom) to where it crosses the purfling. If that grain line continues across the light grain of the purfling, the purfling is painted. On real purfling, the grain is interrupted at the purfling and continues on the other side out to the edge. The white of the purfling has its own grain, following the purfling.
  • On painted purfling, the surface is pretty much even. On inlaid purfling, there is usually a tiny discontinuity along the edge of the inlaid purfling (maybe not all the way around, but especially in the corners). You can usually see the inlay line, if the light is at a low angle.


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