Ashley's fiddle, "The Ashley", is finally done. It has 9 coats of varnish. Although I tried to colour balance the photos, the instrument is quite a glossy black, and difficult to photograph. The character of the wood is not obvious. For the neck, I mixed a bit of black dye into the linseed oil for the French Polish. It still feels normal, and though it is not black, it is at least a shade in that direction.
Yesterday I glued on the fingerboard and painted the pegbox and "F" hole sides. Today I inserted the soundpost, polished the entire instrument, and installed the tailpiece and strings. I retuned several times in the first hour or so. The sound is close to what it was "in the white". The G is strong and full, the E is less robust. Overall, I would say that the tone is fairly consistent, with more body at the lower end. I am satisfied with the instrument. I hope Ashley is as well.