Recent Posts

  • Quilted maple violin part 4

    In the previous post, I mentioned work on this violin had been held up by the national lockdown, due to COVID-19 cases rising significantly. That first one ran from March, until August, and then we were back to work. Since… Read More ›

  • Mittenwald violin neck repair

    This nice old Mittenwald violin came to the workshop following a catastrophic neck joint failure. Being left inside a car on a hot day proved too much for the historic, and poorly done neck repairs. Eventually the neck block became… Read More ›

  • Quilted maple violin part 3

    There has been a bit of an enforced break from working on the violin, namely due to Covid-19, and the subsequent lockdown here. The good news is that I haven’t forgotten what to do after all of this time, and… Read More ›

  • Scroll restoration.

    Scrolls can have a tough time, they are under constant tension and have four pegs wedged into them. Well fitted pegs work, but once they become worn and distorted, they don’t hold well, if at all. The tendency is to… Read More ›

  • And we’re back…

    It has taken a long time to get to this point, but finally will return to the bench from 3rd August. I’m pleased that my clients haven’t forgotten me, and have already taken some bookings for restoration work. Things are… Read More ›

  • Coronavirus Covid-19

    As for everyone else, the last six months of my life have changed out of all recognition. In December 2019, there were the first news stories of a new virus, originating in bats, emerging from Wuhan in China, their subsequent… Read More ›

  • My oldest tool

    Since I began my career,  I’ve always been interested in old tools, and dealt in them for many years. Part of this was to find tools for myself, the other part was borne from an interest in the designs, materials… Read More ›

  • Quilted maple violin part 2

    In my last post, I mentioned all the faffing around in a different order to get everything ready. Now with that part done, I can get on and start construction. With the back and belly already roughly sawn out, I… Read More ›

  • Quilted maple violin

    Some years ago, I was lucky enough to get four pieces of quilted maple from Bosnia. While they had a similar type of figure, each piece was also different to the others, and unique in its own way. I gave… Read More ›

  • 40cm viola part 5

    Previously, all the woodwork was finished, and it was time to get prepared for varnishing. As with anything, there is a considerable amount of preparation required for a successful outcome. After finishing an instrument, one of the first things I… Read More ›

  • 40cm viola part 4

    Previously, the body had been assembled, scroll carved and fingerboard made. Now it’s time to unite everything, and get the viola ready for varnishing. I’ve covered neck setting and shaping in detail in some past posts. It is proably the… Read More ›

  • Guarneri model violin part 3

    At the end of the last post, I’d got as far as grounding the violin. Not because it had been naughty, but rather to enhance the grain, give it some depth optically, and provide a sealing layer to prevent the… Read More ›

  • Guarneri model violin part 2

    In my last post about the Wilton, all the principal parts of the instrument had been made, and the body was assembled. Once the neck joint has been cut, the neck can be set and glued, then the fingerboard temporarily… Read More ›

  • 40cm viola part 3

    With the bulk of the rough work done, it’s time to move onto some of the more detailed and delicate jobs, such as cutting the soundholes, fitting a bassbar and carving the scroll. I place several location marks onto the… Read More ›

  • Viola cleaning

    Recently a client came to the workshop expecting to get some work done on the spot. I had to apologize, and tell him I couldn’t fit in any more work that day, as I already had something booked in. He… Read More ›

  • Guarneri model violin part 1

    This violin is inspired by the ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri del Gesu, one of the most famous Guiseppe Guarneri violins, and considered by many to be the greatest concert violin of all. The Lord Wilton was named after its 19th C…. Read More ›

  • Violin rib cracks

    It’s most common for the belly to crack, but of course cracks can potentially happen anywhere on an instrument when it suffers an accident. The ribs, being quite thin, are especially vulnerable, as we can see on this very fine… Read More ›

  • Violin belly cracks

    One of the most frequently encountered jobs which require an instrument to be taken apart, involve belly cracks. This wonderful Italian violin, made in Mantua around 1800 has suffered some extensive damage to the belly. As I’ve discussed on previous… Read More ›

  • 100 years ago today

    Today, 100 years ago, the most wasteful conflict the world has seen ended. Millions of lives on all sides were wasted. The lives of those who survived changed forever, families shattered, a generation of men missing. Countries repaying debts incurred… Read More ›