I play on a viola which I made in 1995; my third instrument and first viola.    (See the photo below). Since I have never had the opportunity to study with a master luthier, most of my instrument-making knowledge is self-inflicted.  

In the course of learning to make instruments, I have bought and finished a number of "white" instruments. These I have sold as student instruments.  I also do a fair amount of repair work on student instruments.  



Ultraviolet light is critical to curing varnish, so I have several "grow lights" (UV fluorescent tubes designed for indoor plants) in my shop. On warm, sunny days, I sometimes take advantage of natural sunlight as well.

Outdoor lighting is also convenient for photographing instruments if you don't have an elaborate studio lighting set-up.


A small viola curing on the front porch



In addition to curing varnish, sunlight also "tans" white instruments, giving them a rich light brown ground color which would otherwise have to come from a stain. Since the curved surfaces of a violin result in a lot of end grain runout, stain can easily become blotchy. Natural sunlight and UV lamps take longer, but result in a more uniform color.


A pair of cellos taking the sun


vimak4a.jpg (33642 bytes) Here is a violin in-process. The component parts  are shown (left to right):

Back - carved from maple
Ribs (still on the mold) - also maple
Top - carved from spruce
Neck & Scroll - carved from maple

For more information on how a violin is made, try the   Violinmakers School STRADIVARI Cremona



Additional Violin Making Pages:

The Luthier's Resource Page -- Where to find supplies, books, and tools
The Luthier's Links Page -- Luthiers on the web


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