My first violin

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Project by RonPeters posted 1513 days ago 2731 views 4 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first violin.

I also made the amber varnish in a similar manner as Strad. circa 1700’s.

In time (100 years) it should be a nice dark tan.

The drawing is the layout for the instrument using only geometry, a compass and ruler.

I learned the craft from Juan Mijares in town.
He learned from The Violin School of America in Salt Lake
twenty+ years ago.

I’ve been learning bits and pieces for the last 15 years on my own. Juan helped me put the concepts together.

The wood top is 1/4 sawn spruce and was given to me by a local violin maker who has since died. I held on to it for 10 years before cutting it. It has very tight grain – almost like viewing the side of a ream of paper. Not sure if the detail will show in these pics, but there is some really nice flame in it.

The back, sides, & neck are 1/4 sawn maple. Ebony is commercially available, so no need to do anything but cut to fit and shape.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

41 comments so far

View TungOilTim's profile


83 posts in 1849 days

#1 posted 1513 days ago

WOW! That is really cool. Instrument making is another realm of woodworking in itself

-- Tim, Plant City FL

View wseand's profile


2125 posts in 1674 days

#2 posted 1513 days ago

Well it is incredible, thanks for the tidbits of history on the piece. Thanks for sharing.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View Wolffarmer's profile


393 posts in 1871 days

#3 posted 1513 days ago

That is nice.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 1646 days

#4 posted 1513 days ago

The words amazing, awesome and beautiful all pale in comparison to your creation.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View DAWG's profile


2850 posts in 1770 days

#5 posted 1513 days ago

Awesome project, you definitely know what your doing. Thanks for sharing.

-- Luke 23: 42-43

View a1Jim's profile


112015 posts in 2210 days

#6 posted 1513 days ago

Welcome to LJs Ron
This is a spectacular an wonderful violin I’m sure there will be more wonderful instruments to come.

-- Custom furniture

View patron's profile


13018 posts in 1974 days

#7 posted 1513 days ago

well done there , my friend .

looks like you are well on your way too !

welcome to LJ’s .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1585 posts in 1885 days

#8 posted 1513 days ago

Awesome job on your beautiful violin. Fantastic work. I love colorado springs one of my favorite places. Super workmanship.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Bearpie's profile


2586 posts in 1651 days

#9 posted 1513 days ago

This is absolutely gorgeous! Most violins I see are much darker in color so this must be a rarity. How does it sound?

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View BertFlores58's profile


1646 posts in 1555 days

#10 posted 1512 days ago

Excellent.. This is the real thing. Working on thin wood (1/4”) needs accuracy and ultimate skill. How I wish I could do this too. I have a violin restored. Thanks for posting.

-- Bert

View docholladay's profile


1286 posts in 1692 days

#11 posted 1512 days ago

Wow. That’s very nice. I like the fact that you used a historically acurate finishing technique. I imagine that most modern violins are probably stained in an attempt to mimic the patina of the really old, classic instuments. Better to let that patina come about naturally I think. Thanks for posting your project.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Maveric777's profile


2690 posts in 1709 days

#12 posted 1512 days ago

Truly stunning piece of work and art. Looks to me that you have learned very well. I agree with Docholladay on how cool it is you kept with historically accurate finish. Outstanding work Ron!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15689 posts in 2851 days

#13 posted 1512 days ago

Beautiful craftsmanship!!!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View RonPeters's profile


708 posts in 1513 days

#14 posted 1512 days ago

Thanks for the welcomes and kind words.

I’m told it sounds “focused” when I play it. Before I applied the varnish, it sounded ‘wild’ and very loud. It seems the varnish toned it down a bit. The top is 2mm thick. Sides 1mm. Back, from @2mm to 4.5mm in the center.

The ‘darker’ violins you see are ‘painted’ using dyes layered over a clear base. You guys probably know that if you stain the wood directly, color absorbs into the wood pores, but if you clear coat the surface and then apply color it raises depth of the wood? I hope I’m explaining correctly? There’s a whole industry built around transparency of the dyes. I suppose it’s like looking into a black paint job on a car?

The varnish Strad had available was oil based and very durable. In one of his letters he criticized the time it took to dry. He didn’t use shoe polish for color. Spirit varnish only came along in the 1800’s when mass production required a fast drying product. They couldn’t wait 3 months to have product sitting on a shelf when there’s money to be made.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2160 days

#15 posted 1512 days ago

That’s really cool and amazing. Fantastic craftsmanship, beautiful.


-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

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