Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Getting the most out of a pencil...

As to the violin, the scroll is finished and the neck is in. Almost done. It is taking on its own identity. Next, it'll be strung up in the white and given to a violinist for playing and feedback. Then to summon all my nerve to take on the harrowing task of varnishing.

Repair work from schools is piling up as holidays are over in a couple of weeks.

A trip to Hobart has renewed the desire to do more playing and more work in our island's capital. The home of the TSO and a bigger population certainly provides a lot more musical and professional opportunities than the smaller town in which we live.

Next week it's off to tutor Double Bass at the Launceston Youth Orchestra Strings camp.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Violin No. 10

Now it's looking like a real violin. After the cello, progress on the smaller instruments seems to happen so fast.
With this one the lower bout ribs are in one piece, so it has no join at the lower block. No join should mean no coming apart.

This morning has been spent wrestling with reticent suppliers and recovering from the shock of their post-global-financial-crisis price rises. Now to the task of cleaning up and rubbish removal. The piles of wood shavings are ankle deep around the workbench. Aaaah, a luthier's life ...

Progress is being made on the website with the help of a local photographer, Ben Southam, who has provided some fantastic shots of the workshop and instruments. The site will be updated and launched soon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January - Work In Progress - Cello and Violin

Great progress has been made working on the commissions through Christmas and New Year. Weather in Tasmania has been unpredictable at best. It certainly hasn't felt like summer yet. This has provided me with good conditions for getting some work done.

Currently working on a cello and its really getting somewhere. This one is my own interpretation of a Mantagnana cello. It has a slightly diminished width yet attempting to retain the essence of the Master's model. I am aiming for a player-friendly version yet retaining the robust, earthy tones associated with Montagnana.

This commissioned violin uses my preferred Guarneri model, the 1742 'Alard'. I am currently tuning the plates and its not there yet but coming along nicely.

Now cello no.5, in the form of tonewood from Germany, is sitting in Customs and I need to fill in forms and negotiate for its early release, not to mention paying them a small fortune for the privilege. One of my least favourite jobs.