Roman Clarkson

Fun with wood shavings

Thousands and thousands of little wood shavings. Every now and then I have to stop to look at the shavings. This stuff makes great wood tinder. It also makes for cool pictures. There is a magical thing that happens when an artist takes away something from raw material to create something new. Violin making is […]

Why is choosing a violin varnish so hard to get right?

The question “what varnish should I use” and “what is the best to finish a stringed instrument” is impossible to answer correctly. Every maker and amateur researcher seems to have an opinion on oil varnish versus spirit varnish and what the ingredients to use. Of all the things people agree and disagree upon when it […]

Preparing violin ribs

I finished preparing violin ribs by shaving maple wood down to 1.2 mm thick. Learning to thinning wood to a veneer thickness with hand tools was tough. I am finally feeling like I got the hang of it; I can still tell I have more room from growth. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about […]

Noble Strings is now on Etsy

It’s official. I now have an online shop at Etsy. As of now, you can contact me directly and procure locally with a private playing session or buy direct online. The description, costs are the same. I have free shipping on direct sales and on Etsy. If you want to try a violin before buying […]

Wilkanowski “cira 1947 #1456”

Fiddle Year: 1947 Materials: Back MapleTop: SpruceNeck: Maple Finish: Spirit Varnish Dimensions: Body length: 363 (13 7/8″)Bouts: 164, 112, 302Ribs: 29.5 all roundString length: 330Stop: 194 Notes: This is a follow up to the Dimpled Viola.  The sides on that instrument reminded me of reptile skin and that inspired me to try make something that […]

Pointy Objects – Fingers Beware

Finished sharpening my chisels and gouges. Prepping for some purfling channel work. One of the most used tool(s) on a violin makers workbench are chisels and gouges. Gouges more than chisels for me. And they all need to be razor sharp. Sharp like, whoops there goes the end of a finger. Hopefully not, but they […]

Skeleton Mold

The skeleton mold is a steady and true mold for me. I got the inspiration from Andrew Carruthers. After reading and researching his methods and my propensity to do things my way, I used this mold for several models. I love it. So much easier to clean up the inside of the ribs before popping […]

Varnishing – A hanging trio in the white

A few violins in the white are ready for varnishing. Things are getting serious. I love the look of future instruments just waiting to be played. Right now the scariest time for me in the violin making process is varnishing. It’s a mix of alchemy and experience. The first is elusive and there are more […]