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This is my first entry in the start of my violin-making hobby. I first became interested in violin-making when I was studying music at the University of Texas almost 20 years ago. I even bought the (then) fairly recently published, The Art of Violin Making by Chris Johnson and Roy Courtnall along with a few others: Antonio Stradivari by W. Henry Hill; Violin Making as it was and is by Ed Heron-Allen; and Acoustical Systems of Violins by Isaak Vigdorchik. Being a broke college student at the time, the books sat in storage, collecting dust after I had read skimmed through them. Here I am now, still feeling the itch to learn the craft, but with the means to make it happen. By day, I'm a legal aid attorney (i.e. not the rich kind). I live in Lubbock, Texas with a wife and a toddler. . . and a mortgage. My days of serious violin-playing are long behind me but I do take out the 'ole fiddle every now and then. Before COVID, I even played with a community orchestra in town that put on two concerts per year. My instrument was made in Austin, TX by William Townsend in 2002. My parents bought it for me as a college graduation present. Eventually, my goal is to play on one that I've made with my own hands. Beyond the basic woodworking instruction I received in my high school shop class, I'm starting from scratch with no in-person guidance. I understand it will be a long and slow journey before I can make anything that looks and sounds decent but it's all about the journey for me. I'm starting this post in part to motivate myself to keep it up. Right now, I'm still setting up my workspace and collecting basic supplies. I plan to dedicate a part of my garage to this endeavor. Next to that space there's a small recess where I plan to put in a small workbench with a vice or two. I don't have much else yet. In the pictures you can see a scrap piece of granite that I picked up at a local store which will serve as my surface plate. I don't think it's perfectly flat, but I think it's good enough. Apart from that, Santa brought me a few tools for Christmas. A few more items and soon I'll be ready to rock. I think 2022 will be the year. Check back later for updates!
Tools For Working Wood is a rather nice and trusty source for Woodworking Tools and materials. On one of their blogs, they have been putting out PDFs of a wonderful old magazine full of ways that things have been made. Issue 110 of Work Magazine has an article with a listing and illustrations of tools the author, J.W. Briggs, considered appropriate for making violins. The instructions are perhaps a touch sparse but all in all it is a delightful article. Issue 114 of Work Magazine continues the article as does Issue 118. Issue 118 details his varnish recipe so it is of special interest.