Sign in to follow this  
murrmac

How many hours go into the making of a violin ?

Recommended Posts

I am aware that the period between commencement of first saw cut and putting the finished artefact in the customer's hands could be many months, but I would imagine that the larger part of that time is spent waiting for the finish to mature.

 

In terms of actual hands-on woodworking, how many hours should a competent qualified craftsman take to construct a violin start to finish, making all components from scratch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I timed myself doing this twice. Every 15 minutes or 2 hours of work on the violins was written down but I only recorded actual hands on time, glue and varnish drying was not included. Both times I spent 80 hours building a violin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would imagine that the total time varies directly according to the amount of power tool usage.

 

I have watched many videos of various aspects of violin making over the last couple of months, and have often wondered  "Why doesn't he make a router jig to do that ?" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need not less than 250 hours for a violin, without counting the construction of the form and the design and creation of the various templates.

No power tools other than the band saw and a few holes with the electric drill.

But you need to take much more time in side matters to make a "good" violin, not only "a" violin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am aware that the period between commencement of first saw cut and putting the finished artefact in the customer's hands could be many months, but I would imagine that the larger part of that time is spent waiting for the finish to mature.

 

In terms of actual hands-on woodworking, how many hours should a competent qualified craftsman take to construct a violin start to finish, making all components from scratch?

With no disturbances from others, no other job commitments, power tools, ample space and lighting you could construct eight violins from June of one year to June the following year by yourself.  After that, from June to mid September will be varnish from start to cure- or good enough for set-up.  Mid September thru October for getting them ready to play.  So that would be 16 months. 

 

OTOH, Mr. Swan's people may be able to make two violins per week.  I can't remember what he had mentioned before but they are quick.

 

Then you take a look at Mr. Sora's work or Catnip's recent scroll work and you may think "who cares about the amount of hours".  I want those results.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But you need to take much more time in side matters to make a "good" violin, not only "a" violin.

 

You can't fool me, I think I saw you carve a violin back right before my very eyes on youtube in something like 13 minutes. I thought I'd watch while eating my lunch, and by the time I'd finished my sandwich, you were about done.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a long discussion on this several months ago and while time varies I'd be interested in talking about where and why people think more time would make a "better" instrument. What would you do with the extra time?

Scroll work first, then plate edge refinement second.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't fool me, I think I saw you carve a violin back right before my very eyes on youtube in something like 13 minutes. I thought I'd watch while eating my lunch, and by the time I'd finished my sandwich, you were about done.  :)

 

:) ......you know, the movie is fiction.......many wise cuts. ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually underestimate the TOTAL hours because I forget about the time to make jigs and fixtures, repair machines and tools, etc. In any case, my hours at the bench are very erratic and I could never estimate the true time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once made a violin, in the white, with three other people in 24 hours. I suppose that is 96 hours of work for one person.

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I timed myself with an app a few years ago making a cello and my time, from selecting blocks to ready to hand to a player, was 225 hours over 10 weeks. I wasn't consciously trying to race, just curious how long it took me. That was a model I was familiar worth and had made several times already, so I didn't have to make templates or design choices.

M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once made a violin, in the white, with three other people in 24 hours. I suppose that is 96 hours of work for one person.

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I timed myself with an app a few years ago making a cello and my time, from selecting blocks to ready to hand to a player, was 225 hours over 10 weeks. I wasn't consciously trying to race, just curious how long it took me. That was a model I was familiar worth and had made several times already, so I didn't have to make templates or design choices.

M

 

It will probably take me 200 hours just to carve a cello back.  That's why I haven't even made a cello mold yet. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a cost perspective, I think the real way to estimate the time it takes to make an instrument is logging your time from when you walk through the shop door to when you walk out.  If you are able to work on other instruments during down times such as waiting for glue or varnish to dry, then you are being more efficient with your time, and your average build time will decrease.  Another way to ask the question, is how long does it take to build a single violin?  How long does it take to build a violin (averaged) when building multiple violins?

 

-Jim 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a cost perspective, I think the real way to estimate the time it takes to make an instrument is logging your time from when you walk through the shop door to when you walk out.  If you are able to work on other instruments during down times such as waiting for glue or varnish to dry, then you are being more efficient with your time, and your average build time will decrease.  Another way to ask the question, is how long does it take to build a single violin?  How long does it take to build a violin (averaged) when building multiple violins?

 

-Jim

You have to factor in Mastronet time:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many hours go into the making of a violin ?

Depending on who you ask, usually either too many or not enough.  ;)

 

 

In terms of actual hands-on woodworking, how many hours should a competent qualified craftsman take to construct a violin start to finish, making all components from scratch?

I'm curious, how many of y'all have ever "ma[de] all components from scratch" rather than buying fittings?  I'd guess that would roughly double the time spent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on who you ask, usually either too many or not enough. ;)

I'm curious, how many of y'all have ever "ma[de] all components from scratch" rather than buying fittings? I'd guess that would roughly double the time spent.

My time would be wasted making fittings. There are other people who are much more talented and efficient than I could be, and I'm happy to pay them for the time they invest in their craft. I suppose it would be different if I simply couldn't get excellent fittings for any price, but we haven't got there yet.

I also don't make my own strings. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on who you ask, usually either too many or not enough.  ;)

 

 

I'm curious, how many of y'all have ever "ma[de] all components from scratch" rather than buying fittings?  I'd guess that would roughly double the time spent.

I've done it a few times with baroque instruments.

 

I suppose an extra day for pegs tailpiece and fingerboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, how many of y'all have ever "ma[de] all components from scratch" rather than buying fittings?  I'd guess that would roughly double the time spent.

I made six sidemount chinrests and 5 sets of pegs.  The chinrest weren't bad at all to do but the pegs are a different story.  I saw what Ken did with peg making and thought I'll give it a shot.  Several times I was tempted to give it up but I kept going.  Totally different from making a violin from scratch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People ask me this question all the time and my stock answer is 200 to 250 hours. That's including varnish, but not drying time. I'm sure it varies greatly though.

I need not less than 250 hours for a violin, without counting the construction of the form and the design and creation of the various templates.

No power tools other than the band saw and a few holes with the electric drill.

But you need to take much more time in side matters to make a "good" violin, not only "a" violin.

Thanks!

I needed to hear this, total time 200-250 h is where I stand too, thought I was too slow :)

(Of course if one would copy a del Gesu and antique it, 50 to 60 hours would do)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a cost perspective, I think the real way to estimate the time it takes to make an instrument is logging your time from when you walk through the shop door to when you walk out.  If you are able to work on other instruments during down times such as waiting for glue or varnish to dry, then you are being more efficient with your time, and your average build time will decrease.  Another way to ask the question, is how long does it take to build a single violin?  How long does it take to build a violin (averaged) when building multiple violins?

 

-Jim 

 

I agree.

From the professional point of view, if your income is based only on making new instrument, the significant fact is how many violins you manage to make in a year (probably the real issue is how many you can sell in a year, but that's another story.... <_< )

That said, depends more on what you want to do and how you want to do it, and if you manage to obtain the appropriate return for living.

I could spend less time while managing to make instruments of decent quality, simply by automatically performing the work without thinking too much about what I'm doing.

But I know that if I go too fast, without thinking, the result does not fully satisfy me, and would miss that fraction of extra quality (also acoustically speaking) that for me makes the difference.

I can not live with this feeling, but maybe others may react differently,  achieving results that satisfy them with less working time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 .... the significant fact is how many violins you manage to make in a year (probably the real issue is how many you can sell in a year ... <_<

Exactly what I was thinking.

How many people do you know who give up making because they don't sell and revert to repairs and set-ups?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actotern seems to understand part of my Question which amounts to what is actually a better violin.  As he points out clean work is not what we think of when valuing violins. Most of the makers  we copy were not clean workman by modern standards. That includes Strad by the way who left saw marks, tooth plane marks and scraper marks on a single rib of one of his cellos (Batta?) .

 

The larger question I was asking was where spending more time will improve the final product? I find that checking graduations once more after I think I'm done is worth the extra time because some times I finds spots that are a tenth or so thicker than I planned and gives me a chance to correct them. Stopping the gouge work half a mm earlier and finishing with the much slower planes prevents going too thin which would ruin the plate entirely unless one wants to fit patches and feels OK about selling new instruments with repairs ( I Don't).

 

The difference between a gouge finished edge, which I like on Guarneri model instruments, and a more Strad like edge is two trips around the inner edge with a scraper which takes about two hours max. For a competition instrument I'd go around one more time but I diddling around on the first two times won't help.

 

As far as power tools since rough arching and digging out take less than 8 hours on a violin I don't think the cnc makes much difference unless you are making one heck of a lot of instruments and  the fact that you end up too close to spec to use your planes and too far away to scrape negates any perceived advantage.

 

On the other hand making multiple instruments definitely saves a huge amount of time if you are doing nothing but making instruments. If you work on 3 instruments at a time then all of the tool set up time is free for two thirds of your output. Likewise the time to find templates, clear benches, make glue, wash brushes, heat irons and mix varnish. Plus no downtime while glue dries because you can be working on the next one while you wait.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.