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jo92

Starting from scratch

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Hello guys, I hope you're all doing ok. I want to become a violin maker. I am aware that it will be a hard and long process, but I am very excited and I know that this is what I want to do. I wanna do it as a hobbie, at least at first. 
I've been reading some information online and posts from this forum, but I'm still kinda lost on where to start. Should I buy a book on violin making and read it to get familiarized with the process? Start learning about types of wood and the tools that will be needed? Buy the tools and start practicing on wood before making any attempt to start working on the violin?
I'm also in the process to become a violinist, I've studied for almost 3 years now, so I have a general understanding about the violin and its parts, but I have zero idea about tools, working on wood and that kind of stuff. Obviously I haven't set up a workspace either. So, I could really use some advice from you guys on where to start and which the firsts steps are.

Sorry if there is already another post with the same topic, I wasn't able to find it.

thank you! 

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Get a decent block plane, a couple of knives, a square and some sharpening stones. 

Learn to tune the block plane and sharpen it and the knives, as well as perhaps some chisels.

Courtnall and Johnson is probably the most useful book.

That will keep you busy for a while! Sharpening is a skill that takes time to learn. Almost sharp tools are dangerous.

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I was in your Position a while ago, and never made it much further. There are a couple of Problems I encountered that I couldn't at this Point overcome. The biggest one being time: you Need to do this a lot almost on a daily Basis to become good at it, like playing an Instrument. There is an awful lot to learn. Otherwise, I think one learns best with the help of a teacher. And seeing someone do it in person is better than a thousand words. You REALLY Need to learn to maintain and sharpen Tools, before you do anything else. And then you Need quite some Money to spend on Tools, Wood, books and tutoring. A friend of mine managed to make 3 Cellos, working on his fourth now, because he has a friend who is a maker, and his friend allowed him to make use of his workspace and Tools. This is the only Amateur maker I know personally that got to a good Level. I have my hopes up for my retirement (still About 30 years away).

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1 hour ago, duane88 said:

Get a decent block plane, a couple of knives, a square and some sharpening stones. 

Learn to tune the block plane and sharpen it and the knives, as well as perhaps some chisels.

Courtnall and Johnson is probably the most useful book.

That will keep you busy for a while! Sharpening is a skill that takes time to learn. Almost sharp tools are dangerous.

I agree with most of this. "Sharpening stones" doesn't really do justice to what you'll need. The run of the mill stones from the hardware store won't do it. Get the book first, and go from there. Hope you have a decent budget, as you'll need a lot more tools and supplies!!

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As suggested above becoming  violin maker requires time and training. I spent 8 years of 50-60 hour weeks with highly critical supervision.

I think if you want to do this as a hobby you should try to find either a summer workshop or practicing violin maker who can take you through getting a minimum set of tools ready to work and then making one violin under their close supervision. If you can do that you will have a basis on which to continue learning on your own. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can start with DIY repair work and some how expand that to being a violin maker. You will be disappointed and probably damage a lot of instruments in the process.

As far as books Brian Derber's textbook on violin making is the only one I have read which a novice might conceivably use as a step by step tutorial and end up with a usable fiddle.

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You mighty find this video helpful regarding tools. The authors also has a series about making a new violin that could be a good start to get an idea about the process. You might also want to take a look at the book "The Art of Violin Making" by Johnson and Courtnall.

 

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Making a decent violin is kind of like climbing the Himalayas of woodworking. I am a little more than half way through my first and if I finish it will be the most expensive and ugliest violin in my collection.

As mid life crisis go it is still less expensive than a sports car.

 

 

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It's a branch of woodworking also. So give yourself some grounding in hand woodworking, traditional hand tool woodworking.

 

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Thank you guys so much. So, I'll get some basic tools and I'll start practicing on wood. At the same time I'm reading and watching videos about violin making to learn everything I can about the process. 

Where I live there's no workshop or schools or anything like that about violin making. The only thing I found was a course on how to make an electric violin. I know it's not the same, but I'm gonna take it, I bet I'll learn things that could be useful, plus I'll get to know people that share the same interest.

I'm trying to find The art of violin making to buy online, but it seems to be unavailable in every place I look. Do you have any idea where can I get it? I'm from argentina so I would need a place that ships internationally.

Thank you again.

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14 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

One way you might consider starting in violin making is to buy a violin kit and assemble it.

Yes, I second that.  A lot can be learned that way, and it can help you determine if this is realistic before you invest in a lot of tools.   You will need some tools even to do a pre-carved kit, more or less, depending on the kit.

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23 hours ago, jo92 said:

.... Obviously I haven't set up a workspace either. So, I could really use some advice from you guys on where to start and which the firsts steps are.

Sorry if there is already another post with the same topic, I wasn't able to find it.

thank you! 

To start getting practical sharpening and hand woodworking skills, you can start by making a nice (functional, well made, and rock steady) workbench. You can make a perfectly functional workbench in a weekend, but time spent on building a nice bench will help you down the road.  Plus you'll have a nice workbench.  

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I am going to respectfully disagree with the other posters here.  I started with no experience with carving or intricate woodworking skill.  And I learn best by trying.

I found Bruce Ossman' s violin making book ($10) a great introduction and I successfully completed my first Home Depot violin.

Afterward I abandoned that book and went to Johnson and Courtnall - and began accumalting a world of expensive tools!

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