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Opinion on an unlabelled, unfinished violin

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Hi everyone, I am new to this forum. I recently got really into violin making.

My girlfriend is a violist and she has a viola where the soundpost has fallen off. I offered to put it back into place, and understandably she refused, but along the way, I have really grown to appreciate the work that goes into making these incredible instruments after watching numerous videos of the process on YouTube. (I also learnt that putting a soundpost back into place requires more than just standing it back up, and it is best if she seeks out a luthier)

I did not want to dive head first and make a new violin from scratch, so to get a feel of my new hobby, I thought I would start with varnishing and setting up a violin. I acquired an unfinished violin on eBay. It is described as an unfinished violin from the workshop contents auction of a midlands (UK) luthier. I just wanted to make sure I am not at the risk of ruining anything nice. My girlfriend did comment that the violin looks a bit "flat", and it does look like 

Would appreciate any comments, I know it is a bit vague but I primarily want to know whether this is a "well-made" violin and if I would be better off getting something else to start. Thanks in advance, and apologies if I am breaking any forum rules!



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57 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Actually, it's varnished, but it's not finished.  To be finished, it would need fingerboard, pegs, strings, etc.

It's finished but it's not completed:D

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19 hours ago, novicewoodworker said:

I thought I would start with varnishing and setting up a violin.

This would lead me to believe that this was an unvarnished (and unfinished) instrument, and that YOU varnished it.  In any case, varnishing is in some ways even more difficult to do well than the woodworking part, and it is important to know what good varnishers do... and PRACTICE.  A lot.  On lots of scraps of maple and spruce.

It looks like this violin suffers from varnish that is too intensely colored, without a separation layer to keep it from staining the grain in varying intensities.

1 hour ago, novicewoodworker said:

out of interest, is this a particularly poorly made violin?

All external indications are... yup.  Although there are worse ones out there.

Maybe it's solidly made with reasonable thicknesses... but I wouldn't bet on it.  Good for learning the basics, but don't expect anything a violinist would want to play.

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On 5/16/2024 at 3:20 PM, Don Noon said:

This would lead me to believe that this was an unvarnished (and unfinished) instrument, and that YOU varnished it. 

I have, in fact, not done anything to it yet. The varnish came with the violin, so if it is that bad of a job, I imagine the rest of the instrument would not be made to that high a standard-- perfect for me to get going! 


Before I do anything drastic, like re-varnishing the violin, I would probably put on a fingerboard etc. to see how it sounds, on the off chance that it turns out to be a decent instrument that I do not want to ruin.

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