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Building a Violin



A few years ago, I became interested in making some carved instruments.  Based on size, and just for variety, I decided to build a violin.  Which quickly became two violins; and then became three violins.  I have designed an octave mandolin and hope to build one some day!  I also intend to build a few more violins and maybe some mandolins and possibly a cello.


These pages record the process of making a violin.  I hope you enjoy them and find them useful.


A friend (an amateur violin player) saw my violins; and, impressed by them, asked about making a violin himself.  My advice to him was:  Think in terms of making 3 violins, not one.  By the third one, I said, you will begin to be satisfied with your work.  I continue to feel this way.  You can put your toe into instrument making fairly cheaply by making a violin.  They continue to be made using almost exclusively hand tools and techniques; and you can make a fine instrument using only hand tools.




My stepson Joe, playing my second violin                 My first violin sitting on the pile of chips removed while making it



Making the back

Making the ribs

Making the belly (top)

Making the neck Assembling the violin Varnishing and final steps



My second violin, complete, and the back for the third



My first violin (varnished) and my second violin, ready to varnish



I want to thank Mr. Henry Strobel of Aumsville, Oregon

for his wonderful books on violin making.  I have followed

his methods, as given in his book, Violin Making Step by Step

and The Art and Method of the Violin Maker,

more or less exactly (probably less exactly).


The results can be seen on these pages.


I have found Mr. Strobel's books to be truly excellent and

I highly recommend them.  They are clear, concise, easy

to follow, and very well illustrated.  Not to mention a bargain!


Please see Mr. Strobel's website at:



Violin MakingViolin BackViolin RibsViolin Belly (top)Violin NeckViolin AssemblyViolin Final Steps

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© 2015, James W. Blilie, Barbarossa Guitars                        5997 Turtle Lake Road, Shoreview, MN 55126                        This page was last updated:  11-Feb-2015