The Violin Makers Journal

The Violin Makers Association of British Colombia is a violin making club located in Vancouver, Canada.  The club has a long history dating back to its founding in March 1957.


I’ve recently become involved with the club and discovered the 60 issues its journal published from November 1957 to August 1964.  The Journal covers topics from editorials on violin making, violin making techniques and science, as well as the usual discussions on plate graduations and violin finishing.  The journal even includes direct correspondence from notables such as Carleen M. Hutchins.

I’ve begun digitizing and placing the editions on the club’s website, located here.  The remaining editions will become available as they are scanned.

This is a fascinating look into the recent history of violin making.  I’ll also be placing interesting articles from the journals here in the future.

A trip to Cilliwack

For the 2nd Strad Titian copy I needed a new neck block (the previous one was re-purposed to complete my 2nd electric violin).  I decided to go with locally sourced wood from a specialty wood shop about 100km from my home in Chilliwack, B.C.  Its been unseasonably cold here in the lower mainland, but it was a beautiful trip towards the mountains.  The shop is “Bow River / Artisan Wood to Works“.  They have a variety of wood and include a decent selection of locally sourced maple and spruce for violin making.  They have quite a selection of guitar and mandolin stock as well, and also service furniture makers and turners.  I was especially pleased with some basebar stock.  In general i find their maple to have a fairly wide grain.  Here are some pictures of the area and shop!

The cradle jig

A cradle jig comes in handy during hollowing and base-bar fitting.  I managed without one up until now, but decided it was time.  I based this one on pictures from Courtnall.  Its made to accommodate deep (high) arching, adjustable length (up to large violas), and interchangeable blocks.  The wood is poplar, the adjustment knob is an old piece of ebony, all unfinished at this point.

Peg Layout

Proper layout of the pegs is important to avoid string-peg contact (and a tuning nightmare).

Here I layout the peg pattern for the Titian project.   I chose to follow this scroll pattern as it is fairly small (and hence light and less tiring on the player).  The pegs were spaced at 14.5mm, 23mm and 14.5mm and a line draw between the E-D-A Pegs (as appearing in order viewed from the right side).  I estimated the largest dimensions of the pegs and then adjusted their relative positions to prevent any string to peg contact.

Layout for Titian Variation #1

This is the completed pattern (April 4, 2011 – Titian variation #1).  I rotated the scroll slightly with respect to the neck.  In most cases the edge of the front side of the scroll is in line with the base of the finger board, that is now the case for this pattern.

Final pattern used in the Titian project.