For much of my life I have loved to make things out of wood. These "things" have included furniture and a pair of glass-panelled doors for our house, turned objects, a sea kayak, and several musical instruments. The musical instruments have been a special interest for a long time, and they are mostly ancient instruments - from the renaissance and baroque periods.
The first of these, in the 1970s, was a replica of a 17th-century Flemish harpsichord. It was built from a Zuckermann kit from the USA, and worked very well. It was followed by a small fretted clavichord, also built from a Zuckermann kit, a couple of classical guitars (built from raw wood), and a replica 13-course baroque lute.
The lute was built via an "Internet correspondence course" during 1999-2000 run by David Van Edwards, of Norwich in the UK. What David doesn't know about lutes and luthiery isn't worth knowing. He also ran a similar course for the construction of a renaissance lute a couple of years later, and both courses are now available as DVDs. When we visited UK in 2001 we had the pleasure of driving up to Norwich and meeting David in person.
The most recent instrument has been a violin, one I've had in mind to build for quite a while. It was also built from a kit, this one from Stewart-MacDonald in the USA. This particular kit is quite complete, with much of the complex carving and bending already done. It's not a particularly high-quality thing, but quite OK for a first try. If I like violins the next one will probably be made from raw wood. I also intended to make the bow, but discovered that the bow is actually a very complex and exacting piece of equipment! So I ended up buying a bow, and will think about that for the next violin, if there is a next one.
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