Workshop Information

Violin Making with Michael Darnton

2016 Dates

  1. Session 1: Monday through Friday, June 6-10
  2. Session 2: Monday through Friday, June 13-17
  3. Session 3: Monday through Friday, June 20-24

Students may register for one, two, or all three sessions. Beginners must get clearance from the workshop organizer in order to attend.

Daily Schedule

Workshop hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with a lunch break at noon. The facilities are open in the evenings and on weekends for participants who wish to continue working on their own.


Each day features an informal lecture by instructor Michael Darnton. During the rest of the day, he circulates among all participants as they work on their own instruments to provide guidance, answer questions, demonstrate techniques, and troubleshoot. All are welcome to listen in as he discusses a particular aspect of violin making a student needs assistance with. Each week, every participant receives a 30-minute individual session with Mr. Darnton to discuss any violin making topic of his or her choice. This flexible structure allows participants to work independently at their own pace and serves them equally well whether they are beginners, intermediate, or advanced.

Major stages of violin making addressed during the workshops include:

  1. Outline and purfling, rough arching
  2. Final arching, graduation, f-holes, bass bar
  3. Carving the neck and scroll, setting the neck, and setup

Other topics addressed include tool making, sharpening, and use; choosing a model and designing the templates and forms; aesthetic considerations of the outline and corners, purfling, f-holes and scrolls; and tonal effects of arching, graduation and setup.

Note that participants are encouraged to come with work at any stage of completion since instruction is highly individualized.

Special Varnish Making Session

Date and Time

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with a break for lunch


$25—includes a notebook with materials, equipment lists, and note paper

Instructor and Session Description

The instructor will be Brian Lisus of Ojai, California. Brian learned violin making at the Newark School (England) and lived in South Africa for years, moving to California a few years ago. His violins and craftsmanship are well known and his methods fit nicely into the SCVMW mission of Italian style violin making. His varnish making methods follow Roger Hargrave's closely but his materials are different. Brian has given much thought to final tonal production properties of different materials. His method is reliable and the varnish is easily made in small batches. Brian's webpage includes a link to his video, an excellent presentation of his violin making and varnish making.

On June 18 we will be seeing the entire process of preparing to varnish, cooking, and application.

How to Sign Up

To reserve your space in this special one-day session, contact organizer Jim Brown at

Bow Making with Lynn Armour Hannings

The format for the Claremont bowmaking classes has evolved to better meet students' expressed interest in learning the French traditional method of bowmaking in its entirety: stick, frog and button. Noted bow makers, teachers, and colleagues Lynn Armour Hannings and George Rubino Alternate summers at SCVMW. In 2016, Lynn Armour Hannings will return and will focus on the stick and on repairs required for bowmaking (rehair, windings, weights and balances). In 2017, George Rubino will focus on frog and button making.

2016 Dates

  • Session 1: Monday through Friday, June 6-10
  • Session 2: Monday through Friday, June June 13-17

Students may register for one or both sessions.

Daily Schedule

Workshop hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with a lunch break at noon. The facilities are open in the evenings and on weekends for participants who wish to continue working on their own.


In this hands-on workshop, participants learn about the entire process of bow making. The workshop covers design, weight/balance, materials, tips, tool usage, finishing, and more.

Workshop Photos

View a slideshow of workshop photos!

  • Talking about templates
  • Hard at work
  • Varnishing a violin
  • Bow instructor George Rubino
  • Assembling a back
  • Cambering a bow
  • Putting in a bass bar
  • Working on a scroll
  • Making a bow
  • Making a bow
  • Carving a bow head
  • Comparing Stradivari arches
  • Examining a fine Italian violin
  • Consultation
  • Saturday lecture
  • Discussing setup
  • Head and neck
  • Carving a scroll
  • Carving a scroll
  • Placing the f-holes
  • Carving f-holes
  • Carving f-holes
  • Arching a top
  • Graduating the top
  • After 2015 Salastina concert
  • Jammin’
  • Executive Chef Stein with appreciative fans