Workshop Information

Violin Making with Michael Darnton

2017 Dates

  1. Session 1: Monday through Friday, June 5-9
  2. Session 2: Monday through Friday, June 12-16
  3. Session 3: Monday through Friday, June 19-23

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.

Bow Making with George Rubino

The format for the Claremont bowmaking classes has evolved to better meet students' expressed interest in learning the French traditional method of bow making in its entirety: stick, frog and button. Master bow makers, teachers, and colleagues Lynn Armour Hannings and George Rubino now alternate summers at SCVMW. In 2017, George Rubino will return and will teach Bow Rehair, Frog and Button Making, and Frog Restoration

2017 Dates

  • Session 1: Monday through Friday, June 5-9
  • Session 2: Monday through Friday, June 12-16

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.


Bow Rehair: Rehairing is the number one service provided to string players and is an important part of any repair shop. Bow rehairing is also an integral part of bow making and more advanced bow repairs. This Bow Rehair course is for all levels of experience. This class focuses on the rehairing process only and is separate from the making part of the class. This is a hands-on experience and ample time will be provided to practice the steps.

Frog and Button Making: Frog and button making are not only necessary skills for the bow maker, but also essential skills for bow repairers and restorers. This Frog and Button Making course is for students of all levels of experience, bow makers, and bow repairers. Repairers will find that with these making skills they will be able to repair and restore frogs. Participants learn about the entire process of bow making. The workshop covers design, weight/balance, materials, tips, tool usage, finishing, and more.

Frog Restoration: Successful ferrule repairs, broken rails, replacing missing wood, chevals all depend on the repairer's understanding of how to make a frog. By learning how to make a frog these repairs will be possible.

Note: Because of the amount of time necessary to complete the work, the student must choose either the making or rehair program, not both, during each one-week session.

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