I started my last day at the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop by assisting in the creation of some arching templates for the Titian Strad, which is one of the instruments
that is being “copied” (from a Strad poster) in the workshop. I went again to the library with one of the violin makers so that we could print those templates, and then we stopped by a little drug store to pick up a few items to help in our template making: A stick of school glue and a couple of folders made of stiff paper. We were improvising.
Once back to the workshop, we set about gluing our printed templates onto the folders, and then we cut them out. They’re a bit rough, but they will do until I can make some better ones.
With templates in hand, I started working down the long arch of my del Gesu top. Michael works in stages–rather than trying to get it all down to the correct arch height in the first pass, he’ll shape the whole plate, then bring it down in successive passes.
As I was getting to my second template station or so, Michael came over and pulled me aside for another half hour one-on-one lesson. This time we talked about purfling (especially corners), the scoop, and the ff-holes. I got some great information that will help improve my work considerably.
I continued my arching work after lunch hour. We took group photos around 3 pm, and some of the violin makers started packing up and heading out. I planned to work as late as possible, but I decided to get some dinner first. In the meantime, some of the others had brought in fine cheese, bread, crackers, and wine. Jim Brown, who owns a violin shop in Claremont and sponsors the workshop, made his own shrimp cocktail sauce. I understand he was nearly a contestant on the TV show, Top Chef. I arrived from dinner while this event was still in progress. I had to try some of Jim’s sauce, and it was terrific.
Having partaken of good food and ample drink, my colleagues began to relax, and soon there were groups gathering for warm conversation. An impromptu string ensemble organized spontaneously in the hallway. The atmosphere changed from one of industry and learning to one of satisfied enjoyment of fine company, fine music, and work well-done. The entertainment and talk lasted well into the night, but I worked quietly at my bench.
I did get to meet George Rubino, the master bow maker. He came over and talked bows for quite a while. I’ll have to think about doing a bow in the future.