Before the kit arrived I purchased a couple of books –

Henry Strobel’s Violin Making Step by Step

and Bruse Ossman’s Violin Making, an Illustrated Guide for the Beginner.

Strobel’s books are recommended all over the ‘net by professional and amateur builders alike. He has quite a library of publications and a very good reputation online. There is an extra set of plans in the center of the soft-bound book to remove and use as a pattern. The instructions are clear and technical and he explains why he builds instruments the way he does in easily understandable terms. He uses a lot of specialized tools, many of which he made himself. He talks about tuning the plates, varnishing and set up of the finished violin. He refers often to a couple of his other books which should probably be on my library shelf as well. There are many pictures and the whole process is laid out logically and clearly.

Kathy Matsushita is probably the most well-known person to build a violin using only the Ossman book, and she ended up with a nice instrument. Bruce has a more casual approach to fiddle building, believing that anyone with basic woodworking skills can build a playable instrument using his methods. His approach is a bit unconventional as far as I can see, and he recommends fewer specialized tools. His writing style is approachable and not as technical as Strobel’s, but it’s plain to see that some nuances are missed in the desire to get the thing built.

Since I’m starting with a kit, I’ll be using relevant information from both books to finish my fiddle construction and will comment on what methods work best for me in this situation as the build progresses.

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