Nelle Doak O'Neill, Luthier
Carson Valley, Nevada

From Tree . . . to Concert Hall . . .

The Finishing Touches

Now, the pace picks up! The back, which was just "tacked" on is removed and re-glued . . . any "rough edges" are taken care of and finally, the violin gets its first coat of varnish . . .

After two or three coats of clear varnish, it's time to add some color: different luthier's use different methods to color their instruments . . . Nelle uses a formula given to her personally by the late David Rubio of Cambridge, England. David was a premiere violin maker of the Twentieth Century and extremely generous about sharing his knowledge with others.

The beautiful reddish color attained by his method is obtained by processing and finely grinding Red Turkish "Madder Root" which is then combined with a very small amount of Walnut oil and applied as a glaze over the first coats of varnish. The process is repeated several times, being smoothed out with the palm of the hand and allowed to dry between coats. . . . finally, the instrument is given one or more new coats of varnish and carefully rubbed down to remove the "gloss" and give it a satiny, transparent appearance.

At this point, the "moment-of-truth" is rapidly approaching! The pegs and strings are re-installed, a new bridge fitted . . . and now . . .

It's time to start a new fiddle!

Back to
Nelle's Home Page