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The Apprentice on carving an 1/8 size scroll for practice

The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays

Carving a scroll so much smaller than I typically would was a really interesting experience, one that I really enjoyed, and learned a lot from.

The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays

I ended up having to use a lot of the smaller gouges that I would usually have only needed for the finest work on a full-size for a lot more of the general work on this scroll.

The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays
The Apprentice’s violin from the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son Violin makers Brisbane The Gap, Whitsundays

In the end, it has its quirks but I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

From the apprentice’s workbench.

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7/8 cello update No 6

After closing the cello the cello was ready to have the neck fitted. I was so lost in the work on this cello that I totally forgot to take photos . It is very important that the neck is in the right position, in the right angle overlapping the top plate the perfect amount to create a well balanced system of tension within the instrument.

The neck was fitted, glued and now I am nearly finished shaping the neck so it is very comfortable for the hands of the cellist guiding its fingers into the right position.

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15.5″ Studio Viola project update No 1

Here is another one of my projects I am currently working on. A 15.5 inch studio viola…thicknessing the top-plate is finished, the bass bar wood is prepared to the right thickness. I chose a high quality, well seasoned, split peace of spruce. After checking all the proportions, lots of measuring & calculating I could mark the final length and exact positioning for the bass bar to ensure most vibration of the top. The bar gets roughly fitted and now everything is ready for fitting and gluing the positioning blocks…

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7/8 cello update No 5

7/8 studio cello at Ilja Grawert violin shop workshop Brisbane Australia

So the bass bar is glued as you saw in the last update. I removed the clamps grabbed my little thumb plane and started shaping the bass bar. It has to be supportive of the pressure onto the top plat from the strings and bridge as well as being able to spread the vibrations on the bottom strings as fast as possible over the whole plate. That way you get this beautiful deep growly sound we love with cellos. When done I glued the top plate onto the sides and started working on the back plate. I make use of some thickness templates which are only a guideline creating the right thickness and balance.

Shaving the inside of the top plate, fitting & shaping the bass bar & thicknessing the back plate accurately is very important in building a cello. This is one of the most essential parts in creating the beautiful sound which will eventual make people dance, burst into tears of beauty or just listen to the song being carried through the concert hall. This process transforms the cello from a furniture to a musical instrument… which then will be loved by the musician its companion for life.


Each cello carries a song of its own, telling a story of its proportions, the tools and the hands shaping it from a block of wood into this beautiful creation of sound.

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7/8 Cello Winter22 Update No4

I finished fitting the bass bar and glued it to the inner surface of the top plate in its proper position. Gluing is usually a high stress situation as the glues we use are one hundred percent natural hide glue. It needs to be heated and after application the clamps will have to be put in place in a very short time frame as this kind of glue set very fast (turn gelatin like) specially when it is cold. The drying & clamping time should always be 12 hours.

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7/8 Studio Cello update No.3

This is the third update fitting of my 7/8 cello project winter22. Here is a short description about using chalk for fitting the bass bar. This stage is always exciting as that marks the finishing of the top plate. Fitting with chalk takes around 6-8 hours and has to be very fine with super sharp tools. On this update we are still in the rough phase of fitting.

Are you interested in pre-order buying this cello you have a chance to take some influence on the making to make it a truly personelised cello. Follow the link below:

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7/8 Studio Cello No.2

After fitting and gluing the little wooden placement blocks to hold the bass bar in exactly the same position while fitting, I started with the rough fitting of the bass bar. I place the bass bar in the right position check the fit and use my little thumb planes to shave away some wood. I was hoping to do more but burned my index finger last night on a fire brick and decided I need to wait a day or two. Fitting the bass bar is always exciting as that marks the finishing of the top plate. Are you interested in pre-order buying this cello you have a chance to take some influence on the making to make it a truly personelised cello. Follow the link below:

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7/8 studio cello No.1

7/8 studio cello at Ilja Grawert violin shop workshop Brisbane Australia

One of my current projects is to build this beautiful studio cello. It is a 7/8 size, which is a very good size for cellists with smaller hands or those who love to have the ease of playing a smaller cello combined with the strong sound of a full size. If you are interested in pre-purchasing this cello please follow this link: 7/8 studio cello pre-purchase. There is still a preparation time of a minimum of 2 month. Most likely it will be done by the last two weeks of September.

On these photos I am preparing to fit the bass bar. The bass bar is the bracing on the inside of the top plate for support and the spreading of the vibrations over the whole top-plate.

The advantage of a pre-purchase order is that you can take some influence on certain parts of the cello like choosing your own, tuning pegs, strings, tail-piece, strings and sometimes even the colour can be customised . By choosing a playing style, and personal preference in tonal character as well as answering a few short questions about hand size and body size we will ensure a perfect fit for you. Even as a 7/8 cello.

Set yourself apart… and play one of these beautiful instruments

7/8 studio cello No.1
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Beautiful 7/8 studio violin finished

7/8 size beautiful Violin with Fleur de Lils Painting

From the Workshop of Ilja Grawert & Son

“This is currently my favorite violin, even though it is a bit too small for my  big violin makers hands. Its the one I grab…I so much enjoy playing this violin. I love its warm sound at the ear, it’s soft feel for the left hand, the easy speaking and most of all it’s powerful even tone qualities. It is the perfect violin to perform for someone with smaller hands.” Ilja Grawert

  • has been built as a small 7/8 to suit a performer with extra small hands
  • or is of too young age for a full size violin
  • tonal qualities of a full size violin
  • warm yet powerful and carrying tone
  • The perfect instrument for solo performance in bigger halls with or without an orchestra
  • with the look of an older violin, antiqued varnish, vibrant colours