Posted on Leave a comment

Pete’s Fiddle: Lining

Petes-fiddle-lining in the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son master violin maker and luthier in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland

The lining on a bowed stringed instrument is a bent piece of wood, usually willow or spruce, which is glued to the top and bottom of the ribs to reinforce the ribs and create a larger glueing surface for the plates. Here is a short video clip of the process.

Posted on Leave a comment

Bow hair mites?…or other causes

Recently I received a bow for rehair where it was said that the bow has mites. Mites are definitely a bad cause for loosing bow hair as you have to clear the case and all other cloth items including the cloth around the rosin of those little animals.

However it turned out that the cause wasn’t mites at all but either a bad knot in the tip of the bow or the bad habit of the musician of pulling a broken hair instead of cutting it with scissors (or even a combination of both)

When you pull hair out of the tip you pull it out of the knot and then makes the knot looser, soon more and more hair will fall out until there is hardly any left.

Hair coming out of a loose knot
The ends clearly showing that the hairs fell out of the knot
After I pulled all the hair out of the knot
The hair in its entirety

Posted on Leave a comment

Left hand studio violin ready to varnish

I have been building a left hand violin for an order and it is finally ready to be varnished. Hand made left hand studio violin built in the workshop of Ilja Grawert & son master violin maker and luthier in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland near Whitsundays in our beautiful workshop surrounded by rain forest, fruit trees, gardens and a clear Mountain creek…

Posted on Leave a comment

Stamp making

hand made stamp Ilja Grawert & son master violin maker and luthier in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland

Currently as a little side hobby I learning to stamps on wood. So far I am getting closer to acceptable quality with every new attempt. When I am happy there will be new, traditional stamped labels in my violins. beautiful look and no printing involved…very traditional old craft, old time. Stamp No1 was the first trial ever in rubber and is just not good enough, and No2 is done in a soft rubber and a little bit better but triggered a material change and Stamp No3 is my first trial in end grain hardwood. I am still improving the method and am already getting better results.

Posted on Leave a comment

40 year old bridge blank…

Ilja Grawert violin maker a bridge in his workshop in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland

I was just cutting a bridge for one of my own older, fully handmade by me, violins. Using the best bridge timber, which is now a minimum of 40-50 years old. The finished bridge is promising to be of the highest sound quality. I am very much looking forward to hearing this violin again after a good service.

Ilja Grawert violin maker a bridge in his workshop in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland
very old bridge timber in my workshop at Ilja Grawert – Violinmaker

In 1982 the wood of these bridge blanks was already well seasoned and cost around $7. If I would have invested the same money in gold or houses I would now roughly end up with a return of 400-500% valued at $28-35, which is equal to the inflation rate from 1982 until now.

However over time gold, houses and most other investments are not improving in quality the same way that violin timber does. This is why most of the violin wood saw mills in Germany raise the price of older wood by 10% per year of storage, which means the accumulative price doubles every 7 years. Looking at a price of $7 for this bridge blank in 1982, it would be 7.70 in 1983, 8.47 in 1984, $9.317 in 1985 and so on and just under double by the year 1989. In 1989 I would pay $14, in 1996-$28, 2003-$52, 2010-$104, 2017-$208 and by next year, 2024 I would be paying $416 for the same piece of timber for which I paid $7 forty two years ago. Can you imagine paying around $400 for the same bridge blank, the small piece of well seasoned maple in the right of the photo, and this is only the wholesale price.

The bridge on the left beside the blank is fully cut and ready to be used on this beautiful violin. When all the work is done, including putting strings on and adjusting the sound, it will have taken anywhere between 3 and 4 hours of my personal labour. I would end up at a very high price for one of those bridges.

This brings me right back to why I am doing this beautiful work… sure it is for money to live and support my family… but it is more for the love of beautiful violins, violas, cellos and basses and the love of good music played on well serviced instruments. Even after 40 years of working as a violin maker as my only source of income I still get excited with every instrument on my workbench to create the most beautiful sound it is capable of.

This also applies to professional musicians who never get paid for the years of hard work, often from as young as 5 years of age, with daily practice, often for hours after school.

I own a substantial amount of violin, viola and cello wood which I purchased in Germany between 1982 and 1994 relatively fresh (5-10years seasoned) for anywhere between 150-500 for a set to make one violin. Imagine the value of a hand made violin adding 160-240 hours of labour.

Ilja Grawert violinmaker and son playing the fully handmade violin in his North Queensland and Brisbane workshop
Ilja Grawert violinmaker and son playing the fully handmade violin in his North Queensland and Brisbane workshop
Posted on Leave a comment

The Stad Magazine finally arrived

You cannot imagine my joy when I walked into the local post office today, where I am well known and was greeted by: “Guess what is in your Po Box…” After month and month of waiting for the October issue of The Strad magazine, I think maybe 15 emails to the publisher, as well as driving everyone crazy with my daily question about those magazines, I am happy to finally see this article in print…

Ilja Grawert violins in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland
Ilja Grawert violins in Brisbane Australia The Gap and North Queensland
My Space article in The Strad Magazine from Ilja Grawert violinmaker, Makers of excellent violin, viola,cello and double bass in Brisbane The Gap & Near Whitsundays North Queensland Australia
An here the cleaned up readable version
Posted on Leave a comment

My Brisbane/The Gap workshop

Beautiful violin bridge I recently cut…
I’ll be in my Brisbane Workshop from February 11th for a brief period.
Would like to make an appointment for a repair, service or a beautiful new instrument. Best contact me on 0437 88 2468
Enjoy the music
#onlyattheviolinmaker #violin #viola #cello #doublebass #brisbane #brisbanemusic #brisbaneclassic #queensland #queenslandmusic #violinmaker #violinmakersworkshop

Posted on Leave a comment

New violin

middle joints done for new handmade violin

I finally got around to do the middle joints for the plates. It is always good to get that done as you feel that you have started a violin. The next steps will only happen when I get back from my Brisbane workshop and have time to fully dedicate myself to this new violin. As I drew a new model I am even more excited about the violin.