Basic Violin Setup I and Tool Use

Important Announcement: 2022 UNH Violin Craftmanship Institute will be held online.

Basic Violin Set-up I & Tool Use is a hands-on introductory workshop that addresses the basics of 4/4 violin set-up and teaches some of the basic bench skills required for repair and maintenance of a full-size violin. Topics include:

  • Proper use of bench grinders
  • Sharpening knives, plane blades, and chisels
  • Fitting pegs in the scroll
  • Setting and making sound posts
  • Making bridges

We will also discuss string selection and sound-post adjustments (keep in mind the practice of sound adjustments takes years to master). Basic Violin Set-up is highly recommended for music teachers, musicians, shop owners, and others interested in string instrument repair. While you do not need to have previous experience working on violins, previous woodworking experience is beneficial. Basic Violin Set-Up I & Tool Use is highly recommended to as a precursor to Violin Set-Up II and Basic Repair.

A list of tools and materials can be found in the Tools & Materials tab above, or by clicking here.

Register by May 31 and save!  $999 if registered by May 31, $1,099 afterward.

Tools & Materials


Basic Violin Setup I and Tool Use

UNH Course: Basic Violin Set-up and Tool Use 
Instructor: Francis Morris

Two full-sized violins with ebony fingerboards. Inexpensive violins with or without pegs are recommended. They may be previously set up. We will be using these to fit new pegs, sound-posts, and bridges. They should be in good condition with no open cracks or seams. Other items needed include pegs (regular thickness and thick shaft), bridges, sound-post material, and strings.

Tools and Materials:

Two 4/4 Violins, older ones are fine if in good shape with no open cracks or seams.
Violin Pegs/count on a number of extra.
Two or more violin bridge blanks, 4/4 medium grade.
Two sets of strings, Dominants or others.
Sound post material, 6-6.5mm diameter.
Two each of violin tailpieces, tailguts, fine tuners and end buttons.
1⁄4” and 3⁄4” Hock Knife Blades (one each)
Stanley plane # 9 1⁄2 or something similar
Chisel 5/8” or wider
Metropolitan Peg Shaver
Peg hole reamer
Small fine tooth saw for cutting peg ends
Sound post Setter
Sound post retriever
Sound post mirror
Mousetail file or individual files for each string (come in sets) one mousetail works fine
Flat medium coarse file (0 gauge) don’t stress the gauge
Sandpaper 120, 220, 400, 600 sheets
Small dividers
Bend-a-light Pro by Steelman for looking inside instrument (Metropolitan carries these)
Ceramic Stones from Metropolitan 1000-6000 grit
Coarse diamond stone
Digital Calipers
Flexible 30 centimeters ruler
Grease pencil
Soft 9B pencil
String lifter
Medium coarse diamond stone
Berber Peg Shaver or Alberti Design Shavers


Tool Suppliers:

Woodcraft Tool Supply                                  

Metropolitan Music Company*                    

International Violin Company, Ltd                

Stewart McDonald                                         

Japan Woodworker                                         

Diefenbacher Tools

Alberti Design

Lie Nielsen Toolworks

Lee Valley

Or hardware stores such as Ace, Home Depot, Lowes, Sears


*CONTACT Metropolitan Music for a complete pre-packaged tool box for purchase at a discount. The cost of the tools and box package is $465.00. The normal price would be $600, a savings of $135. Call 866-846-5461 or email sales@metmusic.com

Please be advised that having good and proper tools is critical for success in this course. Garage sale bought tools will probably be more trouble than they are worth.


Instructor Bios


Basic Violin Setup I and Tool Use

  • Francis Morris

    Francis Morris is a 1974 graduate of the world-renowned violinmaking school in Mittenwald, Germany. Subsequently he worked with Fritz Baumgartner in Basel, Switzerland, and at the shops of Hans Weisshaar and Robert Cauer in Los Angeles. Since opening his own shop in 1984, he has provided his customers with high quality instrument restoration, fine sound adjustments, and the sale and service of instruments and bows. He won an award for tone at the prestigious Violin Society of America’s 2002 competition. He is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and the Violin Society of America. He currently lives and has a shop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, nestled in the Berkshires near the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival.

  • MorganEve Swain

    MorganEve can't remember a time when the violin wasn't a central part of her life. Making her meager living performing since 2002, in 2015 she began working part time at McCarten Violins in Providence, RI. Her roles at the shop quickly evolved from customer service to instrument technician and for several summers she attended the Violin Craftsmanship Institute to study with Francis Morris, Michael Daddona, Lynn Hannings, Amanda Kapouzous and Paul Weismeyer. She continues to perform with several touring bands and now enjoys off-road time handling bow rehairs for McCarten Violins and working independently on violins, violas and bows from her home-shop in Bethel CT.

09:00am - 05:00pm
Live Online
Francis Morris
999.00 PDT - Violin Institute
1099.00 PDT - Violin Institute