Introduction to Violin Making

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

In a traditional violin making school, students spend the first couple of weeks making a template and mould that they will then use to make a violin. By the time they finish these, they really know the shape of the violin; they will notice whether a curve is “right” or not. They will also demonstrate basic tool handling. But it can also lead to frustration. “I put in all that work, and all I have to show for it is a violin-shaped piece of plywood!” 

These days, you can buy excellent templates and moulds. But if you have not yet trained your eye to really “see” the violin shape, you may not notice developing problems, and your violin may end up with flat spots and curve irregularities. 

Making a violin from a kit provides the same intense “looking” at the violin that making a mould does. It will test your tool skills and your attention to detail. At the end of the week, you will have trained your eyes; plus, you will have a good idea of whether you want to continue in violinmaking. Best of all, you are likely to have made a playable violin “in the white”. 

Depending on the kit, you will:

  • Bend, cut, and glue the purfling
  • Finish the sinking
  • Set the neck
  • Shape the button and neck root
  • Finish the edges
  • Clean up the scroll
  • Fit the saddle, end button, and pegs

Because this class is being offered online, and because students may not have made a commitment to violinmaking, the tool list is fairly minimal. Various tools and tool improvisation will be discussed.

A full list of tools and materials required for this course 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


Introduction to Violin Making

UNH Course: Introduction to Violin Making

Instructor: Claire Curtis

For a list of the required tools and materials, please contact Claire Curtis at claire@curtisviolins.com (Put UNH-VCI in the subject line, if possible).


Instructor Bios


Introduction to Violin Making

  • Claire Curtis

    Claire Curtis is a violin maker and restorer in Southern Maine. She started her violin career in 1990, taking classes at the UNH Violin Craftsmanship Institute. Over the next ten years she took courses in violin repair (with Hans Nebel and Horst Kloss), bow repair (with Arnold Bone and Lynn Hannnings), bow making (with Lynn Hannings), and finally, violin making with Geigenbaumeister Karl Roy. Later, she became one of Karl Roy's workshop assistants, and he asked her to help him research and write his book “The Violin: Its History and Making” (published 2006), for which she travelled to Mittenwald and Cremona. 

    Claire attended the Oberlin Violin Workshop for setup, acoustics, and restoration, which exposed her to a wide variety of approaches and techniques used by luthiers around the world. She was, for a time, editor of the Journal of the Violin Society of America and is currently on the staff of the Oberlin Violin Restoration Workshop and the Board of Directors of the Violin Society of America.


  • Mikel Watts, Assistant

    Mikel has been a student at the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute since 2016. Attending the institute and learning to become a violin maker has always been a dream of his. He has recently joined the Violin Society of America and is looking forward to the opportunity to become involved in the organization. Mikel has been a woodworker and cabinetmaker for over 30 years. His experience in this field has translated well into world of violin making. 

09:00am - 05:00pm
Live Online
Claire Curtis
999.00 PDT - Violin Institute
1099.00 PDT - Violin Institute