My interest in music began at a early age when I played the brass horns in school. In my early twenties, I heard the violin and was instantly amazed of the range of the instrument and how it produced its music. Living in Montana at the time, I purchased two dozen instruments from a small violin shop and apprenticed there learning various repair and setup techniques.
After several years I met another violin restorer/maker while living in Wisconsin. My technique and understanding blossomed as I was able to see many valuable 18th century Italian instruments come through the shop. Having the opportunity to hold such instruments is paramount to understanding the violin and the dynamics that exist from creation to being put into the players hands.
After honing my skills at the bench doing repairs, I decided to begin making instruments patterned after Guarneri Del Gelsu. A Italian violin maker from the 17th century, he built instruments considered today to be some of the finest sounding ever made. Following his design allows me to produce instruments that produce a pleasant warm tone and project their voice amongst the other instruments in the orchestra setting so they can be heard by the players. Unless you are a player, you would never realize how important it is to have a instrument that a player can hear when you are among a ensemble. Many instruments lose their voice when put in the crowd and players struggle when they have inferior instruments.
Much of my technique is hand work although I do use some power tools to complete the heavy sawing and planing. These power tools not only save the back but they help expedite the process of making a violin. Being a small shop and working alone, I don't have apprentices to do that work for me. The old masters themselves developed their own tools to speed the process and feel this does not take away from the art of the craft.