Stradivari violin copy – top block

Posted on | June 2, 2010 | No Comments|

This month I’ve finished the woodwork of a Stradivari copy I’m making for a client in Quebec. It’s now ready for varnishing and will be antiqued to capture the feel of the original violin.

Before I glued the front on  I stained the inside which is photographed below.  This violin is a copy of particularly well preserved example and I thought I’d also copy the top block inside as well.


When Stradivari was making his violins he attached the neck to the body with three iron nails and glue.   Some makers preferred to use one nail but the basic idea was common across Europe. The nails went through the top block into the neck to  hold the neck in place while the glue dried and form a strong joint. While many of the top blocks in older violins have been replaced during repairs and modernization,  some have survived.  The nails often have have removed, the necks modernized and mortised into the block in the modern way.

In this violin I’m making, I copied the look of an original top block with the three iron nails removed.  I took an antique hand made nail with almost all of the shaft filed off and hammered three marks.  This left just the imprint of the head and a little depression from the shaft.  Finally I added stain so it would appear slightly dark from “years of slow rust”. (See below)



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    Guy Harrison Violin Maker
    792 Gladstone Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1R 6X9
    Tel: 613 569 4803

    1997 Silver medal for viola in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2010 Bronze medal for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2014 Workmanship award for violin in the Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition, Germany.

    2016 Silver Workmanship medal for cello in the VSA Violin Making Competition, USA.

    Member of the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers and Violin Society of America.

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