Restoration of a violin by Claude A. Miremont, Paris 1856.

Posted on | January 20, 2009 | No Comments|


This fine French violin made in 1856 by Claude A. Miremont came into the shop a while ago after a terrible accident. I show this as a warning to players who rest their fiddles on chairs! As you can see the back and ribs were badly broken and to a lesser extent the front was also damaged.


After I carefully pieced the fragments back together and reinforced them inside with a maple patch, the result was almost as good as new. I fitted an ebony “crown” over the button. This replaced an older crown in maple which had been damaged.

(Note: On the left side by the purfling, there is a dark mark which is a small knot in the maple back.)

This repair work is very time consuming and expensive- but it preserves the value of the violin and once again it’s played and enjoyed by it’s long time owner.

Pernambuco and bow rehairing.

Posted on | January 14, 2009 | No Comments|

bowSince November last year, we have been donating 1 US dollar to ICPI with each bow rehair done in our shop.

ICPI is the “International Conservation of Pernambuco Initiative”. Each US dollar raised plants one Pernambuco sapling. This is goes toward an international effort to save this endangered Brazilian tree. Pernambuco has been the main source of the wood for over two centuries of bow making and has given so many wonderful bows.

I’m pleased to say that all my customers have been supportive of this venture. When they hear that Pernambuco may be controlled just like ivory unless something is done they have been pleased to help.

If the ICPI efforts are not successful the effects on players and makers will be serious. Just one example: no more traveling across international boarders with your favourite new or antique Pernambuco bow. It would be very difficult for traveling soloists, chamber musicians, touring orchestras or students studying abroad.

Let’s hope the Pernambuco forests spring back and the scenario above is avoided.


For information on the Pernambuco tree go to:

For general information on ICPI check out:

Concert February 6th-Alaya Quartet

Posted on | January 10, 2009 | No Comments|


The Alaya String Quartet is performing in Ottawa in February.

Based in Montréal, the Alaya String Quartet is comprised of four exciting players studying at l’Université de Montréal. Winners of the chamber music category in the Festival de Musique Classique du Bas-Richelieu, the quartet is currently coached by Johanne Perron and Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot.


When: February 6th, 8pm, 2009

Where: Glebe-St. James United Church 650 Lyon Street South, Ottawa.

Recital Program:
Claude Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 (1983)
Maurice Ravel String Quartet in F (1903)
Tickets available at the door.
Quartet member Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh performs on a 2002 Harrison violin modeled after Stradivari. And Emilie Grimes performs on a 2001 Harrison viola inspired by Andrea Guarneri.

3D Scan of a violin- Museum of Nature

Posted on | January 8, 2009 | No Comments|

This week I visited the Canadian Museum of Nature’s research centre and archive across the river in Quebec. I was there to see a demonstration of their 3D colour laser scanner. With this device, 3D images can be made of almost any object. Once the scans are on the computer, you’re able to rotate the image to view the whole object.


Above Senior Technician, Paul Bloskie is setting up the laser scanner onto the scroll of an old English violin. We brought this violin from the workshop as a test piece. The scanner produces a very precise 3 diminsional record of the violin. With this data and a “3D printer”, a solid composite model can be made. When copying a particular instrument, it’s useful to have a complete exact replica of the violin on the bench. The museum uses this technique to make models for their displays while the actual fossils are kept safe elsewhere. In the workshop at the moment I have many casts of Stradivari and Guarneri violins etc made from plaster and in plastic but this technique would be the next level up.


Above, standing in the centre is Roger Baird, Director of Collections Services at the Museum, who gave us the tour of the lab and museum. On the far left is Alex Tirabasso, 3D Production Assistant. His various work includes using the 3D images and producing animated films for the museum. Paul on the right is watching carefully as the laser moves slowly across the violin scroll.


The scanner is mounted on a huge granite table to avoid any vibration or movement. This keeps the measurements very precise.


Various passes of the scanner are needed to catch all the views around the scroll. These are then fitted together by Paul and the computer.


We didn’t have time to do a complete scan of the violin. As a test we scanned a section of the back of the violin. The reflective varnish is an issue. But by doing it in sections and then blending the best images together, one perfect complete 3D image can be made.

Roger Baird and I hope to see this technology used on fine violins in the future.

(photos by Olivia Walsh-Pelling)

Violin workshop bench – Ottawa.

Posted on | January 6, 2009 | No Comments|


This is my main bench in the workshop where I work every day on the second floor at 319  Catherine Street. (The workshop is now at 792 Gladstone Avenue   click here for

On the bench at the moment I’m finishing a copy of a Guarneri Del Gesu violin (Lord Wilton, ex-Menuhin) made in 1742. (I admit I cleaned the bench for this photo!)

I decided to start a workshop blog because there always seems to be interesting work happening in the shop and in my travels as a violin maker.

I thought this would be great way to let people know what we are up to. This blog is not really intended for other makers but for people interested in seeing what goes on in our violin workshop.

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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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