New Handmade Five String Fiddle

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Handmade Oregon Five-String Fiddle in Progess!

Just an update: This week was a hard one, in terms of getting things done. Unfortunately, I had some repairs to do; but I did complete the varnish prep work on the most recent five-string violin. Then I rubbed into it the mineral ground I use to fill the wood pores and prevent excessive varnish saturation.

The mineral ground (a suspension of fine particles of Gypsum, in coffee) dried rapidly. This allowed me to accomplish the final rubdown before varnishing began. Consequently, this evening, I applied the sealer, (a solution of rosin in turpentine) which is designed to soak in, and lock the mineral in place. After  the solvent evaporates, leaving only the resin in the wood, I can begin varnishing. I rubbed off the excess with a rag and alcohol to make sure no unwanted residue was drying on the surface.

Next Step: Varnish!

So, here is how it looks today. From here on out, it will be varnish and set-up: It promises to be a great fiddle! (And, it did!) I will post varnish progress soon.

This is the “sister instrument” to the earlier one I made of off-cuts from the  Five-string Double bass I had made. This one is from the other side of that Bass back plate.

front with sealer
Front view with sealer. I must have moved just a little, as I see it is blurred a little. But the color is accurate.


Treble side of five-string bluegrass fiddle, with sealer
Treble side, with sealer. I think those ribs are going to be beautiful!


Bass side of handmade Oregon 5-string fiddle with sealer.
Bass side, with sealer. Looks even nicer on this side!


Back view of Oregon Big Leaf Maple five-string fiddle with sealer.
Back view, with sealer. I like this best of all.

Drying Time

I always hang the fiddles in the dining room to dry, since we heat with wood, and that is where the woodstove is. The room stays warm, especially up near the ceiling. It really pays to allow sufficient time between coats, for the varnish to get dry.

Back of oregon five-string blurgrass fiddle with sealer drying.
Hanging in the dining room to allow the sealer to dry.


This is a pretty accurate view of the color, so far: I intend to use yellow varnish as my base coat(s) to produce a golden glow from within the color-coats.

Thanks for looking.

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