Newark School of Violin Making
RAB Award 2019
Sarah was awarded a work placement at Stringers, London.
This is her report:
“I am extremely grateful to the RAB Trust and to Stringers for arranging this work experience for me. I was very excited about it because of the valuable experience I knew I would gain from it. I now have a good insight of what it’s like to work as a violin restorer and above all my confidence and motivation has increased greatly from this work experience. The placement exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed every moment of it.
I worked on two violins: made nuts, reshaped saddles and fingerboard, fitted new pegs, made a peg bushing and retouched it. I re-glued open seams, did a bit of cleaning and soundpost and bridge.
Throughout the week my main task was to set up a 161 year old French violin. I started off with a peg bushing and with Antoni’s guidance I understood more clearly how retouches are done and managed to do my best retouches so far.
In addition to that, I was shown a few methods that were new to me, such as fitting a bridge using oil paint or carbon paper, or even fitting pegs using a scraper and making them nice and clean, thus providing a more accurate fit and a better feel for the player when tuning the instrument. I also learned the importance of taking into account all the instrument’s measurements when finding the position of the bridge.
I’ve seen how much the restorers were oriented towards perfection and good sound quality. In that vein, Antoni taught me a few sound adjustment tips.
To see how things could be done in a more detailed manner and generally better than I was used to did raise my standards higher and made me want to check all my previous works and bring corrections. I enjoyed this work experience as I now feel more confident with my skills and excited to put into practice what I’ve learned.
I’ve been offered a summer job there for the month of August so I’ll definitely see them again. Once again, thank you for offering me the opportunity to develop my skills and work as a professional!”