I am currently teaching courses in restoration techniques at the University of Applied Science, Markneukirchen.

These courses were initially created for students of the university but are now open to violin makers too./emphasis]

SHARING RESTORATION KNOW HOW

Restoration is an important part of the university’s research and learning program, enabling you to acquire new skills, and learn new methods and techniques that you can apply in your own workshop.

In the long term, the University of Applied Science, Markneukirchen, aims to become a centre for learning and developing the art and science that is restoration; a place where luthiers, restorers, musicians and students can come together to share ideas and best practice.

BECOMING A RESTORER

The path to becoming a restorer of stringed instruments is, currently, long and convoluted.

As a first step, students will usually study violin making in a private workshop or, more commonly nowadays, at a violin making school, where they learn to handle tools, woodwork, and the design and building of new instruments.

They will also receive a modicum of training in repair work, but the time devoted to this subject is limited, with the focus principally on making new instruments.

After completing their studies at violin making school, students typically spend several years in different workshops, where repair and restoration techniques are learned and refined, and instruments of various styles and schools are studied.

If they then choose to become restorers, they have to find a workshop which practises and teaches restoration techniques (an option which is sadly not always available).

Preservation and restoration are such an important part of modern lutherie, however, that educating the restorers of the future must become a priority.

Restoring antique instruments demands a unique skillset – and extensive training.

Working in cooperation with the University of Applied Science, Markneukirchen, we have a unique opportunity to incorporate restoration into the luthier’s studies.

The concept is unusual in that the students already have a traditional violin making background and education: they have been trained in the handling of tools, woodwork, and construction of instruments – essential foundations for their further training as a restorer of stringed instruments.

Our courses may be integrated into those ‘traditional’ studies, imparting the basic ideas and approaches associated with restoration.

This way, we can share essential restoration skills in an environment that offers room for learning and experimentation.

Currently our course takes place once a year and tackles more basic restoration techniques. But the duration of the course, and the topics covered, are to be expanded in the near future.

I also offer courses in restoration techniques for violin makers who are not students of the university.

These also take place once or twice a year, and cover the following topics.

  • Writing a condition report
  • Creating a restoration plan and estimate
  • Restoration techniques – including crack repairs, arching corrections, patches, edge repairs etc.
  • Retouching techniques
  • Sound adjustment
  • Other issues that participants might face in the course of their work

I generally work with small groups of up to six people, allowing every participant not only to work on their own projects but also to follow the development of their colleagues’ work, so as to learn from their experiences.

Over time, the University of Applied Science, Markneukirchen, is committed to creating an environment for luthiers, restorers, musicians and students to come together to acquire and develop new restoration techniques and to exchange ideas and best practice.

LOCATION

University of Applied Sciences
Department of Musical Instrument Making
D-08258 Markneukirchen
Adorfer Strasse 38