Our generation has been told our entire lives that it is simply not possible to manufacture products locally. The prevailing business model in our industry and many others has been to offshore production to the poorest parts of the world, to buy in bulk and to get products shipped out here in containers. We have found that this process is:
Is not really as affordable as it seems due to the long lead times, issues with quality control and storage of mass amounts of inventory
Takes advantage of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet
In Australia we have some outstanding, award winning violin makers but as the process is so labour intensive the resulting high price-tag leaves most Australian-made instruments out of reach of most aspiring players.
We believe that through a fusion of traditional violin making techniques and the latest technology we are able to provide Australians with good quality string instruments that are built entirely here in Sydney, Australia. This is how we do it...
The Blueprint of a Violin
It all starts with a plan. We have chosen to model our range mostly after the classic Italian masters however we make many different models include some of our own design. When creating replicas of old instruments we can create the blueprint in one of two ways. Over several hundreds of years, many fine violins have been carefully researched and analysed. As a result we have access to the plans of many famous instruments including those of Stradivari and del Gesu. We have developed a process to carefully trace and then digitise these plans using CAD (computer aided design). Creating a 3D plan is actually a very complex and time-consuming exercise that can take as a long s it would for a skilled luthier to make a violin! You can see the result of this process in the video below.
Another way to create the necessary CAD plans is through either 3D scanning or CT scanning. We have used this process to create very accurate replicas of centuries old instruments with fascinating results.
The Power of CNC
Once the plans are completed, the next process is very similar to the modern phenomenon known as 3D printing… but in reverse. If we were going to 3D print a violin we would start with the exact same digital blueprint and we would print the violin from bottom. But we need to make our violins out of wood (we’re not adventurous enough to 3D print violins yet!) …so we start with spruce and maple, the same way that we have for hundreds of years and we use a CNC machine to carefully and very accurately carve out the parts of the violin that are then finished and assembled by hand.
Introducing the hardest-working member of our team. Since he’s Italian and makes violins we’ve named him Antonio (or Tony for short). He is a 5-axis CNC machine (that’s computer numerically controlled for those who aren’t tech-savy). Tony can read the plans which we have carefully prepared and with a little extra guidance he can use a series of different tools, just like a traditional violin-maker to create violin tops, backs, scrolls and other parts.
400 Years of Tradition
While we love new technology and the benefits it brings, we aim to be very respectful of all of the traditions of past luthiers. Creating truly amazing instruments requires the skill and expertise of skilled luthiers. Even though we rely on CNC for some processes much of what we do is still by hand. A good violin maker should be able to follow a design perfectly. A great violin maker is able to take the established design and then deviate from that design as called for by the individual piece of timber or for a specific outcome of sound.
We use traditional woods to make all of our instruments. Generally speaking the top/belly will be made out of spruce and the back/sides will be made out of maple. All wood is sourced from Europe and is aged and seasoned in the strictest condition, naturally dried, to ensure the best tone and stability. The wood for our high-end instruments comes from the Glanville's personal collection and some pieces date back over 100 years.