Instrument Making Classes
Brief Program Outline:
Classes are designed for the contemporary violin maker who has completed primary studies and wishes to enhance their skills in specific areas of the craft.
Three different types of classes are offered.
- Varnish - making varnish, the application process, and working the varnish to achieve the desired visual and acoustic results.
- Setup - Setup is responsible for easily 50% of the players and audience’s response to an instrument yet there is remarkably little understood and incorporated into modern instruments. Full setup will be reviewed from the bass bar to the finished instrument.
- Woodworking - Learning a flexible approach to building that allows the maker significantly more leeway to modify each instrument in ways that build upon previous experience, incrementally.
The duration of each class is flexible depending on the participants and subject. All classes will take place in my shop located in Fayetteville, AR.
Schedule: Classes are offered throughout the year and are scheduled when we have a large enough waiting list for the particular class. Contact us through the website to be put on the waitint list and you will be notified when we are planning a class.
Cost: varies as to subject and duration. Email any questions through the contact page of this website.
Minimum Requirements of Students:
Must have graduated from instrument making school or be able to demonstrate equivalent skill level.
Click the headings below to read testimonials from previous students.
The week I spent with you was well worth the time and money. Two aspects seem particularly worth commenting on. First, I appreciated that you were working on your own instrument, so I could see your techniques "in action." It was encouraging (and inspiring actually) to see just how fast, effective, and efficient a person can be at basic tasks like splitting and fitting blocks, flattening and joining plates, bending and fitting ribs, etc. It is one thing to know in principle how quickly this all can be done, but much better to see. In this vein, it was also very useful to note what tasks you chose to do quickly and adequately and what tasks you chose to take great care with. Cutting the purfling channel and fitting the purfling are examples of the former, and arching is an example of the latter. Seeing the contrast in your working habits emphasized beyond words the importance you give to arching.
The second aspect that I appreciated was your willingness to discuss clearly and explicitly certain nuances of making. I think, for example, of the relationship between f-holes and arching. What I learned there will make a real difference to the look and sound of my instruments.
Of course, there were many other matters large and small that came up during the week: aspects of wood selection, preparation of the wood for receiving the varnish, varnish cooking, purfling making, comments on useful (and less useful) tools, aspects of setup, tricks for really seeing the arching and f-holes, and on and on.
In short, a good and worthwhile week.
"I am very pleased with Terry Borman's varnish workshop. I've attended many violin workshops over the past 12 years, and this was by far the best in terms of quantity and quality of information. The range and depth of material covered was remarkable. Wood selection, violin making details, tanning processes, varnish making, application, antiquing, and many other topics were well explained and demonstrated."
Borman's expertise in violin making is as impressive as is his devotion to research and testing. Rather than resting on tradition, as do most makers, Borman constantly questions and refines his methods, tests and retests, records data on everything, reads research papers in numerous fields, and arranges CT scans of fine Cremonese violins. Such activities, plus many years of building instruments for elite clients, make Borman an exceptionally rewarding teacher. I feel grateful and fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time in his shop. The information I learned will make a big difference in the quality of my own work"
"Thanks so much for sharing your craft with us last week in Fayetteville. I came away with a wealth of knowledge — even more than the valuable insights you shared regarding varnish. I'm confident that these newly acquired skills will serve me well over the next few years. The character and beauty of the experimental violin that we started together is stunning. This is exactly what I was aiming for! I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with you. My batch of varnish has been blended with Turp. and went into solution well, with a little coaxing of some heat (jar in hot water). The color matches well with the batch of yours that we experimented with — this one having perhaps a hint more reddish tones. I've dubbed this batch, "Dolce". I'm sure I'll have questions as I get deeper into my own experiments. I've begun the stripping process on several violins here in preparation for my work with Dolce.Once again, thank you."
Terry Borman's setup workshop is not your usual violin adjustment course. He showed convincingly how an experienced Master gets superior results compared to luthiers using standard methods. These results were obtained, in part, by departing from many standard specifications for construction details and setup, and instead using a clever assortment of innovations. Neck set, bass bar, bridge, post, and other details were done differently from what my previous instruction had taught me, but all changes were justified by Borman's 30+ years of high-level making for fine players. The best part of the course was a demonstration of his adjustment procedure to improve tone and response.
Results speak for themselves: My own violin that we adjusted during the workshop sold quickly to a professional violinist.
The time I spent with you reviewing violin setup and adjustment was extremely valuable. I appreciated your careful preparation for our time together and thorough coverage, demonstration of procedures, and willingness to answer any questions I wanted to ask. Starting with proper bassbar placement before the closing of the corpus, we continued through neck setting, fingerboard shaping, size and shape of nut and saddle, design and adjustment of bridge and post, considerations for selecting appropriate chinrests, choice of strings, fine tuner, and tailpiece, and tailgut. Finally, we spent time going through the adjustment process for optimum sound quality.
After I returned I showed the violin I had worked on to a number of players in the National Symphony Orchestra. Their opinions were highly complementary, and I know that much of that reflected the improvements in setup and adjustment that came out of the time with you.
©2015 Borman Violins