Contact Philip

Call 0422 945 752 

or email

Kellys Steps
Battery Point, TAS, 7004

+61 (0) 422945752

Philip Smith is a master  maker of stringed instruments and their bows. A master of refined artistry and exquisite tones from his master crafted bows and instruments. One of Australia's finest luthiers!



Maker Restorer Repairs Sales of Violin Viola Cello Double Bass and their Bows
Traditional and Baroque
Tasmania Australia

L'Alto Vernis

Philip Smith

After overcoming a significant mental block about commencing the varnishing process, I am preparing to put on the final coat of colour. to Viola No. 3 (Pictured are the 5 coats of coloured varnish, there are 3 to 4 process before this and two coats of clear to finish.)

Varnish has a big impact on the way people respond to the completed instrument - its colour, figure and finish. But varnishing is a bugger. There's no other way to put it. Quick drying oil varnish is hand applied to the instrument with badger hair brushes. When I say 'quick', I mean almost instantaneous. You basically get one shot at it. Any attempt to retouch a dodgy stroke simply makes a mess of it. The colour of the instrument is all in the varnish. It begins with the application of a ground of yellow, then to browns and brown/red mixes. Each layer enriches the instrument's colour and each gets increasingly harder to apply.

In a good varnish I like strong colour but maintaining good transparency to make the most of the highly figured maple, creating a three dimensional effect.