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Call 0422 945 752 

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Woobys Lane
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

Filtering by Tag: France

Cello Bow No.2

Philip Smith

This is my new cello bow. Cello bow No.2, we shall call it, as this is my second bow and the first I have completed since returning from France last May. The process of 'tooling up' and securing supplies has been almost excruciatingly slow, one of the disadavantages of living on an island at the bottom of the Earth far from European and Brazilian suppliers. Cello bow No.2 is made from a beautiful Pernambuco stick, a gift from Lyon archetier, Sylvain Bigot. I was lucky enough to meet Sylvain in his atelier in Lyon on my travels last year, having received a recommendation to him from

Jean-Luc Tauziede

, my bow making Master and mentor.

Sylvain's workshop

is on the second floor of a wonderful building in the smart shopping district of Lyon. To gain entry you must buzz the bell next to his nameplate at street level. The entrance is adorned with the typical white on blue street number, the brass nameplates of the occupants, wooden doors and ornate carvings in the stone architrave. Once access is given to the building you ascend the stairs to this wonderful workspace.


Sylvain gave me a very warm welcome and much invaluable advice and knowledge. He sent me away with much encouragement and the gift of this beautiful pernambuco stick so I could continue my bowmaking journey. Merci Sylvain!


Philip Smith

Well, I am back from my travels but I am not sure that you could say I have actually 'landed' yet. Apart from the jet lag, the bowmaking adventures of the last 7 weeks have kept me flying.

You may notice I have changed my profile to read "Bow maker and luthier...". I have made my first bow, or as my new French friends would say " Mon premier archet". The journey to France and to the world of bow makers and bows was an amazing adventure. I had a feeling before I went that bow making was for me and, happily, I was right. It's brilliant! The combination of woodworking, metal working, jewellery making and sculpting required to create these amazing things hit just the right note for me. If I was French, which now I wish I was, I would shrug my shoulders and scowl slightly in that inimitable, off-hand Gallic style and say "Oui..., its good for me."

The bow making journey began in Paris with a chance drop in on luthier James Chauvelin. His atelier happened to be close to where we were staying. As it turned out a double bass specialist as well. He offered me a very warm welcome and a tour of his beautiful collection of instruments/bows. While perusing his Bows and Basses two of France and Norway's best bassists arrived and I quickly handed the bass I was playing over to these formidable bassists, and listened to the show. We also spent a considerable amount of time discussing Basses, bows, restoration, setup and a whole lot of other luthier secrets they were only to happy to share.

There are many more stories to tell but now a huge 'Merci, merci, merci" has to be given to

Jean-luc Tauziede

and his family who welcomed me so warmly, Jean-luc thanks for teaching me so well and sharing your passion and your bow making secrets . Also thanks to

Patrice Taconne

, Sylvain Bigot,

Sandrine and Jean-Francois Raffin


Gilles Duhaut


James Chauvelin


Christian Laborie

and all the other archetiers and luthiers who gave up their time, knowledge, bows and instruments so freely and generously.

And to the

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

- thank you, thank you, thank you. The opportunities the Trust provides to Australians, to get out into the world to make connections and to garner knowledge and skills unavailable on our home shores is immeasurable in the good it does the individuals, their professional communities and all of us as a result.

Au revoir! Bon Voyage!

Philip Smith

I know, I know, a long time between posts, but things have been tres busy around here. It took some time to get going on a new instrument after last year's cello frenzy. Now she has begun to take shape. Once the ribs are done you get a much better idea of the instrument's form. The

Francois Rabbath Quenoil Double Bass.

Aside from organising our upcoming French Odyssey, much scratching away on orchestral excerpts has been done by my good self in preparation for an audition for the

new Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra

. I am happy to say that I was successful and now I am 'primed to make the big bucks' as a professional orchestral musician when I get back from France. The orchestra's first concert will be in April and my first gig with them will be in June. While it will not, in fact, make me rich, I am looking forward to playing. See you there.


Ok, so as of this Friday we will be jet-setting our way across the globe to begin the Smith French Bow making Odyssey. Wish me luck as I have managed to master only two phrases in French, neither of which have anything to do with bow making. But they will know my name and where I am from, if they can comprehend my Tasmanian French accent.

I will attempt to keep you posted on the blog as to our adventures. I will update while recovering form a hard day in the workshop with a nice local fromage and a big glass of Bordeaux's finest.

Back on Monday the 24 May!

This could be you - check out the

Churchill Trust website


S"il vous plait

Philip Smith


So, it's been a while between posts but the story remains basically the same. Still cello making but loads of progress has been made.

Cello No. 6 is being varnished and is beautiful. This one is a lighter colour than the others. Golden yellow with a coat or two of warm brown have made this honey glow. Funny stuff varnish, you never know quite how its going to turn out. Its part of the alchemy that goes into the complete instrument and its bloody hard work to get it right. 

Plans for the trip to France stalled until contact was made with

Jean Luc Tauziede,

master archetier,  who has willingly agreed to take me on for four weeks of training in the art of the French bow. How exciting! Such an honour to be learning from such a master craftsman. Next April is the planned departure time. 

It was very daunting  but great to speak to Jean Luc. The conversation highlighted the need  to get some French language skills together. The Tasmanian accent was a challenge  for him. Not sure how far " Je m'appelle Phillippe." will take me.  There is a  story about a friend of a friend who went around Paris with the simple request - " S'il vous plait pie?" ( with the 'pie' pronounced 'poy').  Not sure how far he got with that.

Cello No. 7 is in a collection of parts but will be taken on its own unique identity very shortly.