Contact Philip

Call 0422 945 752 

or email philip@atelierphilipsmith.com

Woobys Lane
Battery Point, TAS, 7004
Australia

+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!

VIOLIN VIOLA CELLO DOUBLE BASS AND BOWS

LUTHIER ARCHETIER

INSTRUMENT MAKER BOW MAKER

HOBART. TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

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atelier-bow-instrument-news

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

Filtering by Tag: bow

Ticking Boxes

Philip Smith

It's all about plugging my way through the endless list of jobs at the moment. For a while there I seemed to have started many things and not finished anything and so my wife, very helpfully, made a list for me. With tick boxes.

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This violin was ticked off last week.

On the top of the list now is another violin, but I am allowing myself to be distracted by making a double bass bow with no under slide and a lower frog. This is a return to how bows were originally made. The silver underslide was added for strength but there is a strong movement towards making bows without them. They are harder to make because the frog has to fit perfectly to the stick but it will be worth it for the

improved tonal qualities

.

Now, I'll just finish this and get back to the list.

Cello Bow No. 1

Philip Smith


It's all go here in the small workshop. Two violins, a satisfyingly large model viola and a cello are all underway, not to mention the bow commissions impatiently waiting in the wings.

The bass bow wood (sticks of Brazilian pernambuco) finally arrived from the USA. It was received with much excitement. After languishing at CITES for a few weeks, the supplier was told that as it was such a small amount it didn't require certification and was sent forthwith and after months of waiting, arrived in a few days.

Due to the rarity of pernambuco and the difficulty in obtaining it, I have started a little experimentation. The first experimental bow made from Tasmanian Dogwood a has been tested and has come up - not quite right. The wood isn't sufficiently dense, its too light and is refusing to be bent into the correct cambre. It works but unfortunately is not an adequate replacement.

I have another half a dozen Tasmanian species to try, but I am not sure when I will have the time to continue the experimentation.

I will keep you posted.


Mother of Pearl

Philip Smith




After a little searching, native Tasmanian green-lipped abalone shell for mother of pearl (a stunning material used for the pearl slide and pearl eyes on the frog of a bow) has been sourced. Saturday saw us pile the kids in the car and take a drive up the river in search of our local neighbourhood abalone diver.

On a stunning vineyard on the West Tamar we found several piles of 'stink' shells, as named by the kids, and I collected a box full. In my enthusiasm, the box was overfilled and unshuttable so the drive home was a little aromatic, but well worth it, as the shells cleaned up beautifully.




Its great to have a local Tasmanian material to use in my bow making. Most of the other exotic supplies - pernambuco, mammoth bone, ebony etc must be sourced from the far corners of the Earth.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnwhite/sets/72157594369988268/

Mmm, green lipped abalone, looks disgusting, tastes delicious!

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.

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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!

Baguettes

Philip Smith

It's been another long time between posts, I'm sure you've been missing me terribly. However, as I am constantly being reminded, everything in this business takes a long time.

My

pernambuco

baguettes arrived from the US last week. This endangered wood is only available because it is reclaimed from floorboards, fence posts etc in Brazil. Ordered from the Government approved registered pernambuco dealer in Brazil three months ago, they had to sit in New York awaiting inspection by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for two months before being released. They arrived in Australia complete with a permit from the "Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora" to be held up at Australian Customs for a fortnight. It was not the authenticity or provenance that the Oz Customs were concerned about, but how much GST to charge. Such a frustrating process. Luckily the dealer sent extra baguettes, in this wondrous array of tones, to compensate for the delay. Unfortunately, he had forgotten to include the four bass sticks, which are the items I really need to get started on, so here we go again. Like I said, nothing in my business happens quickly.

With the completion of all my Churchill Fellowship commitments - the report handed in, speech made etc., I was given this medallion by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Thanks Winston, or should I say " Merci!" (although he isn't looking too happy about it, is he? )

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Since I got back from France, full of the joys of bow making, two instrument commissions presented themselves. The first is for a smallish viola, my version of a Guadagnini, seen here with the first coat of coloured varnish. Now comes the tricky part of applying the darker colours. The viola was played by the owner in the white and was greatly appreciated for its tone, quick response and ergonomics.

This white violin, minus the neck which I am still making, is my trusted Guarneri 'del Gesu' model. This one should be ready to try in the white shortly. It's my violin number 12.

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Now back to my recently acquired new skills. This is a partially finished bass frog, awaiting the pernambuco stick. Made from ebony, Sterling silver and mother of pearl, this is for my first bow commission from my long suffering mentor and double bass teacher. Hopefully his patience will soon be rewarded.