Contact Philip

Call 0422 945 752 

or email

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: varnish

Cello Numero Dieci

Philip Smith

This is cello no. 10 in the white being played by a 'mystery cellist'.

Based on 'The Sleeping Beauty' Montagnana made circa 1739. This is my preferred model, because of its broad proportions which results in robust, earthy sound with much depth and presence (like a fine wine or a good woman). I always have players test out an instrument in the white before the final varnish, to gauge the instrument's potential and for final adjustments. This particular instrument has an excellent open sounding A string and more C string than you know what to do with. Thanks very much to my willing mystery cellist!

The cello is currently being varnished and polished to within an inch of its life, as is required. And is soon to be heard in a southern Tasmanian venue near you.

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.