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: violin

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.


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 This is a return to how bows were originally made.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.


Philip Smith

The violin making classes have been going for a couple of weeks on Tuesday nights. It's turning out to be quite the melting pot of ideas and creativity! There are two regular students and a couple readying themselves to put chisel to seasoned tone wood. Another is considering embarking on, my personal favourite project, making a double bass. After the success of Tuesday night's class (and the fact that 3 or 4 in the workshop takes up all the space), I am considering offering Thursday night classes as well.


So, if you have ever thought about making a stringed instrument - you can do it, with a little help from your friendly neighbourhood luthier. My contact details are on the side bar of the blog. Call or email and we can talk about the options.

Goodbye No 3

Philip Smith

Viola number 3 has been safely delivered to its new home.

Now there is a viola-sized hole in my workshop.

It's always a bit sad to see the instruments go after spending several months working on them so intensely. Still it has gone to a good home and the owner and teacher were both very pleased with the final result. Hoping to see and hear it at the next Hobart Chamber Orchestra concert where it will be playing with some of its siblings.

Violin number 12 is now demanding some attention and social services have been called about the bass in bits in my shop window.


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.



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? )


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.


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.

Philip Smith

Violin No.10 and Cello No. 4 have now been completed and have gone to good homes.  Two more cello commissions have arrived  and two more may be in the wings so the work schedule for the year is filling up fast.

Good news arrived today with confirmation of an interview for a Churchill Fellowship to study bow making in France.  A very exciting prospect so fingers crossed that the interview goes well and I'll be off to France for six weeks later in the year. Sounds terrible, doesn't it!

Violin No. 10

Philip Smith

Now it's looking like a real violin. After the cello, progress on the smaller instruments seems to happen so fast.

With this one the lower bout ribs are in one piece, so it has no join at the lower block. No join should mean no coming apart.

This morning has been spent wrestling with reticent suppliers and recovering from the shock of their post-global-financial-crisis price rises. Now to the task of cleaning up and rubbish removal. The piles of wood shavings are ankle deep around the workbench. Aaaah, a luthier's life ...

Progress is being made on the website with the help of a local photographer, Ben Southam, who has provided some fantastic shots of the workshop and instruments. The site will be updated and launched soon.