Pochette – finished at last

Posted by jerry on March 13th, 2008 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Music, Woodwork

Many of you will have been following my progress on building a pochette or travel fiddle on my other blog
After a total of about ten days work spread over about six weeks I now have a pochette! They said it takes ages to learn how to make a violin – they were right – I must’ve studied violin making for at least three hours, reading the whole book from cover to cover (ok looked at the pictures…).

Bit of work on the bandsaw, the drill press and the angle grinder and there it was…

And quite suddenly the instrument was finished.

As I tightened the strings I could hear that at least some of my wild guesses were right, and I was rewarded with a warm sound almost as loud as a normal violin. In fact it is as loud as my Maggini copy. That was my first surprise. The second was that with the first tuning up the wood moved to accommodate the strain and the strings quickly went out of tune. But after a couple of hours it stabilised and I was rewarded with quite a reasonable sound at good volume. Not too bad for a first attempt!

Here is the instrument that inspired mine

And finally – what does it sound like? I’ll let you be the judge!



Comment by John

Is there a way to hear it? Please?

Posted on June 10, 2008 at 10:19 pm

Comment by jerry

Yes – just wait until near the end of the video 🙂

Posted on June 11, 2008 at 7:49 am

Comment by Meta

Neat! I was wandering around looking for how to put a chin rest on a violin when it has no holes yet for the clamp and stumbled on this. I have to say I love it when people just go for it and try their hand at making instruments even when so many people say “Oh no, you have to study for years, it’s a trade you have to live.”

I think that’s a bunch of crap. People all throughout history whip up the most amazing instruments and for some reason a select few are chosen as “You can only build this if the knowledge has been passed down from the generations to you.” It’s the same with pianos.

My dad refurbished a grand for my mom and every time he’d go to chat with people on how to do one thing or another they’d give him this snotty attitude instead of just answering the question… so he read a book instead.

Sure there are things that practice and reading up on can improve but it really isn’t something people should be afraid of trying themselves if they have the time and the bit of money to toss at it.

Posted on April 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

Comment by jerry

Thanks for the comment – yes people said the same thing to me too. But having done a bit of woodworking I realised that when you strip away the romantic associations, the thing is a box with a neck and strings. People have made cigar box fiddles for years. For me the pochette was about learning about the basics of ‘real’ violin making while simplifying the process a bit, and at the same time solving a practical problem of how not to have an airline wreck my good instruments when I travel. Everyone starts somewhere, and I found Ossman’s book really helpful in de-mystifying the process.
A chin rest clamps to the outside so it doesn’t require any holes – it clamps to the slight overhang over the ribs next to the tailpiece


Posted on April 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

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