making the mold
rough cuts
Paul MacDuff
marking out
shaping the back
the golden eagle
scroll work
ribs forming
glueing the ribbon linings on
standing on the tree stump with Otis
starting to graduate the plate
clamping on the back to the ribs
it's a bowl!
satisfying scroll
there's a hole in my f hole
evening reflections
the bass bar goes on
inside out
inside in
getting some new wood from a fallen spruce
pals
bee sting
my view from the school house where I stayed while working on my fiddle
the head
finger board shaping
the tricky hole
the bits are ready
neck glueing
lightning bolt purfling
rose wood peg making
peg turning
drying the varnish on the clothes line

I am an amateur fiddle maker. These images above are of my first fiddle that I made. I made them under the tutelage of luthier Otis Tomas in his workshop in Cape Breton. 

I received a professional development grant from the once called Scottish Arts Council to go over there for two months. I worked on the fiddle through the day and playing tunes with Otis and friends in the evenings. It was the most wonderful submerged introduction to fiddle making that anyone could ever ask for. I love this fiddle and it is my number one fiddle to play.

Since then I have made another one.. which took a good while longer than two months that is for sure... the journey was wild and bumpy... I collected pretty much all the tools I needed for the job, set up a wee workshop in our broken down campervan (see photo on Sissy Thistle Music page of it doubling as a recording studio), I had a child, broke my wrist, moved house, blaah blaah.... And finally last summer (2016) I finished it. Russell Hunter asked me to make this fiddle for him after playing my one. And the asking was praise indeed. He is a patient man.

To hear the sound of a fiddle after working on it for so long is a joy. And I am so delighted with the sound that she makes. She is beefy and sweet and beautiful.

See some photos below of Russell's fiddle.. named "Nuala".

back & ribs
inside of back
back before graduating
fire flame ribs
ribs get glued
elegant
I can see through!
a clamp collection for bass bar glueing
top
bottom
scroll taking shape
sunny scroll
a good moment
construction
feels grand under the chin
Attaching The Neck
Ready To Varnish
Purfled Corner
Purfling "N" Lighning Bolt
Purfling the Back
Nuala Lightning Bolt
Starting the Varnish
Pre Varnish Treatment
Pre varnish Treatment
In The Workshop, Finished
Side View
Nuala's Back
Nuala's Side
Nuala's Scroll
Nuala's Belly
Arching
Russle & Nuala Together

© 2015 by Sissy Thistle

    In The Workshop, Finished