This course is intended as supplementary to the nine-day Musical Instrument Making course. It aims to offer the opportunity for student to:
1. Prepare to make a new instrument on the nine-day course.
2. Continue or finish ('fitting up') an instrument made on a previous nine-day course at West Dean College.
Work can include the following aspects:
(1) Starting a viol, viola d'amore or Baroque violin or a beginner’s instrument
This preparatory course will enable you to make and prepare all the necessary moulds, jigs and templates for the instrument of you choice following discussion with the tutor.
It also gives you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the technical drawings and plans of your instrument, in preparation for the nine-day course. If time, you may prepare the timber for the instrument.
The tutor will advise where to obtain materials. Technical drawings and fittings may be supplied by the tutor, if requested. The tutor will telephone or email students directly to discuss specific needs, prior to the course.
(2) Finishing your instrument
The course will focus on general discussion and demonstrations of varnishing instruments and final polishing. Fitting bridges, pegs and nuts. Setting up the action of the strings, and setting the sound-post will also be covered.
You should note that certain aspects of finishing, polishing and varnishing can only be covered in theory, since the facilities used at this time are not suitable for varnishing instruments.
Teaching is generally on a one-to-one basis, catering for the student’s individual needs and dictated by ability, previous experience and knowledge. There will be group demonstrations where appropriate. As the course takes place in the main workshop, adjacent to the other courses in this series, you will also gain knowledge by interaction with fellow students and other tutors. Health and safety is dealt with as an integral part of the course.
Please note: humidity levels in the workshop are variable to dry; whilst the College has addressed this, as some factors are beyond our control, instruments are brought at your own risk.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
Renate Fink trained at the London College of Furniture, later London Guildhall University as a maker of early fretted instruments. She worked for several violin shops in England and on the continent before setting up her own business. She has been teaching at West Dean since 1998. Renate is a member of the British Violinmaking Association.