Process

Design

My instrument designs are inspired by those of the Italian masters of the 17th and 18th century and are made using traditional tools, methods and materials. My goal is to provide  instruments that have the tone, playability and aesthetic beauty that will be prized by you, the musician.

Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada Violin Design
Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada violin rib shavings

Wood selection

Wood selection is essential to the making of a good instrument. Specific species, where and how fast the tree grew, how dry is it and how it was dried, density, stiffness, speed of sound etc. must all be considered when choosing high quality wood. I take the selection of wood seriously and source my wood from experienced luthier suppliers, spruce from the Dolomite region in Italy, and maple from the Balkans.

Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada Wood
Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada Wood

Making

My making process follows traditional methods to create instruments of the highest quality, using only the finest materials.

Varnish

Varnishing is a multi-step process that takes place over a number of weeks. Done properly, this protects, enhances the beauty and improves the tone of the instrument. I have done a great amount of research and experimentation in the development of my varnishing system using only the finest, historically accurate methods and materials. 

Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada
Joe Leahy Violin Maker Luthier Toronto Canada making violin varnish

Setup and Adjustments

Setup is the final stage of defining the sound and ease of playability of the instrument. The finish of the neck, proper fitting of the pegs, tailpiece, nut and saddle, fingerboard shape, soundpost placement and choice of strings, are all carefully refined. Minor changes to any of these can make a significant difference to the tone and projection of the instrument. Getting this all right is entirely dependent on the skill of the maker.