San Marcos man crafts award-winning violins
Doug Lawrence of San Marcos stands next to his model of a 1714
Stradivari that he made, which won first place in the musical
instrument division at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar on Tuesday.
Hayne Palmour IV
MAR ---- Once employed as a computer specialist, Doug Lawrence began
his new career as a violin maker a few years ago by teaching himself.
took a few woodworking courses at Palomar College, found a couple of
instructional books, and made his first violin in 2001.
had dabbled in making furniture as an amateur for the last 20 years,"
he said. "But I got into violin making because I realized that you
didn't need that many complicated tools."
he's winning prizes for woodworking at the San Diego County Fair. He
has won first prize in the musical instrument category for the last
three years, this year for his violin made in the style of Italian
legend Antonio Stradivari.
Small children and grown men stood
transfixed Tuesday at the fair, as Lawrence demonstrated how he shaved
the parts that would form his next violin with a thumb-sized plane.
and Kevin Smith, past president of the Southern California Association
of Violin Makers, explain their craft every Tuesday, Thursday and
"Violin making is the pinnacle of woodworking," Smith
said Tuesday. "If made properly, a violin should last for hundreds of
Violin makers in Southern California stick together
because there is no formal academy for violin making in the area; the
nearest is in Salt Lake City, according to Smith.
San Marcos resident, said that although he plays guitar but not violin,
he became a violin maker partly because violin making used mostly hand
tools. Also, his brother plays violin professionally, and his brother
helped reassure him that his efforts were worthwhile.
"If it sounded like a cigar box with strings, I would have been a little discouraged," he said.
More information about violin-making is available at: http://www.scavm.com/.