Traditional Violin vs Paduk Violin

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Project by DS posted 10-22-2011 07:36 AM 3081 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The first violin is made with traditional maple and spruce woods in the traditional manner.

The next one was an experiment in the exotic. I must have tapped on a hundred different species of woods before discovering the excellent tone qualities of paduk. It made a real mess out of my shop but the sound is amazing.

The paduk portion of this violin is finished with clear varnish with no added colors or dyes. Its spruce top has a custom mixture of aniline dyes for color matching.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

15 comments so far

View CJay's profile


133 posts in 3744 days

#1 posted 10-22-2011 09:51 AM

Cool, I’m fascinated with making instruments (one of many projects on my ‘to do’ list), and i’m even more curios as to what wood work. Seems that guitars come in a much greater range than other stringed instruments. Nice to know someone’s playing with new ideas.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - -

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1910 posts in 4185 days

#2 posted 10-22-2011 01:40 PM

AWESOME!!! Luthiers are the best woodworkers!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 3205 days

#3 posted 10-22-2011 02:13 PM

That is just beautiful.

-- Chuck

View Jimboe's profile


257 posts in 4263 days

#4 posted 10-22-2011 02:36 PM

thats is so awesome …would love to learn about building one !!

View JRL's profile


104 posts in 3052 days

#5 posted 10-22-2011 02:43 PM

Just curious. Did you have any reaction to the paduk while working the wood, especially during sanding or planing? I ask because it rates high on the toxicity chart.
I really admire the finished product and wish I could listen to its music.

-- Jay in Changsha

View PhiltheLuthier's profile


57 posts in 3282 days

#6 posted 10-22-2011 02:50 PM

Nice work! How’s the weight on the padauk instrument? I made a fiddle out of rosewood once and it must weight three times what my maple fiddles do.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4731 days

#7 posted 10-22-2011 03:26 PM

That really beautiful.

I love working with padauk, but the shop mess is almost unbelievable, isn’t it?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Schwieb's profile


1894 posts in 3974 days

#8 posted 10-22-2011 07:50 PM

Wonderful work. I can’t imagine that there is less that 100 hours in a finished instrument. Fine stuff!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 3663 days

#9 posted 10-23-2011 05:12 PM

Oh my! that is Gorgeous!!

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View woodmight's profile


113 posts in 3569 days

#10 posted 10-23-2011 07:23 PM

Wow you have just given me some ideas to try Paduk on the Back Board of my Mandolins…. But I’m not looking forward to having orange dust all over the shop.. :) I like yourself, I have tapped many a board looking for that right sound. Excellent job, it looks fantastic. I hope you got the sweet sound you where looking for out of it.

-- ~~ Remember You can't saw... What you can't see ~~

View DS's profile


3303 posts in 2933 days

#11 posted 10-24-2011 05:46 PM

Jay: Reaction, yes! Paduk will stain anything, if it gets wet. That means purple fingers most days. I got to where I would blow out the garage with air after each session to keep the red dust from tracking into the house. Paduk leaves a taste that reminds me of the old ammonia based mimiograph paper that I used to get in elementary school back before the days of Xerox copies. (Yes, I am THAT old!) We used to dare our friends to lick the back of the handouts the teacher would give us! Yuck! Paduk also made my nose run pretty bad. Red boogers aren’t much fun.

PhiltheLuthier: The wieght was similar to the Maple of a traditional instrument. I choose Paduk because it has a much more lively sound in the low registers than the Maple. It rings like a bell when tapped. To me, many of the available Maples advertised as tonewoods are rather dull sounding except for the rarest specimins. After graduating and tuning the back plate, the weight was fairly close to the same.

These two instruments have excellent tone qualities. I’ve had them both in the studio and recorded them side by side. The Paduk really shows off with a quick response to the bow.

The end result of this experiement far exceeded my expectations and my current violin project is another Paduk using all the lessons learned from the first.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4674 days

#12 posted 10-30-2011 01:01 PM

huh… that’s my “learned something new every day” wisdom—tapping on the wood to find the right sound.
beautiful instruments!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3380 days

#13 posted 10-30-2011 01:52 PM

It’s absolutely beautiful work.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3500 days

#14 posted 11-15-2011 12:51 AM


-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4090 days

#15 posted 11-29-2011 10:43 PM

Wonderful work of art

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