The Making Of A Stentor Violin
Hidden away on YouTube is this gem of a video from Stentor (see end of blog). Perhaps a little dry to start off with but it’s worth sticking with as it gives you a real insight into what is involved in the making of your Stentor violin. It leaves you with a better understanding of the highly skilled workforce that Stentor employ and the quality control that goes into the making of every violin.
Formed in South London in 1895 and now based in Reigate Surrey, in 1995 Stentor opened their own violin making factory in China. Some 20 years on they now have 200 workers in this factory making violins. Stentor violins are made mostly by hand, using virtually no power tools, just centuries old traditions passed down from the great European workshops. Not a lot has changed in over 300 years of violin making and this is a good thing. Wood is sourced and cut down and then stored in their own wood drying facility for a minimum of three years. Once seasoned and dried to the exact moisture content work is started on the violin. The outline shape of a violin is cut by hand using bow saw just like it was 300 years ago.
The front and the back of the violin are arched and shaped by hand. The F holes are cut by hand and trimmed using a craft knife.Every aspect of the violin making process is time consuming and highly skilled. Every Stentor violin has inlaid purfling which strengthens the violin at its edges. A channel is cut with a knife, the purfling is then shaped and knocked in with a hammer. Several coats of varnish are applied and reapplied at the end of the process. Care and expertise are needed here because varnish affects how the wood vibrates and sounds.
So what sets Stentor apart? What makes the Stentor violins good and why are they better than other violins at similar price points? The violins are consistent, you know what you are getting, a well made reliable violin whatever the model, whatever the price. I think the key to this consistency throughout the range is having their own factory in China. A Stentor violin is not bought in from another factory and then branded Stentor. From start to finish it it made in their own factory with their own highly skilled workforce. As the video shows they all have their individual parts to complete, it is a very specialised job and stringent quality control ensures standards are always met. Here at Reidys we have been selling the full Stentor range for over 20 years. They are loved and recommended by teachers throughout the country and our best selling violins by some distance. The attention to detail is second to none whether it be a Stentor Standard or an Arcadia violin at over £500.