How it all began

Jan Santman

Early in the 1980s Bert got the chance to work with Jan Santman. Jan, who learnt the trade with Max Möller in Amsterdam, had during the 1970s set up as an independent violin maker in Beilen in Drenthe, close to Vries, the village where Bert was born. He encouraged Bert to widen his horizons and to search for a workplace abroad, particularly in France. There, he said, you will learn to combine craftsmanship with speed of production. Even though Bert didn’t spend all that much time with Jan, Jan’s influence on his career was considerable.

workshop-santman-en-bert
workshop-pages

Jean-Jacques Pagès

Bert found just such a workplace with Jean-Jacques Pagès. (For many years Jean-Jacques himself had worked for Etienne Vatelot in Paris, before starting his own workshop in Mirecourt). Between early 1986 and the end of 1988 Bert immersed himself in the French tradition of violin making that is so famous throughout the world. After three years it was once again time to move on.

Reinhard Ossenbrunner

Bert’s preference for Early Music and historical string instruments led him to Reinhard Ossenbrunner. In 1989 Bert was given the chance to become his apprentice. The years that followed proved exceptionally fruitful ones during which he definitively fell in love with Early Music and everything associated with it. Above all the Viol family became his great passion. In less than three years Reinhardt prepared him, firstly in Altwistedt (near Bremen) and later in Cologne, to start his own business as an independent viol maker.

learn more about Reinhard

workshop-ossenbrunner

Back in Vries

Bert opened the doors of his workshop in 1991. Since then many instruments have found their way into the hands of enthusiastic musicians, both amateur and professional.

Our working method

By studying and measuring many instruments in museums and private collections, Bert has been able to develop his own style as a maker. This enables him, within the given historical parameters, to translate your wishes concerning timbre and playability into an instrument tailored to the customer.

This will of course be in close consultation with Bert, whose own ideas and preferences play an important role within the co-operation between maker and customer.

The result will be an instrument that respects both the individual wishes of the player and the maker’s vision.

Workshop pictures

Cutting the trunks at Mr. Kok's lumberyard of in the neighbour village Eelde
At the Lumberyard
Cutting the trunks at Mr. Kok's lumberyard of in the neighbour village Eelde
Selecting the woods for in this case a 7-string bas viol
Selecting the woods
Selecting the woods for in this case a 6-string bas viol
Making the blocks
Making the blocks
Bending the ribs
Bending the ribs
fitting the linings with wooden clothes pegs
linings
attaching the tailpiece holder to the ribs
tailpiece holder
making the scroll
the scroll
making the scroll
the pegbox
the pegbox
almost finished
back joint
back joint
glueing the soundbar
soundbar
glueing the soundbar
the back, ready to be glued to the ribs
the back
glueing the back to the ribs
glueing the back
glueing the back to the ribs
glueing the back
some decorations on the back
decorations
making the belly joint
belly joint
the start of shaping the belly
the rough belly
shaping the belly, the french way
shaping the belly
shaping the belly of a baryton
shaping the belly
shaping the belly with little planes
shaping the belly
finishing the surface with scrapers
shaping the belly
finishing the surface with scrapers
shaping the belly
thickning the belly
thickning the belly
measuring the thickness of the belly
thickning the belly
thickning the belly
thickning the belly
glueing the bass bar
the bass bar
neck and corpus, just before glueing
corpus and neck
carving the neck
carving the neck
making the purfling on the back
purfling
making the purfling on the back
finished bass viol before varnishing
6-string bass viol