Ron Poast and His Hardanger Fiddles
Black Earth, WI
Sitting in the small shop of Poast Mark, probably making or playing a
Hardanger fiddle, is Ron Poast. Ron first got into Hardanger fiddles because
a great uncle had one, and the family loved it. When they were short on
money one year, he sold it to a pawnshop. Many years later Ron was walking
through downtown ?? and he saw what looked exactly like the one his Uncle
Owen sold, in a museum. So he went in and talked to the people there,
and they let him study Hardanger fiddles. And he found that they were
not totally different from the violins he was already making. After that,
he started making them.
When Ron makes a Hardanger fiddle, he always uses either curly maple or
bird's-eye maple. The curly maple is also called tiger maple. Ron uses
curly or bird's-eye maple on the back and sides of his instruments, and
elm on the front. For the finger board and end board he uses African ebony,
which is fairly expensive. He takes the bony and cuts designs that are
quite intricate into the ebony. Then he inlays mother of pearl by hand.
Next, before he puts the bridge, finger board and strings on, he decorates
the violin/fiddle with very intricate patterns that resemble rosemaling.
What he actually does is called rosing.
The head of the violin or fiddle, which is the end with the tuning pegs,
is always in the shape of a mythical dragon's head. The dragon always
has two teeth that Ron ?? on. All the rosing and cutting Ron does is freehand.
He doesn't have a stencil or any other material that helps him. He uses
India ink, which works very well on wood.
The Hardanger fiddle has two sets of strings. Ron says that the sound
stays longer. The fiddle has nine strings, five on the bottom and four
Ron Post was a cool person. He is a violin maker and an artist. He free
draws with a pen on the violin. If he messes up, then he just makes it
part of his design. He won an award for the best violins in Wisconsin.
He also won a national award.
I really want to learn how to make violins and fiddles, because then I
could make my own instead of having to go out and buy them.