Poast Mark shop in Black Earth

Inside the Poast Mark shop

Ron explains how a fiddle is made

Learning how a fiddle is made

Learning how a fiddle is made

Ron playing a hardanger fiddle

Ron Poast playing a hardanger fiddle

Taking notes as Ron Poast talks

Ron Poast with hardanger fiddle

Learning how a fiddle is made

Ron explaining about the fiddle's strings

Ron playing a hardanger fiddle

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 on top.

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.

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This page last updated on October 8, 2002