Five ways to maintain your varnish

Keep the sheen on your instrument and keep it looking workshop fresh

My Story

Violins, dogs and terrible jokes make me smile.

I’m originally from Glasgow. I grew up in a household with four older brothers so from a young age I had to learn how to find my place. I found that place being the brother who could play music. I’m secretly convinced there’s a musician in all of them but alas I was the one who showed an instant affiliation with it. 

I went to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before being drawn down to London to embark on a career with the band of the Royal Artillery. It was here that I really began my journey to becoming a luthier as I was tasked with keeping their store of admittedly rather lovely old Italian instruments in top order. 

Coming to the end of my contract in the army I decided to pursue my passion and enrolled in the Newark International School of Violin Making. Working with my hands and working in music, I’d found the career for me.


My Mission

I’m dedicated to producing beautiful, bespoke pieces of musical artisan-ship. As a violinist, I strive to produce instruments that I would want to play myself. 

My Clients

I’m lucky to enjoy a busy schedule, particularly in these troubled times. I’ve just completed a cello for LPO extra player Iain Ward which subsequently lead to a commission for a new cello for Pei-Jee Ng the Co-Principal cello of the LPO and cellist from the Fournier Trio. Other clients have included Rowan Bell, leader of the critically acclaimed Santiago Quartet who had me restore his 1910 Giuseppe Pedrazzini violin.

You can’t underestimate the value of having a good assistant. Here Nala is keeping me company whilst I work on my latest commission.

start your jouney to a new instrument today

“Cutting, Carving, Chipping and Gouging. What’s not to love.”

build it for me

I love to create beautifully handcrafted, authentically built string instruments which are more than just your average box. I live in a world of sawdust, oil, metal and varnish. Come join me.

fix it for me

Cracks, chips, scratches and breakages. These are my bread and butter. I love the feeling I get when I finally find the perfect compound to recreate a varnish or when a tricky project starts to come together.

value it for me

I regularly attend auctions of instruments and I keep an eager eye on the sale values from auctions around the world. Perfect whether you’re a musician looking for an insurance valuation or you’re looking to sell.

I had a lovely violin on loan while mine was being repaired. John Francis made it really easy to collect and return the violin, despite being in a different city at the time. It played beautifully! Always very informative and accommodating.

Highly recommended.

What an absolute cracker. This is quite simply exactly what I was looking for. 

Thank you so much! I’m so happy with the match of the colour. It’s as though it was never there.

When I had the unfortunate incident of opening my violin case to see the neck had come away from the main body of my violin I asked John if he would have a look. After a couple of weeks my violin was returned to me and was sounding as good as ever. Thank you for the painstaking repair you produced to bring my old fiddle back to life.

John did a quick soundpost adjustment on my viola between rehearsals and he opened up the sound beautifully… He’s professional and it was a joy to experience someone who’s no.1 priority was to make sure I was happy with how my instrument sounded and felt. His musicianship and experience as a violinist is a huge bonus, I can’t recommend his services highly enough.

Drop me a message

Get In touch below. Ask Any Question or GIVE ME A CALL


Office Location

54 Fosse Road, Farndon, Nottinghamshire NG24 4ST

Open Hours

Mon – Sat: 9am – 8pm

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