The table of the violin is made from Red Spruce (in England they call it Pine) just like the top of the acoustic guitar and the sounding board of the piano. The sides, back, scroll and neck are usually made of maple, though other woods like poplar or willow have also been used successfully, especially in violas and cellos. The quality of these woods depends a great deal on where the tree grew, the soil and climate conditions being of utmost importance.
    During my many trips to Europe I have collected wood, stored some there, and brought back many choice pieces which are now between 20 and 30 years old.
Though it probably doesn't have the magical potency implied by the abundant lore and legends, such as the one in the movie "the Red Violin," the varnish of an instrument can contribute much to its beauty, both visually and tonally. In mixing and cooking my own varnish (outdoors in the country!) I try to achieve the suppleness of consistency and the warm glow of the colors from amber through warm red to deep ruby which delight us so much in the old instruments.