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Making Carbon Electric Violins - West System

Dear Epoxyworks,

I wanted to share with you some photos of the electric violins I have made using WEST SYSTEM materials. It's been a very rewarding personal projects that's brought together my four decades' love of the violin and my past "day job" working in biotech in new product development.

The instruments (which I build for my own enjoyment- I've changed careers and now an a college physics professor) are built using a body molded of carbon composite, fitting with a traditional hand-carved maple neck and fingerboard. The composite makes for a very light instrument that stays in tune well despite changes in temperature or humidity. WEST SYSTEM resins, hardeners, fillers and carbon powder all were used in fabricating the original plug, the molds, and the actual instruments.

I hand-wind the magnetic pickup units myself and pot these in WEST SYSTEM epoxy.

The finish is lacquer, either opaque color or clear to let the cloth show. The results are eye catching on stage. The techniques are fairly routine; female mold, hand lay-up, etc. Still, it's an attention getting and successful application of the WEST SYSTEM materials- that sounds great, as several CDs will attest. Prior to this project, I'd built electronics and one woodworking, but I was worried about attempting composite building. However, the WEST SYSTEM performed beautifully throughout making of the tooling as well as the instruments.

Thanks for making the technology behind my project!


John Silzel

Atwood, California

To get in touch with Jon Silzel or find out more about his violins and his music, visit www.silzel.com

The mold above is epoxy/fiberglass with an epoxy/graphite mold surface.

The violin body is 2 outer layers of 3oz bi-directional carbon fiber with a single inner layer of 6oz fiberglass.

Silzel demonstrates the qualities of his violin at a Christmas concert in Irvine, California.

EPOXYWORKS Number 28, Spring 2009

Copyright © 2009, Gougeon Brothers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without the consent of the publisher. EPOXYWORKS, Gougeon Brothers, WEST SYSTEM, Episize, Scarffer and Microlight as used throughout this publication, are trademarks of Gougeon Brothers, Inc., Bay City, Michigan, USA.

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