VICTOR Parkin has many strings to his bow - the latest being a handmade violin which has taken him 18 months to make.

Victor, of Castle Close, Penistone, loves working with wood and over the years his hobby has seen him make several ornamental walking sticks, carved animals and even a guitar, ukulele and a banjo.

But his latest creation has been the most ambitious yet as there were many curves to fashion from pure Swiss pine for the back and maple for the sides. But he has already been applauded on its ‘orchestral quality’.

“I have always loved musical instruments and some time ago whilst on a holiday in Lake Garda we saw a little statue in Salo of Gasparo De Salo, one of the earliest violin makers with a violin and thought it would make a good carving,” said Victor.

“I later decided to try to make a violin and after studying and researching the famous Stradivarius violins decided to try to copy this style, by using the same techniques.”

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Sadly Victor cannot play the violin but musician friends have only been too willing to test it out.

A friend of his wife Jean introduced him to a former member of a philharmonic orchestra. He was the first to play it and told him his creation was of ‘orchestral quality’.

Local well known folk singer, guitarist and music teacher Chris McShane also tried his hand with the string instrument and was full of praise for its sound, and artist Jane Lazenby of Cawthorne, played it following a talk Victor gave to his Probus Club after performing on her own violin.

“There is a brightness of sound in a new violin and it needs to be played to make the sound better as the wood dries out. I cannot play it so I take it along to church afternoon teas and other events where any violinist can have a go. It is a great feeling to hear the sound it makes in professional hands”, he said.