Douglas Cox Instruments
"Douglas is a gentleman of deep integrity, full of love for his art and craft, and meticulous in husbanding his 'children' — the instruments he makes so well. I’m especially grateful for the long-pattern model which has served me and several of my taller students very successfully. I cannot recommend Doug Cox highly enough."
-- Marylou Speaker Churchill (1945-2009)
We were not quite ready for Doug Cox when he came by the shop and expressed his interest in being involved in the HatchSpace mission to further the appreciation of the work of human hands and the lives behind them. Doug has been at this for 50 years. We’d been open about 3 weeks.
But, we were fresh not stupid, and immediately went to work with Doug on a Master Class presentation of his work and how he came to it. After that wonderful evening in our still-empty gallery I showed Doug some blistered maple I’d inherited from a friend who’d inherited it from somewhere else and had been drying in various sheds for twenty or thirty years. Doug was taken with the unusual figure of these boards and said, I want to make a violin and a viola out of this.
Soon enough, we’d set up a bench and a workspace in the front window of the gallery where Doug sat every Wednesday from 1p - 5p working on these instruments as HatchSpace’s original Artist in Residence. He used a few of the floor tools in our shop for the rough-out, but the bulk of the work was done with a variety of well-used hand tools he brought from his shop just outside of town. Over the course of many months these two master pieces from a true living master craftsman came to shape and to life.
Doug welcomed visitors to sit with him and observe, ask questions, and occasionally hold a clamp. His methods were spare and open-source. His philosophy of wood, sound, and craft was shared willingly and warmly. He kept a regular blog diary of his progress and impressions which you can follow here . He refused to wear shoes in the shop and he liked to curl his toes into the wood shavings that accumulated around his bench. We swept these up and kept them. Only a portion of those original maple boards made it into a musical instrument. What was left out seems somehow as important.
Doug Cox recently completed his 1000th instrument. The violin and viola featured here are only two of them, but of genuine importance to us. Not only for the thrill and privilege of watching them being made, but because Doug is generously donating 30% of the proceeds from the sale these instruments to our humble, non-profit woodworking school.
Thank you, Doug.
The violin bears the facsimile label "Gio:Paolo Maggini in Brefcia" and on the opposite side the label "Douglas C. Cox, Brattleboro, Vermont, 2019, #1005" and is branded and initialed on the inside. It is built on an original model patterned after the work of Maggini. It is built of well aged New England grown wood. The back is cut on the slab from one piece of maple with spectacular blister figure. There is a pit above the upper treble corner. The ribs are of maple matching that of the back. The neck and scroll are of maple with very little figure. The table is of two pieces of spruce medium to narrow growth. The varnish is of a dark red-brown color over a golden ground and is shaded and imitated. The fittings are of boxwood with ebony trim.
The principal dimensions are:
Length: 356 mm
Upper Bout: 165 mm
Middle Bout: 115 mm
Lower Bout: 203 mm
Rib Height: 28-30 mm
String Length: 329 mm
The viola bears the facsimile label, "Gio:Paolo Maggini in Brefcia", and on the opposite side the label "Douglas C. Cox, Brattleboro, Vermont, 2019, #1006" and is branded and initialed on the inside. It is built on an original model inspired by the work of G. P. Maggini of Brescia and is made of well-aged New England wood. The back is cut on the slab from one piece of maple with birdseye and blister figure. The ribs are of matching maple. The neck and scroll are of medium flamed maple. The table is of two pieces of spruce of somewhat irregular growth, mostly medium wide in the enter and narrower toward the flanks. The varnish is of a red-brown color over a golden ground and is shaded and imitated. The fittings are of boxwood with ebony trim.
The principal dimensions are:
Length: 417 mm
Upper Bout: 201 mm
Middle Bout: 139 mm
Lower Bout: 245 mm
Rib Height: 34-36 mm
String Length: 373 mm
For more information or to inquire about purchasing a Douglas Cox instrument please use the form below.