About Me


david swanson with chisels

Click the photo to hear David talk about his work.

I grew up surrounded by music and woodworking. My mother is a devoted cellist from a musical family, and my father is a vocalist and gifted woodworker from a long line of cabinetmakers and boat-builders.

My interest in violinmaking comes from playing stringed instruments for almost thirty-five years, and love for design, architecture and woodworking.

Starting in high school, I built and worked on stringed instruments as a hobby. This continued through college and while pursuing my career as a landscape architect. Eventually, I decided to formalize my training and focus all my creative energy on violinmaking. I moved to Chicago to study at the Chicago School of Violinmaking under Tsu Ho Lee, subsequently gaining valuable apprentice experience at various reputable shops in Chicago. In 2004, I relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, dividing my time as a restorer with bow maker and restorer Jerry Pasewicz and building new instruments in my own shop. In 2009, I opened a shop in my wife Joanna’s hometown of Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, serving southeastern New England.

My continued training in setup, repair and making comes from legendary restorers Rene Morel of NY and Jean-Frederic Schmitt of Lyon, France. I also enjoy participating in in skill building workshops such as the summer workshops at Oberlin College. I am always seeking new knowledge and techniques through a collaborative support network with colleagues throughout the US and Europe.

Our love for the Carolinas brought us back to the Triangle and Triad region of Central North Carolina in 2012. My current location is conveniently located just off of I-40 and I-85 in the center of historic Hillsborough, North Carolina. I am 10 miles north of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, 10 miles west of Durham, 30 miles east of Greensboro and 30 miles north of Raleigh across from the Orange County Historical Museum and the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church. I am excited to be serving the vibrant community of string players in the Carolinas and beyond. In my free time, I am an avid player of traditional Irish music.