Building a violin from the roof beams of the Frauenkirche in Munich, part 1


This is a multi-part report on the construction of a violin from so-called “cathedral wood”, from the wooden beams of Munich’s Frauenkirche:


From 1468-1488, the roof structure of Munich’s Frauenkirche was built by master carpenter Heinrich von Straubing. It was made from spruce wood donated by farmers from Lenggries and rafted to Munich via the Isar.


The roof truss was severely damaged by air raids during the Second World War and had to be replaced. Some undamaged roof beams were acquired by the tonewood dealer Franz Fuchs around 1947 and were later used as top wood for violin making.


In the summer, I acquired one of these last, rare pieces and will use it to make a violin in 2016. I’m really looking forward to working with wood that is 500 years old!




The resins in the wood have completely crystallized, which has a positive effect on the vibrational properties.
The wood is well “settled” as it has been exposed to the vibrations of the church bells for 500 years.






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