Latest News

Thanks to all who visit this web site and to those who take the time to contact Frank about his instruments!

We now have a new Web Master, Jessi Webb, who is helping us redo and update our site. We hope you will enjoy the new look and bear with us through the updating process!

For all of you who are used to seeing us at the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival at Grass Valley, California, we want you to know that we will not make it in June this year due to a family reunion in Washington the same weekend. We are planning to attend the Darrington Bluegrass Festival in July at Darrington, Washington and hope to see you there.

Katy's Handiwork

Frank is still busy in the shop and is working on #224. The back, sides, and scroll on this instrument are made out of a nice piece of Quilted Maple from the Washington coast. He was working on a beautiful Engelmann Spruce top and had just glued the purfling in the top using hide glue when he left the shop for a few minutes. Continue reading

Customer Spotlight – Ava & Kelby

Frank was contacted by a good friend from Middleton, Idaho who wanted to have Frank make his Mother, Ava, a fiddle for her 80th birthday. Ava’s grandson brought her over to talk to Frank to decide what she wanted. She is a small lady and wanted a 7/8th size instrument. Frank had some nice Sycamore back wood that was cut in Boise that she liked. Frank completed the instrument right before Christmas and she loved it. She plays it every morning when she gets up. Frank and Karen were invited to her birthday party where she carried the instrument around all day showing people. She even ate her birthday cake while holding it.

Ava’s grandson, Kelby, borrowed one of Frank’s new 5-strings to play at an Irish pub while he was home from college. Before Frank picked up the 5-string, Kelby told his Dad how much he liked the 5-string. Long story short, his Dad made an arrangement with Frank to buy the 5-string for Kelby’s college graduation present.

Customer Spotlight – Randall with #214

In December 2014 Frank was contacted by a man from Colorado about making him a custom instrument. They communicated back and forth about different wood types, tone and color. Frank sent him pictures of wood samples and Randall submitted his order form so Frank could get started on his instrument. Frank kept Randall apprised of his progress with pictures and phone calls and was able to finish the instrument on April 4, 2015. Frank offered to meet Randall and his wife in Provo, Utah to deliver #214. We all camped at a campground near Provo so Randall could have time to try out his instrument. Randall is pictured here playing his fiddle in our trailer for the first time. His expression after he played #214 says it all.

Customer Spotlight – Laurie Harris with #211

Frank was contacted in July 2014 by a young lady from Alabama about making her a custom fiddle. They talked several times on the phone and via e-mail about the wood, color, and tone she was looking for and then she placed her order. Frank sent her pictures throughout the process and one day she e-mailed to say she just found out that she jams with a friend in Alabama who purchased and plays one of Frank’s earlier 5-strings. What a small world. Frank was able to finish and ship Laurie’s instrument so she would have it before the holidays. This is a quote from a note we received from Laurie, “#211 sounds just like I wanted it to!!! I may never become a famous great fiddler, but I’m so proud to own and play one of your fiddles. At least I can truly enjoy what my ability allows me to produce from the instrument now. I’m so happy. Thanks for all your hard work!”

State of Idaho "Capitol Fiddle"

Several years ago, the Idaho Legislature voted to expand and restore the Capitol building in Boise, Idaho. The additions involved removing 10 old growth trees to make way for the two new wings.

 Max and Frank

Max and Frank

Representative Max Black, District 15, Boise, Idaho proposed harvesting the old trees and having woodworkers throughout Idaho submit applications to receive pieces of this wood. In return, those selected would craft an object from the wood to be permanently displayed in the Capitol when the restoration was complete. A committee was formed to review the applications and select the woodworkers who would participate in this project. Continue reading

In keeping with tradition

May2007081In 1977, Cyril Hatfield purchased a Sam Daniels’ violin (#84) for his 15-year old daughter, Gayle. Gayle played the instrument in the Borah High School Orchestra and through the years in several symphonies. Two years ago after her symphony practice, Gayle was thinking about how much she had enjoyed her violin over the years and began to wonder whether Sam Daniels was still living and making violins. She began searching the Internet and discovered Frank’s web site.

Gayle contacted Frank and met him in person when she came to a festival in Grass Valley, CA to have him do some minor adjustments to her violin. In September this year, Gayle brought her family to a festival at Plymouth, CA and commissioned Frank to make a violin for her 10-year old daughter, Annie. Continue reading