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Musician Hones Craft Of Violin Making In Wicker Park

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Paul Wargaski

Paul Wargaski makes violins in his Wicker Park studio. (Credit: Steve Miller/WBBM Newsradio/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — When Paul Wargaski isn’t playing bass with the folk and bluegrass band Tangleweed, his is making basses, violins and other instruments at his Wicker Park studio.

WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller got a tour in this week’s Made in Chicago.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

“This is what they mean when they say ‘carved instrument,’” Wargaski said as he showed off his work. “It’s a solid piece of wood. It came out of the tree sort of in a big pie shape.”

Wargaski is originally from the East Coast. He is 38 years old.

“Honestly, I’m a young violin maker,” he said, “or young for a violin maker.”

Wargaski says he learns something with every violin – or viola or cello or double bass – he makes.

“Learn stuff, forget stuff,” he said.

He just happened to be working on one piece that was in need of some alteration.

“This piece was too, just a little narrow, so we put a wing on,” he said, “and now we’re shaping the outside of the edge to get a smooth edge here. We have to take this off with a rasp.”

The final quality control test comes from Wargaski’s wife.

“My wife is my official tester. She takes the instrument. She keeps sending it back for adjustment and tweaking,” he said. “And then when she stops sending it back to me and wants to keep playing it, then I know it’s ready. Then I know it’s ready to go to somebody for sale.”

Paul Wargaski Violins is located at 1900 W. North Ave.

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