Above is the complete collection of Senkow Instruments
Walt Senkow (1914- 1999) was born in a small coal minning town in Pennsylvania. He came from a poor family but would often get to listen to his grandfather play his violin on a front porch. Walt did not have the money to buy a violin to play himself, so he set out to make one in his early 20's and that set the stage of a nearly 60 year career of violin making and researching the sounds of the early Italian makers. Mr. Senkow's very first violins were "crudely made" as he himself said. They were made with crude wood tools in an apartment in New York, these of which would be latter destroyed in a house fire. Walt Senkow and his wife Ann would move to Detroit where his making of violins would be defined by wood workmanship, investigation and the creation of his own violin trademarks. He studied the Guarneri and Stradivarius patterns and copied many but he also set out to design his own unique patterns and dimensions. He was a maverick in those respects. He experimented with making different violin varnish by adding different ingredients, but he ultimately believed that the proper curing of the wood was the real "secret" of the old Italian makers in the rich sound that they today produce.
Walt Senkow's trademark in violin making was a ebony insert located around the end pin and a ebony peg insert in the scroll. In the early 1950's, Walt and Ann Senkow moved to Dallas, Texas to raise their children and settle down. Walt made the vast majority of his instruments in Dallas. He studied the effects of linseed oil used in the curing of wood and believed placing his violins in the hot Texas sun with this oil improved the sound. (see photo left, violins hanging on a clothes line.)
Walt never wanted to market his violins, believing instead that someday they would be discovered. In fact, in latter models he would merely write in the year made as he thought the maker would someday be known. He dedicated many of his violins to his wife and children by putting their names in place of his. Today you can own and enjoy playing on these hand carved instruments as an investment for the future.