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Thread: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

  1. #1
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    Howdy,
    I am looking to do both an A5 and F5 builds from a kit. The eventual goal is to build from scratch, but I wanna get my feet wet first. Does anyone have an opinion on whether International Violin kits or Saga are preferable? I am aware of the Stew Mac F5 kit and the Arches kits and the higher quality both would offer. Thanks in advance.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Eastman 305 Octave
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

  2. #2

    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    International Violin kits have good customer service. Saga kits could be bought from a variety of places, some might have good service, some not. The parts on these can be pretty poorly machined, and if it's to the point that you can't make it work, you might need a replacement. IV has historically been good about sending out replacement parts.

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  4. #3
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    I am pretty sure I remember reading on an older thread here that the Saga and IV A style F hole kits are one and the same. But IV has their own source for the A style with no sound holes and the F style kits.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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    1974 Martin Style A
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    I built a Saga A kit a few years ago and it was a great learning experience. The kit itself came with everything but instructions and I ended up posting them here, you could do a search and find them.

    The tuners, strings, and tailpiece are not that great and the back in my kit was cut a bit short. For the cost I just sanded it and made do. I had fun learning about the mando (I didnít play at the time) and I think with some set up work it could be a nice campfire mando, etc.

    If your goal is to gain experience (get feet wet) then Saga is a nice option, then go for the IV kit for your second. If you donít have a lot of woodworking experience or shop - or access to one - youíll have to spend a bit to get even the basic tools.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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  8. #5
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    I built a Saga A kit a few years ago and it was a great learning experience. The kit itself came with everything but instructions and I ended up posting them here, you could do a search and find them.

    The tuners, strings, and tailpiece are not that great and the back in my kit was cut a bit short. For the cost I just sanded it and made do. I had fun learning about the mando (I didn’t play at the time) and I think with some set up work it could be a nice campfire mando, etc.

    If your goal is to gain experience (get feet wet) then Saga is a nice option, then go for the IV kit for your second. If you don’t have a lot of woodworking experience or shop - or access to one - you’ll have to spend a bit to get even the basic tools.
    Thanks all for the info! I do have some woodworking experience and a developing shop. I have most of what I need in power tools (band saw, drill press, sanders, etc.). I do lack in some of the luthier specific hand tools but have been piecing that stuff together over the last several months. I have read conflicting opinions on whether or not the Saga and IV kits are one in the same, but haven't found anything definitive.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Eastman 305 Octave
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

  9. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    The International Violin A kit is the Saga kit. The F is something he has picked up on his own. It might be a Saga product, who knows. The A kit is a known commodity. It's not a secret, it is a Saga kit. No mystery. Consider this definitive.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #7
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The International Violin A kit is the Saga kit. The F is something he has picked up on his own. It might be a Saga product, who knows. The A kit is a known commodity. It's not a secret, it is a Saga kit. No mystery. Consider this definitive.
    Thanks, and I will consider this as definitive. I had looked at both of them and noticed the striking similarity which is what prompted me to do the bit of reading I did and, ultimately, start this thread.
    Ruhland #41
    Morris #393
    My unnamed build #1
    Eastman 305 Octave
    Various other stringed and percussion tools

  12. #8

    Default Re: Saga vs International Violin Build Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by Willem View Post
    Thanks all for the info! I do have some woodworking experience and a developing shop. I have most of what I need in power tools (band saw, drill press, sanders, etc.). I do lack in some of the luthier specific hand tools but have been piecing that stuff together over the last several months. I have read conflicting opinions on whether or not the Saga and IV kits are one in the same, but haven't found anything definitive.
    You should be fine, I built mine with a flat file and sandpaper. I did go to the local wood shop and took a safety class, I learned how to make spool clamps, used the band and jig saws, and that I really donít like being anywhere near the table saw. If you havenít already do a forum search, lots of us have built the kits and some have come out great.

    When you start your build post a thread, the community here will jump in if you need any advice.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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