About 11 years ago, Joe Wiese decided he wanted to play the violin.

But he experienced a setback: He dropped his instrument on his garage floor, and sending it for repairs would have been too costly.

Wiese ended up fixing the instrument himself, and then he tried making one.

The experience laid the foundation for a hobby the 50-year-old Dublin resident and founder of Darby Violins said takes up about every spare moment of his time.

Wiese's day job is teaching at Tolles Career & Technical Center in Plain City, but he also is a luthier, a maker of stringed instruments. He makes violins, violas and cellos by hand and to order.

This will be the fourth year Wiese will set up shop in the musical-exhibitions tent at the Dublin Irish Festival, scheduled for Aug. 2 to 4 in Dublin's Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway.

He will be crafting his instruments in person, and patrons will be able to try their hand at playing the instruments. For more information about the festival, go to dublinirishfestival.org.

Wiese said he wants to improve his craft, and through many mistakes and much hard work, he believes he makes a quality instrument.

"My instruments are good enough quality now that people are lining up for them," he said.

Wiese said his violins take at least 150 hours to create. He primarily uses European maple and spruce and very few power tools. He favors hand planes, gouges and rapiers.

He typically charges $3,000 for a violin, $3,500 for a viola and $5,000 for a cello.

In 2017 and this year, Wiese received two approximately $1,500 grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council to attend a workshop in California with Michael Darnton, whom Wiese describes as one of the best makers of violins in the country.

Wiese said the trips have helped him artistically and sonically to produce instruments that stand out.

He said his goal is to be the best violin-maker in the Midwest and sell affordable instruments.

"I do it because I love it," he said.

Wiese already has gained recognition with students of the Lancaster-based nonprofit group Fairfield County Strings & Keyboards, which offers string instrument and piano lessons to adults and children through one of its teachers, Lynne Theller-Kitchen.

Theller-Kitchen, who has played violin for 54 years, said to date she has spread about a dozen of Wiese's instruments throughout the nonprofit program. She also is the owner of a Wiese-crafted violin and viola.

Wiese and Theller-Kitchen became acquainted when her friend, Doug Carter, was a substitute teacher at Tolles. He connected her with Wiese when he learned about his violin-making hobby.

Wiese puts time and effort into making instruments properly, Theller-Kitchen said, and she is grateful they were introduced. A cheaply made instrument can be almost unplayable, she said.

Wiese's instruments, however, give her students the opportunity to play a quality violin, viola or cello.

"It's something that they can keep for life," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah