THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION of the violin have gone unchanged since the instrument first appeared in 16th-century Italy. And on First Street in Downtown Sarasota, Violin Shop Sarasota keeps the honored craft alive for the area’s ever-growing population of fiddlers, all while maintaining the Old World spirit of woodworking and quality maintenance. Violin Shop Co-owner Ethan Morency, who began apprenticing to be a luthier at 13, says the house-made oil-based varnish is stewed in batches that take 80 hours to concoct and 30 days to dry. The varnish is based on tried and true recipes that have been around for centuries and formulated to let the wood breathe and flex with use. The wood is sourced from the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, the enchanted home of the most coveted lumber used in crafting instruments. European spruce, unlike the varieties found in the US, has unique traits owing to the climate and elevation in which it grows, resulting in a more malleable material. And what violinist wouldn’t want to boast that their instrument is made from imported wood sourced from ancient European forests? The meticulous attention to detail is taken further still, as each violin takes 150-200 hours to assemble by highly skilled craftsmen like Morency, who also plays the violin. “A millimeter is a mile,” says Everett Hendrixon of the nuances that seemingly microscopic cuts can make in an instrument’s tone.  Not content with merely servicing the existing population of musicians, Sarasota Violin Shop acts as an ambassador for music education. Most noteworthy is a nonprofit project in which they seek to send 50 violins to a charity in Chile called Hogar de Cristo. The Jesuit organization provides social services and education to at-risk youth, and is still rebuilding some of the structures damaged by a 2014 earthquake, including the music education hall. To ensure that the violins remain in good working order for generations, the violin shop will also send a luthier to train several apprentices in the maintenance of the instruments.