Robert grew up doing woodwork with his father. When he was twelve he took his violin apart and attempted to make it sound better by scraping the plates thinner with a piece of glass; a crude trick used by the older generation of fiddlers to get an over-wooded German trade violin to sound better.
When he was 20 and living in Ireland he met French violin maker Jeremie Le Grand and they became great friends. Rob worked and learned intermittently with Jeremie whenever he could in between making a living as a musician. He also spent one winter with Irish Dutch maker Hugo Vegtor. After Bertrandt Galen settled in Cork in 2005 Rob worked with him as well until he had to return to Australia to recover from injury.
The first violin Rob ever made was played by the concertmaster of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in the Perth Concert Hall. He played Mozart's violin concerto on it.
“Being a player I’ve always been interested in how to get the most out of my instrument and I enjoy working with musicians and trying to help in any way I can with their sound. These musicians have now become my very good friends and I consider it a great privilege to work on their violins, violas and cellos."
Robert now lives in Torbay and is concentrating on making new instruments. One of the first was a violin made especially for himself. A long pattern for his long arms, with sloping shoulders for ease of shifting, a narrow C bout and a slightly larger bottom bout to compensate.
It was made from 80 year old maple and at least 60 year old spruce Robert selected in Italy, from a dead violin makers supply. This violin is now Robert's main instrument and the one he uses for concerts and recordings.