Joel grew up in a rural area in Canada where he had freedom to explore and develop musical and woodworking ability from a young age. He trained in guitar making with Daryl Perry and T.J. Thompson, and in violin making with Boyd Poulson. He has made violins for Phoenix Symphony members along with other professional and advancing players. Some highlights have been Elmar Olivera's performance of the Brahms violin concerto on a Shewchuk violin and winning a blind test over a Stradivari at the Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix. His workshop has been located in Scottsdale since 2002. Shewchuk violins are built with artistic freedom within an historical framework based on the works of early Cremonese violin makers.