Sunday, July 18, 2010

working maple

I don't do this very often lately. There are too many other things to focus on and for my little brain, this can't be done well without a certain level of obsession, and that obsession has to involve the aim of achieving some new level of skills or understanding. New challenges stimulate new neurons. Sometimes it is good to be thoughtful before doing more of the same.

But for all that, the creation of a lovely arch for a violin back is the most satisfying and focussed manual work I've ever done. Worthy, almost, to be done without bothering to finish the instrument, just as an exercise in the marriage of volumes and lines, and the resolution of art with engineering. And the flirtatious engagement between hand and eye.
And that doesn't even begin to touch upon the subtleties in the production of a sweet and satisfying sound.


  1. the job of violin maker has, in my opinion something magic: the wood....its quality....its smell.....the misteries about its origin....age. To work it....everyone has his own thecnique....And, for me, the most magic moment would be when the sound flows through the f holes for the first!...visiting luthiers sometimes the magic goes away talking about prices.....:) (not all the luthiers of course). As I told you Rob, my daughter plays violin, she is studying it in London in the Royal College of Music...the violin she plays is the cheapest among all the violins we have...but the mistery is that it has a wonderfull sound, well balanced, no wolfs, stable........
    Someone said that the people loving his job lives two times instead of one......Congrats

  2. Nice to hear from you Jaume.
    The sound from the wood is the most surprising thing. You don't need to wait for assembly! Over the years I have learned to listen right through the process of construction, and even my fingers have become quite sensitive to noises, so that when someone brings in a violin with a problem, the first clues for me come from my fingers while I speak to them, and the violin in my hands is resonating to the vibrations in my voice. A lot of assumptions that can be made about the instrument cannot be made logically, but by feeling through the hands.
    But 'making' always ends up being about being judged at a price.
    What I make has nothing to do with 'the market', but whether it is worth the effort of making nowadays does.

  3. This photo captures the essence of your craft, well it does for me anyway. Simple elements that say so much. Nice