Saturday, November 3, 2007
My boyfriend is a luthier. Please don't call him a lutheran by mistake. Being a luthier has nothing to do with Martin Luther or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (that's a run-on name, isn't it?)
Luthiers made lutes originally, but now it's a term to describe a person who makes musical instruments, usually of the violin family. Andy's made lots of violins over the years. This one he's working on is a hybrid design of two violins he admires--a Stradivarius and a Jacob Stainer. He's calling it the Strainer.
It is fascinating to watch a violin materialize out of a few blocks of wood. Andy uses next to no power tools in his process. He just uses a band saw to cut the basic shape at first. Everything from that point is meticulously gouged, carved, planed and scraped by hand. Every bit of the front, sides and back is shaped to a series of specific thicknesses that are measured within tenths of millimeters. Violin diagrams remind me of topographical maps.
Andy has just instructed me to add this: "He's pretty good with his tools, if you know what I mean."
And that reminds Andy of a very funny Andy story. (Damn, good segue, Andy.).
He was taking photographs of a violin he was making. Oh, I should probably include the fact that he was naked. So he stepped up on a chair to get a good angle for the photo, hurriedly snapped a few pics and proceeded to get dressed and off to work. Later, in his office, as he was viewing the photos on his computer, he was alarmed that, in the corner of one of the photos, he had inadvertently included his own fleshy "tool." That's when he started telling people that the picture was a cello, not a violin.
Yep, that's my boyfriend.