Wood is an extraordinary material. With it one can make items from a toothpick to an ocean-going schooner, from a miniature doll house to a factory, from ornate boxes for treasures to packing crates for commercial goods. Furthermore, “wood” exhibits an astonishing range of properties from utterly functional to transcendently beautiful. An oak beam, for example, will support a building longer during a fire than will a steel girder. The steel melts, the oak simply smolders. On the aesthetic side, species, variations within species, and grain orientation give an inexhaustible palette of design possibilities for beautiful objects.
Guild President for 2009-2010 Bob LaCivita likes to tell his woodworking students that, over time, it is natural to find one’s personal niche in woodworking, to specialize. Sooner or later one finds that form of woodworking that deeply resonates.
For some of us, that niche has turned out to be the making of stringed instruments, which is called lutherie. This pursuit uses many fine woodworking techniques and skills, such as joinery, fine hand tool work, decorative inlay, and finishing. But is adds something new – how the wood sounds.
If you already make stringed instruments, or think you might want to explore same, please become involved in the Guild Luthiers group. We have members at all skill levels, are friendly, and anxious to help one another. Most members make guitars, but we also have violin and cello makers. And some of the more unusual instruments, such as lutes. mandolins, and even hurdy-gurdys are also represented. Be warned, though. Almost no one ever makes just one instrument!
Also, our group is affiliated with the New England Luthiers and many of our meetings and activities are held jointly with them. You can learn more about NEL by clicking their link on the right. NEL is not formally associated with the Guild and their structure is more informal. They have no dues, for example. To “join” all you have to do is show up at a meeting. Collectively, the Guild luthiers and the NEL represent a world-class resource, in terms of depth of stringed-instrument making experience and willingness to share.
As this blog grows, it is my hope that members will contribute insights, articles, and mutual support. Most especially, I hope we will share sounds. I have seeded this blog with a couple of soundclips from my guitars (including the official Guild song) and hope very much that others will be moved to do the same.
As of this writing (January, 2010), the Guild web site designers are still working out a way for us easily to download soundclips. They assure me that this will be soon. So, start practicing!