As you all know by now, we know the time and effort put into each instrument as it is lovingly handcrafted by our luthiers.
We feel their frustration when mass-produced copies of their masterpieces are brought in by the container load from the far east.
We can only imagine how they would feel about the build your own kits now on the market. This ukulele kit is currently retailing for less than £20.
Trust us, building your own instrument from a kit does not make you a luthier.
Given the weather we bet you’re wondering why we’ve got a picture of a wood burner?
Well, we thought we’d show you how our luthiers use their valuable timber – they burn it :O
As you’re aware by now, we only select our quality instruments from a small number of European luthiers; each of whom we get to know in person very well. As such, we get to know their entire business; from sourcing the wood in the first place to how they dispose of the remains.
So why are we showing you a picture of a wood burner? This burner is located at Sanchis Lopez in Valencia. Valencia can be very humid which is not good for wood, even well seasoned timbers can be damaged by high humidity; which is why, incidentally, you shouldn’t throw out the sachet of silica gel we always put in the case for you.
But, back to the burner… when cutting the wood for the guitars there is always some left over from the original piece. This left over wood is further trimmed and used for bracing or binding. Anything left over from that goes to the burner, together with all the shavings from the shaping process and any sawdust from the floor. The burner provides heat in winter but, during the summer, helps to keep the air at optimum humidity. In this way absolutely nothing goes to waste.
Like many traditional artisans, our luthiers have always been ‘green’. Long before being eco-friendly was trendy they were using the old processes which are more in harmony with the environment than many modern factories. For example, letting the seasons dry and condition the wood rather than kiln and pressure treating it which, by the way, is why the process is called ‘seasoning’ in the first place.
We’ve been fortunate to have spent time with each of our luthiers and watched them lovingly hand-craft many of the instruments you see in our showroom.
We caught this programme on BBC Radio 4 the other day and it reminded us of some of the things we were talking about a little while ago with regards to tonality of woods.
Have a listen (non-UK people may not be able to due to BBC restrictions – sorry) and tell us what you think