Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stringing Up

Back in Manhattan, I shared a tiny shop with the luthier (guitar maker) Justin Gunn on fifth street. He was an important influence on my choice to use hand tools and make chairs. I used to watch him doing the equivalent of magic with wood and a few basic tools and realized that I must seek out an object and skill that could transform the raw material as dramatically. I was reminded of him today as I fit the spindles one by one into the back of the settee. He never bothered to string up a guitar until the last coat of finish was dry, because the sound wouldn't be the same. It was a bit of delayed gratification that I couldn't believe.

Today, as the spindles found their homes, I got to see more of the finished piece and even sit in it to assess the comfort. Strangely enough, a chair is always more comfortable to me after the finish is complete. Perhaps the reduced friction allows me to slide into the chair more naturally. Even so, I was quite happy with the comfort and am trying to channel some of Justin's patience in waiting to truly string it up.

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