The restoration of fine, old instruments is like owning a time machine. On the bench in front of me is an instrument made long before I was born by a master with skills far beyond my level and experience. As I look at the craftsmanship and the wear and damage of the passing ages on the instrument, I can feel the presence of the Master. It as if that Master Luthier has passed back through the veil to show me the soul of the work, the craft, the art, and slowly, as I work, the beautiful voice the Master had intended.
So I listen and learn as I work. The structure, the glue technique, the varnish and finish, the intricacies of the wood, carvings and the grain are revealed to me.
Then, if I have truly listened and learned, the instrument returns to life once more, hopefully true to the Master’s intent. And with the addition of the right strings, the voice created ages ago once more sings in our world. Returned to it’s musician owner, the instrument again brings the joy of music to our ears.
I find no greater goal than to bring that voice back to life.