February 2013

This last week has been purfling week, in preparation for cello month ahead. So with Super-Hubert providing the power and myself offering delicate directional touches on the mighty four-handed plane, we shot enough poplar wood shavings to keep us in business for a while. The pearwood went into a pot with all the voodoo dyes, herbs and enchantments (luckily well-provided with axolotl bile still- it’s increasingly hard to find on ebay) and came out lovely jet-black and ready for action. One batch in Montagnana style, another in my favourite Rugeri proportions and another for various Strads.

One cello in the varnish cabinet, two now being purfled, and two others in very rough stages still, but the workshop is looking like some sort of modern sculpture gallery. I’m particularly fond of the flock of scrolls in various stages of development, a little like swans gliding down the river. Will be a little sad when they’re all finished and fitted. Luckily, Hubert’s favourite occupation is cutting pegbox mortices, so no problem there.

Sorry to hear of Charles Beare’s retirement, but he certainly deserves a long and happy one. Sadder still to hear of the death of the great Carl F. Becker of Chicago.
The Stradivari exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford this summer sounds set to be another once-in-a-lifetime experience. How many of those is any one person entitled to?

Cheerio, and thanks to my customers for their patience.

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