Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luthier apprentices making ukuleles in a team effort

A ukulele mold is stored within a guitar mold.
You can see the purfling which looks
like little wooden teeth.
The Ukulele Apprentices: Social Gathering, Art Alliance, Future DIY Orchestra

My husband, Francois Vadeboncoeur, is the other half of ImagineMDD, Misenti-Despres Designs. He is a luthier, designing not only guitars but ukuleles, too.

Right now, Francois has apprentices coming to the shop learning to make ukuleles.

He is in the process of making a custom guitar for a client.

When we take a walk in the evening, he will point out things like dentil moldings on some of the older houses in the neighborhood. It reminds me of the purfling in his guitars.

Just watching him, helping out as much as I can whenever I can has taught me a lot more than I ever knew about what it takes to make a stringed instrument.

Did you know there's such a thing as a Soprano ukulele?

Every inch of that small shop is cleverly packed with instruments in progress, exotic and reclaimed woods, tools and gadgets. Everything is labeled.

Fran has shelves made from the wood inside a piano someone gave him, a piano that was beyond repair. We try to reuse everything.

An old toy ukulele hangs from the ceiling where the ukulele sides are in the molds. Some of these folks never even considered how to make a ukulele. Some always wanted to know.

The apprentices chose the wood that they wanted for each part of the instrument. Some are making it for themselves, some for themselves.

A gift you make for someone will mean that much more. It becomes an heirloom. 

Just like when someone wants Fran to make an instrument for them, they get to choose the woods they like best and they work on the design, etc.

Every holiday, every birthday, on any gift list I know he is going to ask for more clamps! I don't know just what kind he'll need but he can never have enough clamps.

Now that there are apprentices working in the shop, we're buying out all the clamps in town.

Francois has made his own clamps and tools on more than one occasion to fit the type of instrument he was making, the size needed, etc. Luthiers, woodworkers are very clever.

At night and during the day while folks are at their day jobs, the projects take over the workshop. They take over any surface that will hold them level and safe.

The joke has been that they're going to form a community Ukulele Orchestra for their graduation. :-)
The Don't Fret - I'm a Trained Luthier aprons hang beside the first aid kit. Happily that hasn't had to be used so far.

They're simultaneously ukulele making, working on  guitars and a special drum project. That whole story isn't yet authorized to be disclosed. Very cutting edge, I'm told.

As soon as we're given the go-ahead to let people know about the drums, we'll be more than happy to help get the word out about those, too.

I'm hoping to talk to the apprentices and get some information on why they're each making the ukuleles -- or guitars.

Several of them have said they are willing to be photographed for the cause, so you can look forward to some exciting action photos of sawing, bending, gluing, staining and measuring twice.... Maybe three times.

Don't Fret I'm a Trained Luthier Apron
Don't Fret I'm a Trained Luthier Apron
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Don't Fret -- I'm a Trained Luthier T-shirts
Don't Fret -- I'm a Trained Luthier T-shirts 
We have our business name on the back and
We get stopped all the time when he wears this!

Lucien LaMotte, Song for George, Misenti-Despres Designs guitar

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