Most of the time, when i finish a batch of instruments, usually four of them, i’m exhausted; even if my wife does not know at what stage i am in my work, she can guess correctly at this point. I get cranky, develop cold symptoms (from the higher than usual dust in the shop) and look really tired overall.
The upside of it is that in a relatively short time the instruments are ready to go.
And now the fun begins again!
After 20 years of making my first guitar, it still feels good the day that i go in the shop more relaxed, start cleaning deeper than usual, rearrange stuff around.
Then, after checking and organizing my next batch of orders, i can start getting the wood out: picking sets, matching all the stock for the different parts, envisioning the end result i can get and trying to maximize the potential i see in all these precious pieces. It’s a conceptual process at the root of the outcome i will get months after, and where i can apply all my experience, knowledge and intuition as a maker.
Tom Ribbecke, while i was working for him, used to say that guitarmaking is 90% brute work and 10% fine artisanship; after all this time i still agree with him and although i do enjoy some of the hard work involved in the construction process, the full expression of my stature as an artisan is through the finer steps of the process – of which a good part is at the very start.