I like Saturdays. It’s quiet and nobody calls, so the workflow is uninterupted. I also like it because it’s usually when Jim comes in to help out. He’s always curious about details, so I’m usually showing him a lot of stuff I’ve taken for granted for decades. Like how to carve a neck by hand with a scraper. I refer to him as my apprentice but he’s really more like my memory exercise trainer.
Little things that come instinctually to me, like how to slightly bend the scraper, are revelations to someone on the learning curve. Jim is a quick study though. He’s good with tools, and his keen intellect allows him to see things both close-up and within the bigger picture. Most of all, he’s got the right attitude. In exchange, I get stimulating conversation and continuing education on all sorts of subjects.
With a degree in Literature and Folklore from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and University of Edinburgh, Scotland Jim has always tread the line between his head and his hands. He was first introduced to instrument making while doing research on dulcimer builders in the Black Mountain region of North Carolina and can’t get it out of his blood. Even when we’re talking about other things, like books, eastern religion or motorcycles, somehow it all relates to the job at hand. That’s why I like Saturdays.