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What I love about what I do for a living


Craig Tucker

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Here it is, 10;00 in the PM, March 20, 2012, (counting that Mayan calander down...) and all I have left to do in the shop is a bridge for this $400.00 student violin... It's pretty much a typical day.

Pretty much just one more, in an endless chain of "routine" jobs.

This specific fiddle needs a new bridge, because the old one was way too thin, and turned into a potato chip - so, I selected this low end (student quality) Teller bridge. I've already re-fit and repositioned the sound post, cut, domed, doped and redrilled the string holes on the pegs... (just because I felt like doing it)

And am about half finished with the bridge.

...and I'm in no rush to finish it, in fact, I can take as long as I want to with it - the customer won't know either way - if I spend fifteen minutes on it, or five hours.

My wife is out for a while, helping an ailing and aging neighbor (a fellow violin maker, in fact)

It's a cold and windy out, after a cold and windy/cloudy day - moody but nice evening wether, after a couple of 85-90 degree days. Crazy-eyed Hanna the wire haired terrorier is sitting by my feet, listening to music with me, and I have decided to finish a half full icy cold Guiness. (honestly, all joking aside, it's a pretty rare event in my life, because my health will only allow me to drink on rare occasions...)

What's not to love?

I've got the stereo on much too loud for anyone but me. (the neighbors held a Quinceañera for their daughter yesterday, and they owe me one...)

If I want too I can go as far as to craft this bridge into a little jewel.

And I get paid to do this?

I love doing this, because, for some odd reason, when I'm doing this, I really don't have a care in the world, I cut it all out, pretty much always - life is good for me.

Just saying.

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Had my parents over this evening with a small group of friends, and sat around laughing and playing pinochle. We had a great time, and hope to do it again soon. But, I tell you this, I'd love to be doing what your doing right now, or rather, right then. What a joy to do your passion and get paid for it. Want to train me? Ha. :)

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I share the same sentiments - for some health reasons too. I suffer from a rare headache disorder called Cluster Headaches which is much more than just a headache or a migrane. Pretty much a full on attack of the autonomic system and everything goes haywire... pull out the injections and slam them in my arm... Ive had to put down a stradivari violin once and leave due to this thorn in the flesh...

I love the zish of a really sharp scraper. Agonizing over proper proportions of a scroll, purfling the old fashioned way.. Watching the cat chase around shavings in the floor... The tedious care I use to make varnish... From start to finish there is nothing else on this planet that brings me as much joy of birthing some wood into something that becomes a voicepiece for the soul of some musician. According to the woman her favorite smell in the house is freshly planed wood and oil varnish. And I have permission to join plates in the kitchen during the winter months from being too cold in the basement for gluing...

Rather than wax poetic about common things i'm sure we all enjoy, I enjoy doing what I do because I feel its the best thing I can possibly do. And if my body starts feeling like it's getting mauled by a herd of dinosaurs on meth, I can go upstairs for a bit, get a cup of joe and injections, and then get excited to get back downstairs again making shavings. I work from 4:30am to whenever I get yelled at to "put down the chisel".

Back to work with me.. have a viola that needs to be completed and sent to canada..

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Having spent my teens and 20's drinking copious amounts of Guiness I feel that I can offer some help here. ;) Contrary to advertising and popular belief, Guiness is actually NOT good for you. If you must drink guiness at home try the canned draught variety, there's a small widget in the bottom of the can which makes the beer creamy and gives it a proper head when you pour it into a glass. Helps if you serve it chilled. Cheers.

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Had my parents over this evening with a small group of friends, and sat around laughing and playing pinochle. We had a great time, and hope to do it again soon. But, I tell you this, I'd love to be doing what your doing right now, or rather, right then. What a joy to do your passion and get paid for it. Want to train me? Ha. :)

If you can still sit around and laugh with your parents, you are way ahead of the game...

Too bad you're not local. Still, any one of us can do what their passion is - the pay aspect of it is secondary.

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Rather than wax poetic about common things i'm sure we all enjoy, I enjoy doing what I do because I feel its the best thing I can possibly do. And if my body starts feeling like it's getting mauled by a herd of dinosaurs on meth, I can go upstairs for a bit, get a cup of joe and injections, and then get excited to get back downstairs again making shavings. I work from 4:30am to whenever I get yelled at to "put down the chisel".

Ahhh, yes - the wife...

Was' up with them, anyway?

Thanks for posting this - sorry about the condition.

Back in '93, I had a very badly botched kidney transplant. There is a four and a half month period in there, where I still cannot remember anything.

What I do remember, is laying in the hospital bed, thinking that my time had not come yet - because I had just gotten a new shipment of wood from the tonewood dealer, that had to be made into violins, just before I got the call from Albuquerque that a kidney was available...

I have come to the conclusion that it really isn't what one does, but how one does it - that matters.

The journey.

Nor can any "thorn in the flesh" crush our spirit, if we don't allow it to.

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Having spent my teens and 20's drinking copious amounts of Guiness I feel that I can offer some help here. ;) Contrary to advertising and popular belief, Guiness is actually NOT good for you. If you must drink guiness at home try the canned draught variety, there's a small widget in the bottom of the can which makes the beer creamy and gives it a proper head when you pour it into a glass. Helps if you serve it chilled. Cheers.

Ben Conover..., always with the practical advice - what a pragmatist!

"Helps if you serve it chilled"

Good call, my friend, I've had it up to here (holding hand up to forehead) with the "warm beer" crowd.

Warm beer - what utter tomfoolery.

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I would be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of you guys (and gals) that get to do this full time for a living. At the end of the day in my "real" job, it looks like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. I grew up working with my hands but now I get paid for thinking and pushing buttons which is probably a good thing since my back doesn't allow for heavy physical work anymore. What keeps me going each day is knowing that I get to go home each night to my family and then spend some time working on violins in the evening after the kids go to bed.

So the question is, if I worked on violins during the day, would I have a different hobby in the evenings? What do those of you professionals do at the end of the day or do you enjoy your work so much that it all blends into your personal life?

James

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Lets be honest - I was doomed to be an instrument pervert from the time I was a kid. I wore out my records of Heifetz and Pearlman early on. :)

And Guinness is best served at Dublin Gate 34 degrees straight out of the tap. In great contrast from quietly working on instruments all Zen and content, I can be found at Major League Soccer games yelling at players from the front row midfield. HAHAHA. I find it hard to get things done on the weekends if something Premier League is on the tube.

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Craig, nice thread....It's the love of the creative forces,

the communication and dialogue with the material, and process. Forming the materials and seeing the changes, for me serves as a metaphor for life,some how sitting alone carving, or out in the forge, I feel connected to the big picture.(most times)

Philosophically speaking,I've always been driven to do work that connects the body and soul (if in fact there is a soul,best to hedge my bets). Years ago,I went to Washington DC to join the protest against the first Gulf War....long story short,the experience was a bit disheartening <_< . I grew up very artistic and musical,not gifted but energetic and driven....After DC, I came to the conclusion that,perhaps my time might be better spent building up the beautiful, as opposed to tearing down the ugly...My (for me) art acted as as my protest in a manner. Now, good art does not insure the good morality of the observer....I.E. WW2 & the Nazis.....That said, I do believe that good art helps us to become fully human. Good art shows a path to our self,and casts a light into the darkness, that so often surrounds our adult lives. As a small "a" artist, My primary interest is in tools, functional art. In the end it is an extreme honor to produce work that goes onto a life it's own,functioning as a tool for people to cast a bit of light into the dark....Oh Yea.....forgot....violin are just plain sexy as %#!! :) ....like OMG!...., I've always loved the form,and function, got side tracked with life and only in the last few years reconnected....The last thing my grandpa said before he passed was

"do what you love, or you will never be good at what you do"

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LOL.

CT, I'm laughing because you have posted two new topics in the last couple of days, and I have to believe that you have either done so intentionally or subconsciously to draw attention away from the thread from hell. I'm reminded of one explanation of how chess was invented, supposedly by a king/general to take his men's minds off of war. Well, I say BRAVO CT. My mind has been taken.

Yep, we who get to deal with the violin and the 'cello (of course the viola doesn't really fit in) are lucky. We don't always realize it in the heat of all the exasperations that striving for perfection can cause, but stepping back every once and a while gives a chance to see how fortunate we are. We're also blessed by a forum such as this; we can get or give a little pat on the back or encouragement.

I've been involved with the violin for 62 years. Something the other day set me to thinking about it and I realized that about half of every waking hour, for all those years, my mind has been on some aspect of the violin. It is a subject so rich and all-encompassing that one would have to be a fool not to be fascinated. The only thing which bugs my anally-retentive self is that one can never know everything about it or arrive at perfection.

I said on another thread that the violin is a calling. I don't know if Kubasa should be jealous or not, since I don't know if this is the best profession in the world or not, but to be able to satisfy a calling is a fortunate circumstance, otherwise, there is always that little nagging pull at the back of the soul.

CT, you caused me to do a little inventory of some of the memorable moments in my violin-related life. I'll mention one. The first violin I ever saw, outside of the student violins we had in our school orchestra, was, of all things, a Sacconi! Quite a coincidence, considering it was in Lubbock, Texas, a long way from New York (not so far from you, though). It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. After all these years, it's hard not to take it as some sort of omen or message.

For some time before I finally started to make, I enivisioned myself sitting at a neat bench, in a relaxed thoughtful manner, making careful strokes, always in a joyous state of control. WHAT AN IDIOT! :lol: The joke was on me. We bring whatever we were before to the craft. But, I'm happy to say that making is helping me to change, and I'm happier for it. Long live the violin.

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Craig; nice subject for the first day of spring.

Always been attracted to things that cause me to forget to eat and sleep... things that seem to make time stop. :) This job is rarely boring either... and Yuen; I do get out to fish and play around with other things every once in a while.

Best industry compliment/comment I received from a colleague was a few years after I left "the firm" (time there contained some pretty great moments as well... worked with a lot of cool characters inside the shop and out, many who I still work with on occasion). An old client asked one of the fellows still at the firm, "So how is Jeff doing?". His response was "He's happy". Quite accurate.

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LOL.

CT, I'm laughing because you have posted two new topics in the last couple of days, and I have to believe that you have either done so intentionally or subconsciously to draw attention away from the thread from hell. I'm reminded of one explanation of how chess was invented, supposedly by a king/general to take his men's minds off of war. Well, I say BRAVO CT. My mind has been taken.

Ha ha!

Good call Will. I'm properly busted.

You MUST be in your sixties, when you can see straight through what a kid in his mid-fifties is trying to do...

When I attempt to manipulate things, I JUST HATE IT (just kidding) when someone sees right through my attempts, and calls me on it!

(Still, I'm simply posting the truth as see it - with the hope that the truth will set various prople on to a more productive road than playing one-upsmanship, it gets tedious doesnt it?.)

Life's too short for that, isn't it?

Thanks for chiming in

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(Still, I'm simply posting the truth as see it - with the hope that the truth will set various prople on to a more productive road than playing one-upsmanship, it gets tedious doesnt it?.)

Life's too short for that

Not only that, but Maestronet has had (I believe) enough of this type of thing recently, and since there are still friends posting here, I'd rather try to nudge things along rather than throw my hand up just yet.

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Craig; nice subject for the first day of spring.

Thanks.

Today looks like spring here.

Best industry compliment/comment I received from a colleague was a few years after I left "the firm"

I've been told that you can never really "leave the firm"... (?)

I know that this can sound sort of shallow, but "being happy" with your life is a huge thing.

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Today looks like spring here.

I know that this can sound sort of shallow, but "being happy" with your life is a huge thing.

New Mexico appears to be one of these special places on the planet (have not been there ---yet) and beginning of spring must be delicious, happy for you Craig.

Being happy is the hardest easiest thing there is.smile.gif (or is it the other way around? rolleyes.gif) Lucky for us once you are in the path it just becomes easier and easier....

Autumn here at the end of a year's journey of our floating home refit, thanks to you guys, Jeffrey and MN, the varnish part has been extremely fun and educating, and will stay with me till the end of my days.

Cold front is gone, hot days until the next one, in a week probably, varnish is happy, things are calmer, animals behave differently, wife and me too, early mornings when the howler monkeys scream, we know it's going to be a sunny day. the large school of red fish (wish I knew the name -about 12 inches) that has been with us for the las week has left us, today wife dived to clean the hull, she sad it was very beautiful and clear, new friends, a large school of silver fish with yellow tail, up to about 10 inches , and another of small silver about 8 inches, and our locals very small all black + the yellow and black striped Sergeant Major, lots of them, also the brown primitive looking one, they seem to recognize us and get very excited when one of us dive, we let loose tons of barnacles and other growth and they feat, major banquet, and they follow us around happy.

Wood is looking nice, really love the looks of dioxazine violet I applied today, I learned from Evan Smith's post. thanks Evan, the varnishes me and my iranian sailor friend cooked a few weeks ago are looking nice, the annatto he collected from the tree he found nearby is fermenting, following fiddlecollectors old post, and waiting for another rosin varnish experiment, , just for fun, even it it fades, before lunch and by the end of the day I jump into my large swimming pool, major prize, that and a piece of chocolate, you know the house is small, but the pool is large.

We can see the small village in the Island from here, 1/2 of it a wonderful reserve, may it stay that way, and about 7 miles NE from us we see the continent.

Right now drinking some sailor's white wine (sailor's wine is what I call the cheapest drinkable wine you can get) finishing the post and getting ready to finish the rest of the bottle outside with my treasured companion. smile.gif

Two pictures, first our view from the village, second in the trail to our secret weekend hideout - 30 minutes by dinghy + 40 minutes trail.

Many thanks to all my cherished new friends at MN.wink.gif

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I loved the feel of the toothed shaping the flamed maple this morning.

By afternoon I was shaping the peculiar corners and shaping the overhang.

Plates for the "Ole Bull" del Gesu

Spring isn't too flowery around here. It's a good idea to get your

walk in before the roads thaw. Snow cover and ice turns to mud

by noon. Snow slowly retreats up the mountain over the next six

weeks with a few blizzards. The "flowery/leafy" spring begins somewhere

between 20 May and Fathers Day.

Morning rush hour at the Avalanche Cafe

I need help uploading my profile photo.

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