Who We Are
The knowledge that this book contains comes from Thurmond Knight, a professional luthier. He got into this work because in the middle of a long cello rehearsal, Lucille, his cello, in mid note, collapsed into splinters. The anguish on his face was palpable as he carried the broken old girl into the local lutherie and placed her on the gurney. After careful examination the cello doctor announced, with a somewhat dramatic flourish, that Lucille would live to sing again. Major surgery to one of her cracked lower ribs would be required posthaste, at an estimated $1,000.00. Feeling the flatness of his wallet at the time, Thurmond inquired whether he might learn to do violin and cello repairs. The repair doctor pulled out a brochure he had just received from the Summer Violin Craftsmanship Institute at the University of New Hampshire and handed it over, recommending Thurmond sign up at once as class size was limited.
And so began Thurmond's long career of violin making and repair and restoration of fine stringed instruments. The university offered courses in making, repairing and re-hairing of bows, instrument repair and violin making, all taught by masters. After making a violin bow and cello bow, and doing hundreds of repairs, Thurmond met Karl Roy, Master Violin Maker from the Bavarian State School of Violinmaking in Mittenwald, Bavaria. Thurmond studied with Mr. Roy for 6 summers, and then became his UNH shop assistant, a position he held for nine years.
The rest is history. Violinmaking became Thurmond's passion. After opening and operating Vermont Violins, a retail store and lutherie in Montpelier, Vermont for 5 years, he sold the business and moved to the hinterlands of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom where he opened a new shop and founded The Vermont School of Violinmaking.
What Burt Porter, a fiddler, contributed to this book is the necessary ignorance for the project. Someone like Thurmond who really knows about his subject needs an affable ignoramus to ask questions he wouldn't think needed answers, and also to look bewildered and say "huh?" when the luthier gets technical too quickly.