Lute making summer school
August 6th - 14th 2005

Workshop picture

The Workshop

This was the sixth summer school we've run based on the idea of jointly making one lute in a week. The lute is then donated to the Lute Society for use as a hire instrument. In the past we have made a six course renaissance lute, a 13 course ‘swan-neck’ German baroque lute, a 14 course theorbo, a six course bass lute, an eleven course baroque lute. This year we were making a seven course tenor lute. It is an opportunity to learn in practical terms how to make a lute and to take part in the different processes. This report has been a very long time in preparation, partly because so many people took so many large and interesting photos that it became a an enormous job to select and resize the pictures.

The aim was also to have a nice time!
01.jpg (90 K) The group assembled behind the little pile of wood necessary to make a tenor lute. From left to right: David, Nicolas Eteradossi from France, Anders Ahlborg from Sweden, Nick Gravestock from England, Angus Bentley from England, Paulo Ennes from Portugal, Robert Marsh from England, John Buckman From America and Thea.
02.jpg (48 K) Anders glues on the second rib of yew including the line of hornbeam.
02a.jpg (91 K) Anders trimming a rib while Nick examines something through the magnifying glasses. It’s a bit early in the week for the rose, but that’s what it looks like.
03.jpg (50 K) John marking up a rib before trimming its outer side, with Nick standing by the bandsaw and Nicolas working on the rose.
04jpg.jpg (90 K) Nicolas glues on one of the later ribs.
05.jpg (45 K) Anders gluing on the final rib on the treble side, it’s beginning to look like a lute.
06.jpg (43 K) Robert cleaning up the back showing the different colours of the yew.
08.jpg (62 K) Nicolas checking the edge levels of the back.
09.jpg (36 K) Anders checking the thicknesses of the soundboard.
10.jpg (38 K) John cutting a practice rose.
11.jpg (34 K) Paulo shaping the heads of the pegs.
12.jpg (89 K) Martin Bowers was one of the visiting lutemakers who came to inspect and encourage, here he looks on with Paulo.
13.jpg (36 K) Robert and Nicolas also looking on.
14.jpg (56 K) Thea’s cooking is one of the most important parts of the week’s attractions!
15.jpg (39 K) Robert and David.
16.jpg (89 K) John concentrates on turning a peg.
17.jpg (90 K) Everyone took a turn at turning, here it is Nicolas making a nice job of a peg.
18.jpg (42 K) Paulo finishing off the head of a peg on the sanding belt. Even this lute has 13 pegs, so there are plenty to be made.
19.jpg (84 K) Eating al fresco during our lunch break. Stephen Gottlieb visited and here is hiding behind the parasol shaft..
20.jpg (39 K) Interestingly there were several versions of the same lute that we were building and here John is playing one of them in the conservatory which has a rather nice acoustic for lute-playing.
21.jpg (48 K) Nick and Robert measuring out a part of the pegbox.
22.jpg (86 K) Nicolas and David discussing some point of lute scholarship.
23.jpg (91 K) Paulo makes a point; you can tell he has been in the diplomatic service.
24.jpg (48 K) Nick brought along the theorbo we made in the 2001 summer School.and it was much played as people tried out a new experience. Here Anders plays in the conservatory.
25.jpg (41 K) John, who is a computer expert, spent some time surfing on Thea’s laptop and sorted out some remote speakers for her.
26.jpg (38 K) Peter Forrester, the famous wire-string instrument maker was another welcome visitor.
27.jpg (90 K) El Presidente! Ian Harwood shows how big they were in the old days.
28.jpg (54 K) Stephen Gottlieb visited and joined in the discussion of techniques with Gernot Hilger, another vistor from earlier summer schools.
29.jpg (47 K) Stephen Gottlieb giving a demonstration of how he cuts his roses. This was totally different to the method we used, yet the result was very similar.
30.jpg (90 K) Nicolas cutting the rose with “our” method.
31.jpg (46 K) Angus carving the surface relief of the rose.
32.jpg (48 K) The finished rose! Although it was the work of everyone on the course, the result was very even and looks entirely homogenous.
34.jpg (69 K) Another day, another lunch, another visitor. This time Martin Bowers waits for his food..
36.jpg (39 K) Anders glues on one of the soundboard bars.
37.jpg (47 K) John takes his turn with a bar gluing.
38.jpg (90 K) Lynda Sayce also visited ......................
39.jpg (31 K) ...............and gave a concert in the King of Hearts, a local arts centre based in a wonderful medieval building..
40.jpg (49 K) Al fresco again, with the wine bottle suitably centre-stage.
41.jpg (35 K) Anders gluing on the bridge. It looks as if we were working late.
42.jpg (43 K) Nicolas taking notes. The course is an opportunity to learn a lot of new techniques and methods.
43.jpg (26 K) Paulo cleaning up the nearly completed lute.
44.jpg (65 K) Angus’s MGB was a star of the week and raised the tone of the neighbourhood temporarily. It even matched the paintwork!
45.jpg (47 K) At the end Anders was given a lift to Stansted in the MGB.
46.jpg (71 K) The final tableau with Paulo serenading Thea on the newly completed lute.

Report on 1999 summer schoolReport on 2000 summer school
Report on 2001 summer schoolReport on 2002 summer school
Report on 2003 summer schoolReport on 2006 summer school
2007 Summer School details