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I spent a few days last week enjoying the hospitality of Rick Toone. We have been collaborating and exchanging e-mails for a long time and with timings, schedules and planets all aligned, I travelled to Frenchtown, NJ to meet and work face to face. We had a great time! Thursday, we started by hanging out in Rick’s new home-based shop, and saw each other’s work for the first time. I got to see Dove and Cupid which are both fantastic instruments and work in progress. I had brought some representative samples of my own as well.

Friday, we hooked up with Rick’s friends John (middle) and Ken (right) for some laughs, lunch and prep for a meeting with Townsend Machine in Chesterfield, NJ.

In the image above, Bart and Bill appear with Rick and myself in front of one of Townsend’s sophisticated 5-axis CNC machines. Townsend have done some exceptional quality work for Rick and we got a factory tour that left us very impressed.

Saturday was spent in the shop brainstorming and prototyping some bridge concepts that we have been collaborating on in the Design and Technology Exchange over at elutherie.org.

Stay tuned to this space for more information to come about the concepts we played around with.

We also did some work on the so-called “Headless Wiggle“. This discussion was originally started by Mats Eriksson at elutherie.org. We did some tests and recorded some videos as well to illustrate the concepts, which will be posted on YouTube and on elutherie.org. Since the discussion there is so well written, I will not attempt to duplicate it here.

We worked a lot during these few days and both of our heads were filled to the brim with ideas at the end. Nevertheless, it was truly the luthier’s holiday I had hoped for. As an additional benefit, I got a peek into the life of Rick and got to meet his lovely wife Tricia, his pets Josie and Meow, his parents and a few of his closest friends. We have several micro-partnerships brewing.

While not lutherie-related, I will also offer just a few photos that I took an early jet-lagged morning. I had been out for a only a few minutes before I realized that telephone posts were the common denominator and they became the theme for the session.