Sunday, April 17, 2016


Lioger, Hand-Stitched Rasps Facebook page, 2014

“The rifflers have just arrived and they look beautiful –
elegant. Unpacked one and tried it on a piece of cherry
I have been working on and the teeth must be like those
of little devils; they take off such a fine set of shavings
with little effort.”
- Vincent Gaubert, as quoted on the Liogier website

Unwrapped from its oiled leather, the riffler’s curved as
a cat’s tongue, ready to lick the neck wood down until it
smooths into a song. I’ve watched luthiers at work—such
elegant dark arts, I wondered, what midnight bargains were
made to ensure the hide glue bound not just soundboard
and back, but musician to listener, air to ear? No matter.
The bite of a rasp, the resinous dust, all of this making is
what I’ve come to see. Still, when the workshop empties
and luthiers head home, I’ll stay—listen to the wind tumble
down off a mountainside, fingering, bending these strings.

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