What a lutaio showed me about the joys of work


This post is by Roy Bahat from Also by Roy Bahat – Medium


My brother, son, and I visit with a violinmaker.

In my job, we back startups who make work more productive or more humane, and I try to understand how people think about work. I spend the vast majority of my time with people who have a particular take on work — technology company founders. So, when my brother told me he’d befriended a violinmaker, I wanted to learn how a craftsman who makes musical instruments experiences work. Dario Ghislotti, my brother’s friend the luthier (or, in Italy, where he and my brother live, a lutaio), was generous to tour us in his workshop. My brother, and my son who was with us on our trip, stopped by and listened one evening as Dario was finishing his day. As a professional, I found so much of what Dario said familiar, and some wildly different from what I see in my work. Dario makes roughly one new product a year. A violin takes 3–400 hundred hours of active work to make from scratch, and some of the steps just take time (like painting the finish, which takes a month itself). When I asked him which step was the most difficult, he said “all of them” — because he strains to put focused care into each moment.
Templates for starting the violinmaking process
To become a luthier, he needed to master an unusually wide range of skills. He learned from his uncle, and they share the same workshop. From understanding the math and physics of sound (including the Fibonacci (Read more…)