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  • Bob Stephens

Timing is Everything!


Stephens Lutherie is moving to Madison, Wisconsin in the middle of the the snowiest winter in a decade. The forecast for this weekend is for -17 degrees- actual temperature, not wind chill. And I can't even use the excuse that I didn't know what I was getting into since I have lived most of my life in Wisconsin. After over a year of not seeing family due to the virus, we decided in October to return and things progressed rapidly. We closed on our new home in December and moved in, in mid January. I have been driving back and forth between SC and WI to transport instruments and other items too fragile or valuable to trust to the moving van. Not feeling that a hotel is an option, I have been going straight through, which has taken a toll. I have one more trip to make and I will be very happy to be done.

So what does this mean for the future of Stephens Lutherie? The hope is that when the dust settles, the shop will be more focused and therefore more efficient for the production of dulcimers. Although the shop will be smaller, it will be designed around work cells for each step of production. Each cell will have all of the materials, tools and supplies needed to complete an operation without leaving the cell. This should significantly increase throughput.

At the moment, all of this is theoretical. I expect it will be several months before the shop is functional. The movers crammed everything into the space so tightly that it is totally gridlocked. It will be a puzzle to get tools into toolbox and lumber into rack so that some semblance of order is achieved.

All of this can't happen too soon. Aaron, Butch and I have lists of projects to be pursued and I am most anxious to get back to work. Undoubtably, some of these cutting edge instruments, once evaluated, will be moved on to a growing list of musicians interested in being a part on this exciting journey. Stay tuned for more details about the series of experiments and the evaluations of these developments as they happen.










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