Tonewood for Violin Makers Bois de Lutherie Aigrisse
Bois de Lutherie Aigrisse is indeed a Belgian family business created 34 years ago in the city of La Louvière (Belgium).
It was founded by my father and myself in 1987 thanks to our shared passion for musical instruments and woodworking.
My father had learned violin making from a luthier in La Louvière, he unfortunately left us two years ago at the age of 87, he was still active in the enterprise.
We are now two administrators in the company and we take charge of the research, cut, and sale of our products with the same passion from the beginning.
We only specialized in curly maple supplies for violin making.
Finding wood is one of the most complex operations in our business.
Each year, numerous rigorous searches are necessary in order to discover the most beautiful specimens meeting all the essential criteria for a wood of violin making.
Not all regions of France provide maple trees that meet these criteria. Belgium does not have a suitable territory for this.
There is no limitation as to the volume of production, but the curly maple is a rare and precious wood and if certain subjects meet the aesthetic criteria they do not always meet the criteria of sound obviously very important for the lutherie.
This means that we can only find a few eligible specimens.
One tree in a thousand meets the aesthetic and sound criteria of high quality allowing us to satisfy a customer of demanding professional luthiers.
The number of trees that we can acquire each year is always random.
We produce complete supplies, Back, Neck and Ribs, from the same tree for the violin family, ie Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass.
Our flagship product is probably the quartet, of which the four pieces (2 violins 1 viola and 1 cello) are entirely performed in the same tree.
The most commonly requested supplies are the 1 or 2 pieces violin backs which are also our largest production, the rarest being the 1 piece cello backs.
As far as possible, we sometimes respond to specific customer requests based on the availability of our stock.
Our work begins with the search for trees that meet the Lutherie criteria.
This is a very important and very long part of our work because it requires many trips and not always useful. It is also the task that requires the most knowledge and experience due to the uncertainties that reign over the internal structure of wood.
A wood can be interesting in appearance and not eligible for cutting for the defects it contains.
Then you have to acquire this tree by offering bids, then repatriate it to perform state of the art cutting rules in our workshops in La Louvière. We then proceed to a natural outdoor drying under shelter before storage in our warehouses under constant and controlled humidity for good conservation.
We produce complete supplies, back, neck, Ribs, from the same tree for the violin family, ie Violin, Viola, Cello, Contra-bass.
But we also provide, in smaller quantities, supplies for classical guitar, jazz guitar, Game viola dand other instruments whose measurements are such that they can be built into basic supplies.
To acquire our supplies, luthiers can come directly to us in the warehouse to make their choice, by appointment 7 days a week.
We also have a website where photo catalogs are available for consultation. There are many backgrounds for violin, Viola, cello, double bass and quartet.
These catalogs represent a large part of our stock, photos of instrument backgrounds that luthiers can appreciate one by one and thus make their choice, note the corresponding references and send us their order by email.
Delivery is made only by a specialized carrier (UPS) which allows us to track the delivery and keep our customers informed.
We deliver all over the world.
Our packaging is mainly cardboard packaging, for larger parts we reinforce the packaging with single “UNALITE” panels to ensure delivery in good condition.
All of our supplies meet a template that allows you to build any type of instrument in its category.
For a violin for example, our backgrounds allow you to make any type of violin because we always leave a margin compared to the standard template requested by our customers.
We are only specialized in supplying Curly Maple. No other wood species and no other products.
Our customers have requests for more or less old supplies, with more or less density, on a particular characteristic of wood, and on which we know how to orient them.
The other aspects of lutherie are specific and specific to each luthier, they are outside our tasks.
We are not affected by these changes.
Regarding ecology, we are very respectful of the standards and rules in force.
We only use the processes of the French National Forest Organization to acquire our trees.
For our work, we only use power tools that run on electricity a few months a year (3 or 4 depending on the season), and we do not use chemicals.
All our wood offcuts are used for heating purposes.
We do not use robotics or computers to produce our pieces. Only mechanical tools.
There is no training school, and transmission is a family Business.
We don’t have this need.
Each tree is different!
And in addition to looking for the tree that will suit the violin as you track a nugget, working with a noble material such as wood, it is also looking for the right cuts through the tree, which will best suit luthiers and which makes this profession so interesting.
Each Luthier has his convictions and his working methods which differentiate him from his colleagues according to his projects and his sensibilities.
We try to provide them with the best pieces with the best presentation possible, so as to secure their purchase without any unpleasant surprises when working with their piece of wood.
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