While the first instrument I played was the modern oboe, the first instruments I made were harpsichords and organs. A talent for metal and woodworking as well as an attraction to early music led me to recreating woodwinds of the past. It was 1973 and I bought a metal lathe and designed and made my first instruments: cornamuse and bagpipes. The pipes were born of the revelation that, according to the iconography, pipes were played all over the Old World and in a multitude of forms. I remember the first thing I played, the Cantiga #1 of the Cantigas de Sancta Maria. It was a hit! No one had thought of using a bagpipe, in spite of the pipers dancing in the marginalia!
In the same period I bought a milling machine and started designing and making cane processing machines, profilers, shapers, and tooling for other makers. In 1983 I started working for Levin Historical Instruments and was introduced to and made a full array of woodwinds: bassoon, dulcian, clarinet, oboe, shawm, and recorders. In 1993 Leslie Ross, the bassoon maker, and I set up shop in New York City.
When I am finished with an instrument hopefully it will look beautiful. But it is the collaboration with a growing number of fine musicians who are further gifted with an understanding of bore and tone holes that turns my work into musical instruments!