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The Trade Secret

The Trade Secret

by Michael Dresdner

Originally published in American Lutherie #3, 1985 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume One, 2000

I had just turned twenty-three and had my first “real” job in a finishing and furniture repair shop after serving a one-on-one apprenticeship for what seemed like forever. Although I was convinced that I knew far more than I really did, the lure of learning offered by a different and much larger employee pool was strong, and I was eager to start.

As was to be expected, there was a wealth of new finishes and techniques to absorb. Little by little, cans and bottles of strange brews became familiar and controllable tools, and a baffling array of effects was unveiled. Eventually I got to know the names and uses for all of the coatings and colorings as well as the companies that provided them.

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