Cat went fiddle-i-fee
November 16, 2009 4:11 PM   Subscribe

My secret santa giftee is an in-law who I have never met. 50-something, craftsman (violin-maker). Budget is £25 (ca. $40). My hope: something sock-knocking in the classical or folk vein; preferably on the new side.
posted by sagwalla to Shopping (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe an antique wood-carving tool.
I know nothing about the violin-making profession, but the tools here look cool--and a lot are within your budget.
posted by mixer at 4:23 PM on November 16, 2009

Hmm...carving tools from Lee Valley? They are timeless, elegant and every craftsman I know loves them. Or a Goldsteel Knife?
posted by jeanmari at 4:30 PM on November 16, 2009

does he play the violin as well? or just make them?
posted by kylej at 4:32 PM on November 16, 2009

Are you saying you're asking for contemporary folk/classical violin music?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:39 PM on November 16, 2009

These are also very cool, and also from Lee Valley.
posted by Max Power at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2009

Best answer: Maybe a recording of Bach's first three cello suites performed on an instrument built in 1673, about 50 years before Bach even wrote the music.

(And engineered by an audiophile who builds his own microphones, no less. MA is a great-sounding label.)
posted by cribcage at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just want to say: getting a craftsperson tools without knowing much about craftsperson or tools can be extremely hit or miss. People are picky about the tools they use.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:00 PM on November 16, 2009

Consensus seems to be on Lee Valley. If you're not sure what to go for, get a Gift Certificate along with a Woodworkers Catalog. Veritable woodworkers porn. Hey, I'm not even a woodworker, and that catalog kept me dreamy-eyed for hours.
posted by alms at 6:14 PM on November 16, 2009

If I were going shopping on the Internet for woodworking tools, I'd load GarrettWade before Lee Valley. Although I have bought from Lee Valley, and they're a very good company, too. But Oneirodynia is spot-on, above: buying tools for a craftsman blind is iffy.
posted by cribcage at 6:30 PM on November 16, 2009

Best answer: Some recordings of Cape Breton traditional music?
posted by socratic at 6:45 PM on November 16, 2009

As a furniture maker, I can second the opinion that serious craftspeople (and instrument makers are some of the finest woodworkers to be sure) are picky about the tools they use. Poor tools are useless, and even average tools will only win you that nervous "Oh, you shouldn't have" smile. But there are some fine tool makers out there that make tools any crafts-person would love to have no matter what their specialty or how many tools they already have.

Lie Nielsen is one of those companies. They make beautiful examples of the most basic tools in any woodworker's collection, the ones that get used over and over and over again. The ones you can't live without. Pretty much any edge or measuring tool you see in their catalog would be a welcome gift, even if he already has the exact same tool. Scrapers fall within your price range and are relatively mundane tools that might not jump out of the catalog, but are used often, and would be much appreciated. And I know it is somewhat anticlimactic, but even a gift card to Lie Nielsen would be appreciated and showed you put thought into the gift. He may just be $40 away from a plane or chisel he has been coveting...not that I would know anything about that.
posted by nickjadlowe at 9:55 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oooh. I'd never seen Lie Nielsen. Lovely stuff. The hand scrapers with case fall into your price range, perfect for a Secret Santa gift, and handy as well.
posted by jeanmari at 4:53 AM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: Musically, Melody of Rhythm (Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer (& the DSO)) is a great melding of Indian and American folk plus traditional orchestral styling. It's quite new (recorded in January 2009, released in September), and is fairly sock-knocking.

I'm also fond of Appalachian Journey (Edgar Meyer, Alison Krauss, Mark O'Connor, etc) and Appalachian Waltz (YoYo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor). For something farther afield but still sock-knocking, Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet 1, 2.

For a useful-for-woodcrafting gift, quality fine or superfine sandpaper and a new sanding block. Or a couple of high quality dusting brushes for making sure that every last bit of sawdust or sanding dust is gone.
posted by jlkr at 5:17 AM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all for the suggestions. I am definitely thinking recordings rather than tools - as many of you suggested, buying tools would be difficult as I don't know what he has or what he uses.

There are some pretty cool recording suggestions there, and as my budget permits I'll pick up at least a couple of them in different genres. Cheers!
posted by sagwalla at 6:26 AM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: If anyone was wondering, I wound up with the following CDs:

Buddy MacMaster - The Judique Flyer

David Lang: The Little Match Girl Passion

The former thanks to the suggestion from socratic and the latter via the "2009: 10 Exceptional Recordings" posting on Alex Ross's blog Unquiet Thoughts.
posted by sagwalla at 6:45 AM on December 9, 2009

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