About Laurie

Laurie Williams

Laurie lives in the Paraoanui Valley in the Far North of New Zealand's North Island, surrounded by native bush and farmland. It is off the beaten track and to visit requires a rugged drive on rough gravel roads.

He has been building professionally since 1993 in a one man workshop at home and his instruments are all made individually. Since this time, he has built several hundred instruments that include ukulele, guitars, mandolins and also violins.

Part of what distinguishes Laurie from many of today's top luthiers is the story of the building process itself. It is an immersive, hands-on style that has begun in the native forest in search of timber. The Documentary Song of the Kauri documents the pinnacle of his search for the kauri tone wood he uses for his sound boards, but he has often used, and continues to use, wind fallen trees or salvaged logs, the sinkers of previous generations. His extensive stock collected over decades has resulted in some of the most unique and beautiful woods you will ever find.

Starting right at the source felling, milling, or resawing the raw wood gives Laurie absolute control over the tone woods that go into his instruments. It gives new meaning to the phrase "personally selected" tone wood.

Most of the tone woods he uses you simply can't buy "off the shelf". From the rough sawn timber, Laurie cuts all his native sets as well as the smaller items such as the solid wood purfling and binding . Laurie also designs and inlays original designs and invites your ideas when designing a special custom instruments.

His approach to luthiery has grown in to what it is today because the timbers he uses are hard to attain any other way, but Laurie finds that thinking and building this way allows him total control over the creative process all the way from producing the concert quality tone to all the aesthetic details that makes each instrument unique.

It is a labour intensive approach but Laurie enjoys the journey and feels it is an essential part of building his fine instruments.


Click here for the Radio New Zealand interview with Laurie

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