Luke Mercier Musical Instruments
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1972, Luke took to music at a very young age. While completing his classical piano studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Antonin Kubalek in Toronto, Luke began his apprenticeship in Violin restoration at Geo. Heinl & Co. Ltd., in 1991. As a violin restorer of nearly 22 years, he has come to treasure his experience of having handled, studied and restored many rare and important violins, violas and cellos. His most cherished restoration projects to date are of the 1689 'Baumgartner' Antonio Stradivari, works by Francesco Stradivari, J. B. Guadagninni, J.B. Vuillaume, Amati, Guarnieri and Tononi and the list goes on...
In January of 2006, Luke and his better-half Janet relocated their family to Hastings County where they set up a home based workshop / studio in Springbrook.
Luke uses different woods for his instruments, some of which he fines locally. They include Poplar, Black Walnut, Curley Maple and Willow. He says different woods have different sound characteristics. For example, Maple, when used on larger instruments has a tendencey to produce a very bright tone where alternately Poplar can produce a more mature, darker tone from day one. The lower frequencies may take years to develop on instruments constructed from Maple. Luke continues to search for suitable Spruce to employ into his craft but with the high level of mineral and sap deposits he says the closest suitable wood he has seen is old growth Pine. Woods used for musical instrument construction must be dried in a very specific manner. Rather than kiln drying, he prefers the wood to be split with the ends sealed with wax almost immediately to allow the drying process to occur naturally from the inside-out. When the ends are not sealed, the wood dries too quickly from the outside-in which causes splitting and checking. The expected wait time for naturally cured Maple is a five year minimum.
Luke is terrific musician and composer and performs occasionally with various players in Appalachian, Celtic, French Canadian and Bluegrass music circles. As well as playing tradional tunes he also continues to compose new instrumental music in the Traditional style.