Enter my friend Johnny Robinson. He read the book and wound up taking his son Ian down to see Wayne’s shop. Wayne welcomed him like family as he does all visitors. “Sure,” he said, “make yourself at home.”
And Johnny did.
For the next several hours the Robinson boys marveled as they watched Wayne move through the early steps of making a Henderson guitar – but what they really noticed was Wayne’s quiet and genuine approach to both the wood and to them. “It was other-worldly,” Johnny told me. “You’ve got to go back down there with me and meet him.”
So we did – and I too experienced the simple and sincere beauty of Wayne’s shop and Wayne himself. World famous? Yes. Could he care one way or the other? No.
Fast-forward 12 years. Yesterday Johnny and I returned to visit Wayne and “check” on the guitar that he had requested on his first visit with Ian. This time we arrived with some rare old growth spruce from atop Cheat Mountain in WV.
Suffice to say Wayne was intrigued.
He ran his fingers over the grain, smelled it closely and then thumped the thin boards with his ear just above them.
Selecting his favorite, he went immediately to the planer and started milling – 20 minutes later the planed, joined, sanded, trimmed, sketched and glued spruce top for Johnny’s guitar was in Wayne’s press.
Progress and then some. We both smiled like Cheshire cats.
(See Part 3 of 3 in next post)