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John Young: From tuner to turner

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by Leanne Day Harple

 

GLOVER — John Young, a multi-talented artisan from Glover, has spent the last four decades tuning pianos throughout the Northeast Kingdom.  Now, as he transitions to retirement, he has found a unique way to create a second life for his career, as well as for some beautiful pianos that have played their final song.  One of the best parts of his new-found path is that he is able to do it all in a sustainable way that reduces waste and saves the Earth.

Mr. Young, who is widely known locally for being a reputable piano tuner, is also a wood craftsman who recently has been exploring his more artistic side. He is perfecting a style of wooden bowls, boxes, and cutting boards that are made from beautiful recycled wood of old pianos ready for the dump. He also makes instruments. His collection includes wooden snare drums, Peruvian box drums (called cajons in their native language), a kalimba, and a hammer dulcimer that he made at least twenty years ago. He makes the bowls, the boxes, and the drums using a lathe at his workshop, Young’s Piano Shop, in Glover.

The shop, which is partly powered by solar panels on the roof, contains skeleton parts of old pianos. Much of the reclaimed wood that he uses is collected for him by his children, Sherwin and Emily Young, who grew up in Glover and now live and work in Portland, Maine, where Sherwin owns his own piano shop — Starbird Music and Piano Gallery.

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