In January 2010
Thomas Orgler and Nikolaus Eilken
teamed up as Thomas Guitars.
Nikolaus "Klaus" Eilken
He was born 1980 in Munich. Klaus started to play classical guitar at the age of eleven. By the age of 14 he worked as a paperboy for a year to earn enough money to buy a Stratocaster. Klaus played in several bands until 2003. At this point he resumed playing classical and acoustic guitar.Klaus became interested in Lutherie while studying "wood technology and industrial engineering" in Rosenheim in a course called "Historical and physical development of music instruments". He already had some experience doing guitar setups for friends.
Fascinated by the physical and tonal interaction of strings and wood, he became addicted to the art of guitar building. Klaus decided to drop out of college and pursue guitar building full time at the luthier school in Mittenwald, Germany in 2005. He met Thomas when he enrolled in his class one year later. Klaus graduated in 2008 with an arsenal of guitar building techniques and his own classical guitar design (the shape of this guitar became later the CS 35 model) he moved to Verona, Italy to work for Roberto Fontanot. In 2010, still in contact with Thomas they decided to team up in his workshop in Bolzano.
Born in Bolzano/ Italy in 1982 picked up a guitar and started his first band at the age of 15. Due to his clever songwriting his reputation rapidly grew in the local scene and finally got hired three years later by the international known metal band Graveworm from Bruneck. He had a great time with the band touring through Europe, Russia, North America, Korea and Mexico, playing many shows and festivals around the world along with bands like Kataklysm, Destruction and Hypocrisy. During his time with Graveworm he recorded three records, but quit in 2012 to concentrate on Guitar making.
As a young child he was fascinated with Woodworking, he favored tools to toys as birthday presents, so it was no surprise when he pursued carpentry after finishing school and worked as a carpenter for nine years. Missing the artistic part in his profession he became interested in guitar making and made his first classical Guitar in 2005 at the "civica scuola di liuteria" in Milano. In 2006 he started at the international known luthier school in Mittenwald, Germany, where he built numerous classical and acoustic guitars, and also got to appreciate Klaus, not only as a friend but also as an excellent artisan with a never ending interest in guitars.
What is so special about moonspruce and what is the difference to typically cut tonewood?
Already hundreds of years ago, without any scientific proof, all over the world people had discovered the advantages of using wood that is cut according to the phase of the moon. Moonspruce was used in many ways, from ancient Japanese temples to Roman warships and while scientific proof was lacking, the builders found out empirically that there is a remarkable difference. Houses wouldn´t burn so easily and ships would last longer, being resistant to vermins in the salty water - just by cutting the wood at the right period of the year and phase of the moon.
When it comes to tonewood, we always talk about stiffness, weight and aging, but forget that precisely those parameters are strongly influenced by the time it has been cut. What does actually happen inside the tree, and how does the moon affect the quality of the wood even years after it has been cut?
One possible answer lies in the complex interaction of water with its surrounding cellulose tissue. There are two forms of water that can be found inside the trunk. The first is the water that the tree uses for transporting nutrients from the roots to the peripheral branches and leaves, while the other one is the water that the cells absorb themselfes.
Scientists from the ETH Zürich have uncovered (Erwin Thoma - Holzwunder) that the quantity of water that can be absorbed by the cells varies depending on the phase of the moon with its minimum absorption just before new moon. At the same time, the overall quantity of water inside the trunk varies by season with its minimum amount in December. Each time a tree is cut, its cellular structure gets „frozen“ which influences the drying and shrinking process significantly.
By chosing the right time of the year, when the overall water in the trunk is at its minimum, we minimize the overall shrinking process, and thereby to lessen tension inside the wood and lessen the dangery of cracking. Furthermore, we can harvest wood of very high quality, by choosing the time of cutting according to the phase of the moon when the cells have absorbed very little water: the cells „freeze“ in their naturally smallest form with a very strong membrane, and do not change their size significantly while drying. Ultimately, that leads to a very rigid tissue with a higher density that is less prone to warping through exposure to moisture.
Thus, by carefully selecting the time when we harvest the tree, we get wood that - while it is shrinking a lot more in the first drying period when the uncombined water is drying becomes almost resistant to humidity changes and warping. The cellular structure gets stronger, the weight per volume increases, and so does the ratio stability per weight which suits perfectly to the characteristics of tonewood.