My Journey to the Land of Nerdy

My Journey to the Land of Nerdy

I’ve owned a laser cutter for a few years and have used it to entertain myself and my friends with a wide variety of eclectic and often weird “art” pieces that I’ve designed and built but never really hit on my niche…

…Until one day when my daughter-in-law posted a picture of a laser cut toy model of a hurdy gurdy, thinking that it might be something for me to make. My other daughter-in-law saw it and went kind of crazy because she had always wanted a hurdy gurdy.

Other than one line in an old song, I had never heard of a hurdy gurdy, so I went to work doing my favorite thing…research.

I immediately found that luthier-built hurdy gurdies are very expensive, made primarily in European countries, and there is a very long waiting list for one from any decent maker. It was also obvious that there were many pretenders…makers who throw together “hurdy gurdy shaped objects”, sell them as real instruments and separate people from their money with no happy result. There didn’t seem to be an affordable option to be had in a reasonable amount of time.

The one exception was a little jewel called the Nerdy Gurdy. It’s a kit, reminiscent of Ikea furniture, sold in a flat pack and built in the comfort of your own home. The designer and holder of the copyright, Jaap Brand, had made the plans freely available for personal use on Thingiverse.

One thing led to another and I cut my first Nerdy Gurdy and built it as a Christmas gift for my daughter-in-law from her husband.

Christmas Day 2019

Nerdy Gurdies are a little bit on the addictive side, so of course, I had to have one for myself, as well…build #2. And then, a few months later, #3.

Charles Baumgartner playing an instrument that he’s never even seen before – Such Talent

I found a Facebook page with a forum for Nerdy Gurdy Builders and began a wonderful journey into the hurdy gurdy community, making some great friends along the way.

Fast forward to March of 2020 and we all know what happened then…the pandemic and the shutdown. Everyone was suddenly stuck at home with nothing to do. Maker-spaces were closed so people couldn’t do as they often do and make their own parts. So many people wanted to build a kit but Jaap and Fay were overwhelmed and couldn’t keep up.

They kindly gave me permission to provide the wooden parts for the kits during the shutdown and eventually licensed me to continue to sell kits commercially.

I added two 3D printers and now provide all of the parts that are unique to the Nerdy Gurdy, along with support for finding the hardware and strings, as well as support for builders. I hope to guide you on your own Nerdy Gurdy journey in the future.