maple set #2 headstock veneer blank, small john cooper 001, small

New Construction

Each new instrument is built one-at-a-time in my shop. Wood comes from a variety of sources; Luthier supply companies will let you see high resolution photos of guitar sets on line before they are purchased, and I'm always looking for local sources as well.

 raw material, small

I like mahogany for necks, with a quarter-sawn maple veneer sandwiched in the center for stability and strength. I cut my necks to a pattern and finish them by hand with rasp, file, paper and scraper.

shaping neck small

jc16 small

An arched back is standard. The laminated tail block (photo below) is laid in extra wide for body stability and stiffness. Alternating the grain resists cracking in all but the most unfortunate dropping accident.

Laminated Tailpiece small

I've used cones from Quarterman (can't get those any more, I'm afraid), Paul Beard and Tim Scheerhorn. Number 14 cast spiders, bone nuts and maple / ebony inserts are standard.


Waverley is my tuning machine of choice and all my plated hardware is the best available. Fretboards are ebony with wire frets. Inlay is whatever you can think up and can convince me to try. The Pearl logo on the tongue of the fretboard like the one shown above is standard.

 dobros 001.jpg small


I've had excellent results with Grafted Coatings' KTM-9 high gloss lacquer. Specially formulated for musical instruments, it's a water based, non-flammable, non-toxic, thin, but very durable finish. It makes for a really good looking instrument without the danger of it killing me or blowing up my shop.
If you're interested in another type of finish, please contact me. I've tried lots of ways to finish wood over the years. I'll help you decide what'll work best on your instrument.


IMG_1762, small


A fine custom instrument is a personal thing. I encourage lots of communication in the journey from conception to reality.