I was born and raised in Western Kansas and began ruining my father’s few good tools as soon as I was able. Once in high school, I was lucky to be influenced and encouraged by a wonderful shop teacher and my love for building furniture crystallized. After high school, I postponed college in order to learn all facets of residential construction and purchased a small home with the most important amenity being a large shop. I began in earnest to build furniture in my spare time but soon realized that my design skills were lacking. This led me to enroll in the College of Architecture and Design at Kansas State University where I could focus on both design and furniture, graduating with a Bachelor of Interior Architecture in 1988.
My love of trees, water and windsurfing led me to Portland, Oregon with its close proximity to the Columbia River Gorge. I practiced Interior Architecture and Design in a small firm for 12 years, working on such varied projects as residences, libraries, museums, corporate offices and luxury yachts. As challenging and interesting as the profession was, I grew weary of sitting at a desk so in 2000 I began designing and building custom furniture full-time.
I had always been intrigued by the idea of making an instrument and in 2003, while studying guitar, I happened to visit the Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit. I was extremely impressed by the craftsmanship of all of the makers but specifically by the work of Jeffrey Elliott. I had a brief conversation with him and discovered that he and his partner Cyndy Burton, also a luthier, offered private instruction on how to make a guitar. As many builders will tell you, “once you start, you’re hooked.” Over the years I have developed a close relationship with both Jeff and Cyndy and consider them to be friends as well as mentors. They bring an unmatched integrity to their work, creating some of the best guitars available today. I know that I'm fortunate for this opportunity and with persistence and determination I strive to approach that level of excellence.
I prefer to work on one guitar at a time as it allows both mental and physical focus on each singular task. I strive for each guitar to be aesthetically unique but also sonically consistent. Although there are many intangibles that make one instrument more desirable than another, my primary goal is to make a guitar with balance, clarity and a broad tonal palette using the finest materials and traditional techniques.
Lutherie is the perfect melding of all of the skills I have acquired throughout my life. My love of music, art, design, craft, and the challenges that arise with each new instrument will surely sustain me for years to come.
I work out of the home I share with my wife Susan Boase, a talented artist, writer and illustrator. I love the short, direct commute to my favorite place….the workshop. Even though I don’t plan on a headstone , Susan threatens me with this telling epitaph:
I’ll be right back, I just need to go glue something up.