Sep 29 2014

Custom Acoustic

I have been playing guitar for a long time. My goal is to someday be a solid “hey, he doesn’t stink” player…maybe even, “mediocre”. One can dream…and (or) practice.

standing cabinet, liqueur cabinet in pommele sapele, birdseye maple, solid mahogany and abalone

Standing Cabinet in Pommele Sapele and Birdseye Maple veneers, solid Mahogany and Abalone

I have also entertained the idea that, one day, I would build myself a fine acoustic instrument. For any musician, the attraction to the guitar as “object” is hard to deny. The good ones are skillfully crafted from carefully selected materials, elegant both in appearance and function. Ironically, as I acquired more woodworking knowledge and my furniture making skill-set grew, my inclination to delve into the world of instrument building began to stall. How many would I have to build before I got one better than the guitars I already owned? Martin and Fender have been at it for quite a while…A friend of mine who has been building VERY nice guitars for many years (props to luthier, Michael Tulloch, Chelsea Vermont) remembered being pretty happy with numbers 4 & 5, but was seeing noticeable improvements by numbers 8 & 9…

Reality check: I enjoy building furniture and am pretty good at it. I really like playing the guitar and, at this point, realize my time would be much better spent practicing than trying to figure out how to build one. I resolve to put fresh strings on the Martin, pick it up more often and put the guitar building fantasy to bed…but not quietly.

curved doors, abalone inlay highly figured maple

Standing Cabinet door detail, with abalone inset

Custom Acoustic was conceived as a tribute to guitar as “objet d’art”. The materials used in the construction were those that may have well found their way into the my fantasy instrument;  a lovely pommele sapele, highly figured maple, solid mahogany and even some abalone shell detailing.The curves running between the doors are evocative of those in the body of a guitar. And, of course, the sound hole…

The interior is set up conceivably as a dry bar (musicians!), with two half depth adjustable shelves and a shallow drawer for storage of accessories. At this writing, the piece is on display at the Vermont State House, but it is for sale. It would set you back about the cost of a nice custom acoustic guitar…

Time to practice.




  1. Jack rubinson says:

    This guitar inspired piece, and the long lineage of your work that preceded it, was part of my inspiration for the desk which you made for me.
    My request: “build me a desk that evokes a guitar, and marry it to the curving lines of of a mid-60’s Corvette.” You delivered the art sir exceeding my high expectations. This desk should be serving and admired in family for many generations. I could not be happier with its touch, lines, inlays, details I’m still discovering…
    You sir, simply stated, create the finest functional wood artistry I have come across in my worldwide travels. When people visit my place for the first time, they invariably are drawn to run their hands over it…me to.
    Thank you for delivering my dream desk.

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David Boynton Cabinet Maker | Plainfield Vermont