Troller is a large guitar, 16 5/8″ across the lower bout, that is designed for flatpicking. The top is Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are Sapele.
This amazing sapele pomelle came to me from my friend Charlie Moore, founder of Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend, WA. Charlie and I first met in 1976, when he came from Alaska to take a guitarmaking class that Bill Cumpiano taught. Sadly, Charlie passed away a few years ago.
Sapele grows in central Africa. In hardness it is similar to mahogany. Usually the grain is plain or has a ribbon figure, but very rarely it has this “pomelle” or bubbly figure. This back looks like one piece, but my bandsaw cannot resaw a 17″ wide board, so I joined two adjacent pieces to make a two-piece one-piece back.
I wanted the guitar to have a nautical theme. The glass ring is the glacial green of our Alaskan waters. When I told my apprentice Cosmo that I was going to weave a mother of pearl rope around the ring he said, “Ropes are for cowboys. Boats have lines.” And so there is a mother of pearl line weaving around the glass ring.
The inlay of the fishing troller is made of glass, wood and shell. I love the full color pallette that the glass provides. It allows me to do these little “paintings” on my instruments.