Anything to do with inlay work, especially in regards to natural marine shell materials (Mother of pearl or MOP and abalone, etc.), but also ivories and tortoiseshell.
Co-owner of The House of Banjos, Denver, CO (1963-1964); owner of Erika Banjos, Van Nuys, CA. (1965-1989). First began processing shell for inlay in 1968, but from 1981-1985 got out of the industry to become a professional gold miner (suction dredging). In 1989 the Gibson Guitar Co., Montana Division bought the stored shell business, and after I spent a month at their factory setting it up and training workers it operated as their Erika Division until 1991, when they decided to close it. This allowed me to get back into the industry, and from 1992 until the present I have been supplying shell as Duke of Pearl, with 4 shops in Seoul, South Korea and a small factory in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In 1998 the first of 3 U.S. patents were awarded to myself and Larry Sifel (now deceased founder of Pearlworks, in Mechanicsville, MD) as co-patentees of the laminated shell sheet material known as ABALAM® (or ABLAM).
Am also a specialist dealing in mother of pearl antiques and collectibles, with an internet shop, Chainsaw Chuck, on the Ruby Lane website.
Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA); Guild of American Luthiers (GAL); National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM); Northern California Association of Luthiers (NCAL).
American Lutherie (ASIA quarterly journal); Guitarmaker (ASIA quarterly journal); "A Guitarmaker's Canvas", Grit Laskin/Backbeat Books (wrote "The Colorful History of Inlay" chapter); technical threads on many online instrument forums.
High school and 2 years of Junior college.
INSTUMENTS: Collings, Kevin Enoch Banjos, Fender, Gibson, Goodall, Renee Karnes Banjos, Michael Keller, Larrivee, Martin, National Resophonic, James Olson, Ome Banjos, Ovation, PRS (Paul Reed Smith), Kevin Ryan, Santa Cruz, Stelling Banjos, Taylor, and many others. INLAYISTS: Paul Bordeaux, Steve Carlson (NC Solutions), Tom Ellis (Precision Pearl), Bryan England (Custom Inlay), Ren Ferguson, Grit Laskin, Craig Lavin, Harvey Leach, David Nichols, Pearlworks, Larry Robinson, Jimmi Wingert, and many others.