New Entry - 1/1/2009: Whoa, it's a good thing I don't have a blog. This is my first entry in TWO YEARS! Yikes. Anyway, Happy New Year. I 've have a chance to reflect on my art today and look around my web-site. I was adding a new picture and did a little math. In the last two years I have add 55 new projects to the web-site. That is about 7 per quarter (2.3333 per month - ok I'm a math geek). I only add the new, unique, or special projects, but that is quite a lot. This doesn't include all the Limited Edition T-Covers I have added pictures of. I only add new, interesting projects that are not too similar to other projects already on the site. For instance I don't add every "person's name" tcover I make to the site, there is just too many of them. I would love for this number to go up. This is were I need you. In 2008 I perfected my inlaid knob process and as of the writing of this entry I am working on my first poker card holder. All for these changes have been developed thanks to your ideas. Keep dreaming up cool stuff for me to work on and this web-site will grow and grow and grow with GREAT new eye candy. We all like to look at this stuff I know.
It is thanks to my customers world wide that this site is so cool. I thank you all.
New Entry - 1/5/2007Boy, it's been a long time since I updated this section. Oh well, better than never. I have had three people in the last month ask me if I'm an experience tcover make, and how many tcovers I've made. Well ... I've lost count a long time ago. My best guess would be well over a 1000. It's not uncommon for me to get 5 to 10 orders in a single week. I went back into my archives and found some pictures I've taken of groups of tcovers that were waiting to be shipped. Thought you might like to see these pictures. Most of the shots are from a week or two's worth of orders. Click Here
8/11/2005:Well, today the first "Limited Edition" tcover series came to an end. The "Eagle Mountain" covers were VERY popular and I'm going to be sad to stop making them. The last one, #20, was really more of a labor of love then anything else. It couldn't possible sell for enough to make it worth designing and building it. It was a lot of work. I have really loved all the nice comments and feedback that I have received on this series. It's nice to know I've made so many people happy. However, as one door closes another one open. The new "Limited Edition" series "THE GARGOYLE" start todays.
7/14/2005:T-SHIRTS?!!!? What gives??? I know, this isn't a t-shirt shop. Recently we made up some t-shirts for promotion items and everyone loved them. The place that made them offered this free service to set up a store. So, what the heck, I decided to go for it. If you like them buy one, if not just think they are goofy and go back to looking at cool inlay. I would love to get a funny saying about inlay to put on the back, but I haven't come up with anything good yet. So far I have thought of "A Guitar Without Inlay Is . . . Well . . . A Fender," but I thought Fender would sue me. If you have an idea, drop me a line. If I use it I'll give you a free t-shirt.
7/1/2005:"Limited Edition" products??? What are they and why did you make them? I've been hearing this a lot and wanted to share my thought process. I started making "Limited Edition" tcovers for a number of different reasons. First, I got tired of just waiting around for people to order something cool, I wanted to create the designs myself. Second, I wanted to be completely free to combine materials in all sort of ways. I probably use twenty times more White Mother of Pearl and Paua on Ebony or Rosewood than anything else. These are nice looking combinations sure, but I wanted to expand my horizons and make more exotic stuff. I also wanted to create a forum where people could see many different combinations of materials. The "Limited Edition" really did this and have been VERY POPULAR on top of that. Click Here if your want to see them.
10/27/2004:Yes, it's true, Shark Inlay is automating. We are going computerized (CNC, CAM). The most common question I have received over this news is, "What will that do to your uncommon quality?"
That's a very good question, and one I would like to address. Out in the guitar playing world there is this perception that CNC machines are bad and that all good guitars are made my hand. Well gang, this isn't true. The fact is that CNC machines only do what the programmer tells them to do. The hand made part is in the design work. Let me explain in more detail. Say you have a person who gets into inlay work with a CNC machine in the beginning. He/she never learns to cut the shell, fit the shell, clean out the route and create the design correctly. What ends up happening is that you get an "Inlay Engineer" not an "Inlay Artist". The big problem is that the inlay looks sterile and lifeless. The same problem exists with guitars. However, many fine luthiers use CNC machines for much if not all of their production. The real truth is that there are two kinds of guitar builders; those that have CNC machines and those that can't afford them.
So what is a lifeless inlay job? When every piece of inlay fits flush with every other piece. Where as this looks technically correct, it isn't art. Next time you look at a drawing, note how the artist uses thick and thin lines to define the shape and contours of the work and to give it a more 3D appearance. Good inlay work should have this too. Now, I'm not saying that sloppy inlay work with big gaps and poorly finished edges falls into the category of fine art work, but a skilled craftsmen knows when to add in a strategic gap here and there to make the work look more alive. This can be done with a CNC machine to, by a real artist. These gaps can be programmed into the machine and give a very pleasing look. Having done so much work by hand, you know I want every piece I create to be art.
So what are the benefits for the buyer?
Another good question. First, costs. The price of many project will decrease. Second, multiple unit orders. If you are a vendor or a dealer and you want a bunch of one piece, in the past I have never taken that type of order. Those days are gone. Got a big order, bring it on. Third, new products. I will shortly be introducing new product that really could only be done with a CNC machine. One of these product is the brass/silver medallion as shown below. These can be screwed or glued down to guitar cases, amps, bass drum heads, guitar bodies, etc. They can be design with anything on it from band logos, to names to pictures. Look for more of this information to come.
3/21/2004:Just had something cool happen this week. I got a chance to see how well my inlay stands the test of time and the abuse of crazy owners. Click here to read the story.
3/3/2004:The web-site has had a major overhaul. I have added a number of new sections for your entertainment and information. I hope you have as much fun reading them and I did creating them. The new sections include; Band Names, "You might be a gear head if . . .", Register Your Inlay (for past clients), and Harmony Central Articles. Also, new is the "Unused Art" section highlighting unused sketches from my collection. Check them out.
10/1/2003: Cool work continues everyday. The new highlight project is the "Vine of Death". You can see this project in the works over on the workshop section. Also, I am making stone based tcovers which is really opening all kinds of possibilities in color and texture. Check out the T-Cover section and see the "Aldwyn" cover of a example of this. Check the material page for other stones that can be use. There are lots of new photos being added all over the place. Explore, its fun.
4/3/2003: I've been getting a lot of questions about inlay "Etching" as of late. Seems there are a few inlay artists around that do a lot of etching and do it well. What is etching you ask? Its the process of scratching the shell and then applying paint or ink into the scratches. If you etch any place where people will be touching it (like a guitar fret board), the ink will soon rubs off and the inlay looks like crap after that. Then, it has to be sent back to the artist to be re-etched. I make my inlays to last a lifetime. The photo of the unicorn below has no etching in it. Look at the detail in the Unicorn's face. This is done by a technique called "Cut Though". The shell actually has the details cut into it. This is much harder to do than etching, but it last forever. Sure it would have been easier to etch the unicorn's face, but in a year the face would be nothing more than a white blob. I do what my heart tells me is right.
1/7/2003: Hi again. We recently moved servers and got a much better address. If you're here you know that the new address is www.SharkInlay.com. This is much better than that mess I had before. So, please update your links. In November, I added the Testimonials section. Check it out. I think you'll like it. I have also made small changes all over the place, so look around and enjoy. I've been pretty busy lately and many of you have some really great ideas. I'm also working quite closing with Ken Loper Guitars now. He is a great guitar builder and this is a great partnership. You can look forward to some great team projecst with him.
8/20/2002: Thanks for stopping by. Even though I've been doing inlay for a while, this web site is new. Please contact me with any feedback about the web-site. Your opinions are valuable and appreciated.
I started doing inlay out of pure love for the art form. I've been into art every since I was old enough to hold a crayon. However, I also loved working with wood and other physical objects. Therefore, inlay was the perfect art form for me. I was one of the main judges (and wrote the articles) for the Golden Axe Awards hosted by Harmony-Central. These awards were given to the top guitars and basses at the NAMM show, the largest music equipment show in the country. My favorite award category was the "Unlimited," where guitars could go up to any price tag. Many of these guitars were laced with beautiful inlay work. For me this was the beginning. I wanted to know how to make instruments like these. I began inlaying tables, frames, chairs, just about anything I could get my hands on. However, my final goal was always to inlay instruments. Soon I was inlaying t-covers and then the invention of the First Fret Inlay. Bodies were next, and on and on leading me to where I am today.
If you think my designs look like they are done with love, you'd be right. I use no computers or CAM machines to cut my inlays. Each instrument is a unique piece of art and when I'm done I throw away the mold. This allows each instrument to truly be a one of a kind, specially made for you. Most people want their own unique design and come up with thier own ideas. With the customer's idea, I can create the art work that will make his/her instrument unique. There are definitely cheaper ways to go, but the mass produced inlay is just not my thing. Not that there is anything wrong with mass produced inlay, I'll just leave that for other companies.
So, if your instrument is unique, or your playing is unique, or you are unique then a Shark Inlay Art Piece may be just what the doctor ordered.