The Story So Far!

I live in a rural setting on the Hastings river, just a few kilometers from the town of Wauchope on the beautiful Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is an area that has long been in association with the timber industry, so much so that it is called the timber town.

I got interested in woodcraft when I was in my twenties and stumbled through a few tentative projects without much of a clue of the skills and methods involved. I started to buy woodworking magazines at the news agent, and in these I saw the level of work that I wanted to achieve. It was in an edition of the British magazine, “Woodworker” that I saw advertisements for courses on fine furniture making. I decided I would marry my desire to visit Britain with a quest to advance my practical skills as a woodworker. So in 1997, I spent several wonderful and absorbing months in rural North Devon at the workshop of teacher and author David Charlesworth. There I learnt an approach to woodworking that allowed me to attain the high level of craftsmanship I had longed to achieve. I also discovered real ale, but that is another story…

On returning to Australia I made furniture at first until a couple of things conspired to draw me into the wonderful world of lutherie;

I Finally got around to learning the guitar, and during a subsequent visit to the UK I had my first experience of picking up and playing a hand crafted instrument. It was in Manson’s Guitar Shop, Exeter that I had the opportunity to see and try the work of renowned British luthier Andy Manson. His guitars were truly breathtakingly beautiful, and sounded and played like nothing I had ever experienced before. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy one of Andy’s, but I was hooked. I had to make one ……but of course one is never enough… so a one off project turned into what is now a full time profession.

Making a hand crafted guitar is an enchanting project. A project where you can combine beautiful woods, to make beautiful sounds, and this is a wonderful thing to me. It is also a real pleasure to see somebody play a fine handcrafted guitar for the first time. Their eyes light up as they realise that a fine handcrafted instrument responds and delivers in a way that most factory made instruments cannot . That feeling is what continues to inspire me to make the instruments that I do.

John Buckham Guitars

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