Chris began his foray into the world of luthiery in 2003 when tasked with a rather open ended high school senior project. Working out of Melvyn Hiscock's book Make Your Own Electric Guitar, Chris built his first solid body electric guitar in the vein of the PRS guitars he admired, working largely out of his mother's kitchen. The result was an imperfect, but playable guitar and the inspiration to build one guitar each summer through college.
Upon graduating and after a brief stint as a biology lab tech, Chris knew he wanted to pursue woodworking and improve himself as a artist and craftsman. In 2007 he began working at the Hubbard Cabinetmakers shop in Sparks, MD learning traditional joinery and cabinetmaking techniques. In 2010, he began his own furniture shop starting C.W. Robertson: Traditional Cabinetmakers. Over the following decade he had opportunity to produce heirloom quality furniture reproductions and hone his skill as a woodworker and craftsman. Furniture making was certainly rewarding but there always remained an itch for lutheiry. A completed instrument is alive and responsive; it begins its own life and story in the hands of a musician, and the satisfaction and excitement that come after stringing it up for the first time is unmatched.
In 2023 Chris began Cartouche Guitars. The name is a nod to the cabinetmaking world and his furniture background. In traditional case pieces, the "cartouche" is often used colloquially to refer to the carved ornamentation placed at the center of the pediment. This is an opportunity for the maker to display his skill and artistry, and represents the finishing touch, the final cherry on top. After almost 15 years as a professional woodworker, Chris' return to luthiery feels like the culmination of all those developed skills and a chance to express his artistic voice through his work. We hope you connect to the instruments as much as we do, and that they spur you to play in new and inspired ways!