Datlen Luthiery

Hand-Crafted and Built in the Napa Valley


about John Datlen


I inherited my interest in woodworking at a young age from my father who was always remodeling the family home.  The mentorship of my high school woodshop teacher along with my first shop foreman developed my passion for all aspects of woodworking.

My career began at a custom cabinet shop and mill/lumberyard where I worked extensively on the restoration of victorian homes.  I specialized in custom windows and doors, curved moldings, custom cabinets, and replicating all the intricate details required for truly historic restoration work. 

From there, I went on to work for a shop doing high-end tenant improvement work on high-rise office buildings.  This included contemporary work with sequence matched veneers for paneling, conference tables, columns, cabinets, and doors.  In the last fifteen years, I have returned to my first love of residential work and I continue to work daily doing high end custom cabinets and millwork for some of the Bay Area’s finest homes.

I was inspired to begin building guitars in 2011 after a visit to a prominent local luthier's shop, Sexauer Guitars in Petaluma, CA.  I set out to build myself a guitar and caught the guitar building bug.  Bruce Sexauer's work has been a constant inspiration.  His encouragement and guidance has been invaluable.

Guitar building adds a creative new aspect to my passion for wood.  I bring my extensive knowledge in woodworking and my creativity to all the instruments I make.