Jeff Jewitt has been playing guitar for over 45 years. He became fascinated by the seemingly complex construction of guitars while a Studio Art Major at Kenyon College. At that time, in the mid 1970’s there wasn’t much information about making a guitar, however he eventually succeeded in building a guitar from a kit provided by the Martin Guitar Company. After building a few kit guitars as practice, he then built his first “built-from-scratch” guitar in 1987 following William Cumpiano’s book “Guitarmaking – Tradition and Technology.”
Finding full-time lutherie a bit of a financial struggle, he began to focus on another passion which was furniture restoration and operated a very successful business with his wife Susan in Cleveland, Ohio. While operating his restoration business he still found time to build guitars as well as repairs. Always looking to find better ways of doing things, in the 1990’s he began developing wood dye stains under the TransFast® and TransTint® names – products which are currently used by many of the major guitar manufacturers as well as thousands of guitar-makers and wood finishers. He started Homestead Finishing Products in 1994 and currently operates this business to the present day. Among Homestead’s customers are Gibson, Martin, Breedlove, Collings and Santa Cruz guitars, as well and hundreds of smaller boutique guitar makers all over the world. His products are used extensively in teaching new students at the renowned Galloup School of Lutherie.
In 1990 Jeff began a long association with the Taunton Press & Fine Woodworking Magazine. Jeff and has written 4 books on Finishing and 2 books on Refinishing. He has authored hundreds of articles for Fine Woodworking and other publications as well as on-line training courses for guitar makers. (See the Shop Section)
He has taught finishing courses all over the country and was the main finishing teacher for the well-known Marc Adams School of Woodworking for 12 years. He has also spoken at the ASIA symposiums in 2017 and 2019. In the Summer of 2017 he was invited to present at The Northwoods Seminar at the Bryan Galloup School of Lutherie. Jeff’s expertise in finishing is frequently sought by guitar makers and shops all over the world.
Over the years, Jeff always found time to devote to his passion of building acoustic guitars. While capable in any style of flat top guitar, his signature passion are the smaller body styles, based on Gibson and Martin designs.
Jeff attended University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio and graduated in 1972. He received his BA in Studio Arts in 1976 from Kenyon College. He and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Strongsville, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland).