FORT PIERCE FOLKS
Jeff Warner is seated atop a dog house he made from an old boat hull as he enjoys the yard with his dogs, Moogley and Mad Dog. After moving to Florida,
Warner began working with local companies Maverick and Twin Vee, where he merged his loves of boats and building things.
BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO
Many people find themselves lounging on the couch
after a long workday, but then there’s boatbuilder
Jeff Warner, who spends his free time building
guitars and ukuleles. A “mad scientist” of sorts,
Warner was always taking toys apart and tinkering with
things from a very young age. His father fostered his interest
in mechanics and restoration.
“I remember one Christmas, at about 9 years old, there was
a present with a bunch of oil on the bottom of it and I was
all excited. I didn’t know what it was, but I thought it was a
motor,” Warner recalls. “My dad got me a mini-bike to fix up
and get running. I was so excited because I loved learning
how machines and other things worked.”
One of Warner’s first memories was his desire to become a
rock star and play guitar. His parents supported that dream,
and Warner said he tried, but it didn’t work out. He preferred
taking apart computers or building train sets.
Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, as a young boy and then Cedar
Springs, Michigan, as a teen, Warner and his family often
spent time boating and fishing at his grandfather’s lakefront
cottage. It is no wonder that on a holiday visit to Fort Pierce
in 1992, he fell in love with the ocean and Florida.
“My Uncle Pete had lived in Fort Pierce since the 1970s,” he
says. “Going out to the Cove, fishing and boating with him
were some great memories.”
Warner says he always felt connected to Fort Pierce, so
right after high school, in 2004, he packed up his belongings
and moved here.
Some of his first jobs were with local boat companies
Maverick and Twin Vee. They hired him on at entry level
positions, which helped him to learn the ins and outs of boat
restoration and fabrication. “Twin Vee allowed me to work
my way up the ladder to be a tooling engineer. So, I started
building molds and plugs for boats. I’ve always been fabricating
and building stuff,” he says. “I like making all the tiny
parts; that’s part of the fun for me.”
Unlikely as it may seem, working on boats steered Warner
toward guitar-building. He fine-tuned his skills and turned
that into an interesting hobby. He has only been playing guitar
for about a year, but his love of creating new things drove
him to further pursue the craft.
“I’m better at building the guitar than playing it. I’ve
The GUITAR MAKER