Two years ago, residents Rob Goldberg and Burl Sheldon hatched a plan for a trade – a boat for a guitar. Sheldon, who has built boats, was a “great musician without a great guitar,” according to Goldberg. Goldberg, who has a guitar shop, was tired of borrowing boats for family subsistence outings.

They each purchased their own materials and traded time for the projects. Sheldon helped Goldberg select a seaworthy rowing boat, and the pair settled on the Grand Banks Dory.

The dory was originally designed for 19th century fishing off the Grand Banks of Nova Scotia. The lightweight, flat-bottom boats were designed to be stacked on the deck of cod-fishing schooners, and launched into the North Atlantic where fishermen would hand line for cod.

The design fit well into Goldberg’s need for a stable rowing boat with the the ability to hold the weight of subsistence fishing. “This is a boat you wouldn’t feel bad about beating up,” said Sheldon. “It’s meant to be used.”

Sheldon built his first boat with his father when he was 15 years old. He still uses the wooden skiff he built for subsistence fishing 17 years ago. Three years ago, Sheldon built a Swampscott Dory that he sold to friends for recreational use.

Goldberg purchased a plan for the dory and Sheldon built a scale model out of foam core. He changed a few features from the original plan. He cut down the height of the gunnels and widened the taper of the transom. The dory is built from marine plywood and finished with fiberglass.

Goldberg launched the finished vessel from Sheldon’s beach on Lynn Canal and rowed it to Viking Cove. A few days later, Goldberg and friend Tim Shields rowed the boat around Seduction Point to the east side of Chilkat Inlet where the two set a subsistence net around Twin Coves. They caught 19 sockeye. The boat “was stable, maneuverable and easy to fish from,” according to Goldberg. “This could be the vanguard of a petroleum-free subsistence fishery.”

When it came time to choose a design for his new guitar, Sheldon left it up to the expert. “I had a few ideas, but Rob told me what I needed,” Sheldon said. “He knows so much about sound and resonance so I trusted his judgment.”

Goldberg built his first guitar in 1973, apprenticed with a luthier in Williamstown, Mass. for two years and opened his own shop in 1976. He took a break from guitar making in 1980 to pursue landscape painting, then returned to the craft in 2007. He built a shop and has set up a website to market handmade guitars.

The top of Sheldon’s guitar is made from a Sitka Spruce that was once part of a floating cannery crib near Tenakee Springs, where Sheldon once lived. Resident Johnny White harvested the huge log from the beach 25 years ago and allowed Burl to choose a piece for the project. Honduran rosewood was used for the sides, back and neck. Two sockeye salmon, crafted from abalone and stained glass, are inlaid on the ebony finger board.

Sheldon christened his new instrument during the talent contest at the Southeast Alaska State Fair. Of its tone, he said, “It rings. It has rich low sounds and high sparkly highlights. It really sustains the sound.”