Robert Bentley has always had an interest in fine woodworking, making woodstrip canoes, sea kayaks and rowboats. He was motivated to build his first guitar about 12 years ago, spurred on by the challenge and satisfaction of bringing together diverse elements such as tone wood selection, acoustic performance and aesthetics to produce a finely crafted instrument that can be used for musical self expression. This was a nylon strung classical guitar, but since then, he has made numerous guitars of various types (nylon strung, steel strung acoustics and electric).
More recently he has incorporated innovative building techniques such as carbon/balsa lattice soundboard bracing systems to improve the acoustic performance of the instrument, particularly for the classical guitar. He has also made a number of steel strung acoustic instruments, generally smaller bodied (OM and parlour size), fingerstyle instruments as this is his favoured sound and playing technique. He has worked alongside two respected Christchurch luthiers and has also been involved in making mandolins, bazoukis, harps and other instruments. His instruments are played in various countries (Perth, Australia – Flamenco Fire; UK - Eschar; Rough Cut - NZ) and one of his classical guitars has featured on Tony Hillyard's album Every Step of the Way (NZ).