Sunday, January 17, 2021

Chambered Body Update

I’ve just finished work on the purflings and bindings for the new chambered body electric mandolin and I must say, I’m pleased with the outcome on a couple of levels….
It was quite time-consuming process, as practically all of the 16 pieces had to be glued on individually.
Now the bindings are on, you wouldn’t know how difficult it was to achieve- the maple (for the bindings) was 2.5mm thick and had to be bent to some pretty extreme curves and also the points had to be mitred cleanly. The white maple is very unforgiving as any gaps in the joints can’t be filled as you can do with ebony or rosewood.


The body is now really complete; one of the aims of this project was to see if I could actually create this shape by bending wood and to get a good idea of the geometry of the top. So, me thinks, an acoustic mandolin built to this shape would be possible!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Happy Holidays!

First thing’s first; Amanda and I wanted to thank you for your continued support and friendship throughout this most difficult of years and wish you Happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year!

The body of the electric mandolin is now together and all that extra internal work hidden from view- unless you watch the video!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Archtop #4 Completed

The fourth in my series of Archtop mandolins is now complete and happily residing with its new owner in Scotland. Below are some photos and a video for you. I must say that I am extremely pleased with this instrument!

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Chambered body, electric mandolin: tailpiece

I’ve just made the tailpiece for the next emando and the video below gives you an idea of the processes involved in making one. One thing that occurred to me as I was making it; it’s one of the few things that I make, where you can start and finish it in the same session- no gluing, no finishing etc. just hewn from one piece of material!

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Chambered body, electric mandolin 4- Koa back

I’ve been working on the Koa back, to match the sides that you would have seen in an earlier post. One aspect of making the back, that I knew would be challenging was to cut out the access panel for the electrics. Why? Well, normally on my solid bodies, I route the control cavity and make up a cover from aluminium, brass or whatever. But on this one, as it has a thin back, I thought it be a nice idea to carefully cut-out the opening for the cavity and keep the “waste” to use as a matching cover.  I first saw this idea on those amazing Alembic basses; it’s a feature they call it a “continuous wood backplate". However, lacking sophisticated machinery, I had to use my router, a template and template follower and a 1mm diameter cutter. 


I saw these cutters on eBay awhile back from someone called the Highland Slate Workshop. Now, if you’ve drilled 1mm holes you know that the drill can bend or break quite easily, so it was with some trepidation that I put a 1mm cutter into a plunging router……….

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Chambered body, electric mandolin 3

As you can see, I’ve been working on the first stages of the neck; preparing the sapele, laminating for both decoration and stability, spliced head joint, inserting carbon fibre, head overlay, shaping the head and volute, tuner holes.
And here's how I got there.........


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Friday, November 06, 2020

French Polishing; The Last Word!

 Here is the last instalment in my quadrilogy of French polishing videos; “Archtop #4 French Polishing pt4: Final, Fine Applications”

I know these have been a protracted series of videos but I wanted to update my previous 10-year-old ones and give those, who are interested, an insight to my current method of polishing.

Cheers Gary

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