Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fancy a night out? PHIL HARE GIG

I just wanted to alert you to a great night of guitar playing that PHIL HARE puts on annually in March Town Hall. This year’s line-up (apart from the excellent Phil himself) is:
Saturday 21 October 2017
Doors open at 6.45pm for a 7.30 start
More details here 
You’ll remember that a few weeks ago I re-fretted Phil’s Signature guitar? Well, here’s one of Phil’s latest videos playing that guitar, complete with new frets.  Absolutely wonderful!
When Phil came over, he took a liking to a one of my really early (1978 at the London College of Furniture) classical guitars that was languishing in my workshop. So, I gave it a once over and passed it on to him. And here it is! Thanks for posting this Phil; great to see the old girl getting the attention she deserves.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Youhei’s mandolin revisited

Some of you will remember this lovely quilted maple mandolin that I made for Youhei in Japan.
I just stumbled across this delightful YouTube video of Youhei playing it.
Thanks for posting Youhei; great to see you both in action!

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Saturday, October 07, 2017

Top Plate II or, “I want a pin router!”

The ideal way to cut the “F” holes in a carved top is to use a pin router which, of course, I don’t have. So, let’s make one! I’ve had a drill-stand knocking about for years which was made redundant when I got a pillar drill, so I that’s a good start.
I wanted to mount my Dremel in the drill stand and fortunately found a chap in Germany who makes just the thing- an adaptor for CNC routers with a 43mm outer diameter and the correct thread for taking the Dremel.
This is a brief explanation of the process, as in reality it took many hours of thought, design and plain old trial and error to get a perfectly clean cut hole.
Eventually, I arrived at this final set-up.
You’ll see that the cutter is aligned with a pin. This pin is a guide for a template which has the exact shape that’s required cut out. The soundboard is mounted on the template and the sound holes cut out.
And here we have the finished soundholes, as you'll see, not quiet "F"holes. Note that the holes are bound with black veneer; not easy to do!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Plate I

I’ve just finished the shaping and thicknessing of the archtop mandolin’s top plate. The external profile takes a long time to shape: checking against templates, shaping the re-curve, ensuring symmetry etc.etc! But carving the internal surface is much quicker as “all you need to do is” check its thickness with callipers.
At the same time I’ve been trying to record some of the top’s physical attributes to allow for objective comparisons when the next one is built.
Here I’m using a dti to measure the deflection when a 1kg mass is placed on it: this will give me an idea of the top’s stiffness.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

One Sold, One Available

Many thanks to all of you who showed interest in the twin-point mandolin; it has now been sold and is with its new owner.

However, if you've missed out, the emando is still available at £800 or near offer. You can find full details on my website.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bit of a bind

The body of Brendan’s mandolin is now together and the Macassar ebony is looking really very good!
The next step is the purflings and bindings. First, however, I have to make the bindings; doing custom builds as I do, means you have to be willing to make one-offs and if that means making your own ebony with red line bindings, so be it.
You have to use prime quality ebony for the bindings,the grain has to be straight in order to bend it accurately. A piece of 25 mm wide ebony is laminated to red veneer with waterproof glue.
Once dry, the edge is trued with a plane and a length cut off on the bandsaw; the process is then repeated for each piece.
All the pieces are then sanded to around 2.5mm thick, ready for bending. I manged to get 5 strips this time- always nice to have a spare!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It’s all about planning

I’m fitting a Headway transducer to Brendan’s new mandolin and this changes the order of the way that I put things together. I have to start work on the tailpiece much sooner than I usually do.
Then the soundboard is fitted and glued to the rim (normally I glue the back first) and the area around the end graft is cleaned up.
Then the brass base of the tailpiece is fitted to the rim, I only use two screws as the jacket socket is essentially a 12 mm bolt holding the tailpiece in place.
With everything very, very secure the 12mm hole is drilled through the tail block, using the tailpiece as guide.
Also at this stage (i.e. before the back goes on) the jack socket can be test fitted and the backing nut adjusted to the correct position.
Once I take the socket out of the hole, I glue the nut in position with some CA- this greatly helps when fitting the pick-up finally in place, as you have to work blind through the relatively small sound hole.

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