Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Beginning of the end

For various reasons that I shan’t bore you with, progress in the ‘shop has been a bit slow recently. However, I’m finally managing to crack-on with the finish on the archtop. This one is being French polished and you can see how the finish really pops the grain.

For me, French polishing is a slow process so it’s going to be a good few weeks before archtop #3 is complete and ready for sale.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

#3 In the white

As promised, the archtop is now playing “in the white”. I’ll give it a few days to settle, make any adjustments and then take it apart to start the finishing process. I’m very pleased with the sound; the trebles are particularly clear and crisp. At this stage in its life, the tone changes/improves daily.
You’ll remember those fiddly bits for the finger-rest/pick guard? Here’s the finger rest attached- Brazilian rosewood from the same billet as the fretboard and tailpiece, laminated to carbon-fibre for stability. 
Looks very cool even if say so myself!

Saturday, July 06, 2019

The archtop's bridge

The video say's it all!
Cheers Gary

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Getting there

After the savagery of carving the neck, comes the BIG clean-up! And as you can see the archtop is getting there………….
Next step; playing in the white.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

So that’s what’s under your fretboard!

I thought that I’d show you this photo; it makes sense of what I do with my archtop mandolin necks.
You’ve got the head, neck and two parts of the fretboard extension, each one glued to its neighbour. Under each of the two mahogany capping strips, is a length of rectangular section carbon-fibre. The CF runs from under the head overly as far as is practical in to the fretboard extension.  So firstly, the carbon-fibre unifies all the different elements of the neck. Also wherever you have a joint you can get movement, so the idea of the carbon-fibre is to stiffen the neck and stop any distortion along its length.
The capping strips are bonded to the CF with epoxy and I use them so the fretboard can be glued to the neck’s flat surface with Titebond.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The devil is in the detail

Does anyone really give a monkey’s about how the finger rest/pick guard is attached to my mandolin? But as they say “The devil is in the detail” and there is a lot of planning and careful work in this apparently simple fixture.
Firstly, the fretboard extension has to made, no two edges are parallel which makes things a bit tricky!
Once it’s been made, it's temporarily held in place with a wood screw, then a piece of maple (which will eventually be fixed to the underside of the finger rest) is shaped too.
 I use brass machine screws to attach the finger rest to the instrument, so threaded inserts are fixed into the side of the fretboard extension. As I mentioned, no two edges are parallel, so it’s clamped to angle plate to ensure that their holes are drilled true.
Then a couple more test fits before the fretboard extension is finally glued to the mandolin.
Those two pesky little pieces represent a good day’s work! Yep, “The devil is in the detail”

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Bindings and purflings

All the work on the archtop’s bindings and purflings has been completed and here are some photos for you. You know about the rope around the top plate. 
The bindings are maple from the same board as the neck and around the back and sides runs a single dark green line.
 Must say that I’m very happy- all that fettling, well worth the effort!

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