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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Monday, November 02, 2020

The Workbench works!

Ralph asked how the bench modifications worked out? Well, after doing some hefty sawing yesterday and some planning today, I’m glad to say the frames tendency to twist has been eliminated and everything seems much sturdier.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Chambered Body, Electric Mandolin 2

The new emando has just gained some beautiful Koa sides. 

I’ve had this Koa in stock for donkey’s years and wanted to use it on something special. The sides have been laminated to the central core using epoxy resin, when you look at the core there is an awful lot of end grain to stick the sides to, so epoxy is clearly the best adhesive to use. And here's the video-
You’ll see in the video that when I glued the Koa on, those Kreg clamps that I mentioned in the previous post, got some use- not in a way that envisaged, but I’ve often found that once you’ve got a new piece of equipment, you end up using it in many ways that you hadn’t even thought of.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Workbench Rebuild/Upgrade

Not much instrument work this week, been working on my workbench!

I built my bench about 15 years ago. The top is solid teak, recycled from a school science lab and the frame from pine. Lately, I’ve noticed that it seems a bit rickety- the frame seems to twist; this has really only become apparent with all the archtop carving and bizarrely, I’ve noticed it more when editing the videos of myself working. So, time for some TLC.

I guess the fundamental flaw in the bench’s design was to assume that the top would give the bench all the stiffness it needed. The first part of the upgrade is to add four chunky cross rails to tie the leg frames together more securely and to help eliminate twisting in the frame.

Also, I’ve been looking at different methods of clamping to the surface of the bench and after a bit of research, I've gone for various bits and bobs made by Kreg. Although not used in anger yet, I can see that these are going to be a worthwhile investment.

Ready for action!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Chambered body, electric mandolin

With archtop #4 being polished and Allan’s emando completed, it’s time to start the next instrument! As this will be one of this year’s speculative builds (it will eventually be for sale via my website), I’ve decided to a make a new incarnation of my electric mandolin, this time with a chambered body. I like to feel that my instruments continually evolve and the idea of building an emando with more resonant body appeals, so here we go!

The preferred way of building a chambered body is, start with a solid body blank and remove large volumes of the wood with a forstner bit and router. This approach doesn’t appeal to me, as whenever I make anything, I prefer, where possible, to form it by fabrication i.e. bringing pieces together rather than wasting i.e. the removal of material. Hence this…….(made from Southern Yellow Pine)

And here’s a video to show you how I got this far. There is a lot of work in the construction of this inner core and you’ll appreciate the planning that went in to it. Of course, all of that work will never be seen, but hopefully the difference will be heard; I kinda like that!

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