Friday, April 17, 2015

Strings attached!

And here we have Alex's twin-point strung-up.............

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alex’s Twin-Point

Just completed shaping the neck of Alex’s twin-point, getting ready for setting it up “in the white.”
A few photos for you………..




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Saturday, April 11, 2015

A bit of a challenge!

I’ve just completed work on the rosette for Jonathan’s carved top mandocello. It’s a task that only those who are practically minded would appreciate the complexity of. Unlike most rosettes, you have, thanks to the carved shape, a third dimension to work in. I probably spent as much time thinking about how to achieve it as I did making it!
Firstly, a jig had to be made-up to allow me to cut a clean and accurate oval shaped soundhole with a router.

And a lot of careful work to get to this stage………………..
…..I got so involved that I forgot to take any photos of the "in between" stages, doh!
As the rosette is oval and it follows the curve of the top, each piece of abalone had to be cut and individually fitted.
And he we have it.



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Monday, March 23, 2015

Mark's Standard Plus

This weekend saw Mark’s left-handed, Standard Plus completed and delivered. It has English walnut back and sides with a red spruce (Adirondack) soundboard. I’ll let the photos do the talking!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

A new project!!

We came across this little chap and just couldn’t resist. It’s a Royal Hawaiian soprano uke made from koa throughout. It’s in need of restoration so when I’ve the odd 5 minutes or so! Until then here are a few photos………….







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Friday, March 13, 2015

Getting the inside out

So, I'm now carving the inside of Jonathan’s mandocello soundboard. You need some kind of “cradle” to hold the soundboard steady. Building jigs for one-off instruments can be time-consuming and therefore expensive for the client, so I came up with a very easy way of making a great jig to support it.
Using some thin sheets of polystyrene and a sheet of non-slip matting I made up this cradle. 
Polystyrene is reasonable strong in compression so it supports the force of me pressing down whilst using a plane, yet it's soft enough not to damage the outer surface. 
Holes are drilled to a certain depth and these give you a target to aim for your during the initial rough shaping.
And, here’s the rosette for Alex’s twin-point- it’s a dot and diamond design but this time using abalone- the variety of colours make for a very pretty rosette! 

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

Post #300!

Welcome to my 300th blog post; and with about a quarter million page views, my sincere thanks for your continued interest in my work.
So, here’s some more about the carving of Jonathan’s mandocello soundboard. Carving a soundboard is an iterative process; you’re continually shaping with planes, checking against templates and sanding smooth. The removal of wood in one area allows access to another area of the soundboard and once that wood has been removed from the new area, you’re back to the original spot, slightly modifying it, in the light of what you have just done. That said, here are some photos of the soundboard being shaped…………
A profile gauge helps to ensure symmetry.......
As I got close to the final profile, the soundboard was aligned with the rim using dowels, most of the excess is trimmed away. I then used the Wagner again to ensure that the outer 10mm of the soundboard is a consistent thickness and then a bit more shaping!
Next step is the internal shaping!
Here’s a fun photo of the ‘cello along with Alex’s cocobolo twin-point.
And for the sake of completion; the polishing of Mark’s Standard Plus is now complete and we’re just waiting for it to harden.


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