Thursday, July 23, 2020

Two, again

Both now fretted and awaiting the necks to be carved.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020


Monday, July 06, 2020


And here we are, purflings and bindings on the archtop mandolin complete!

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Saturday, July 04, 2020

Eliminate Downtime!

You have to have at least two instruments on the go, to eliminate any downtime whilst waiting for glue to dry. Particularly important when, as now I’ve been working on the bindings and purflings on the archtop. Each piece is glued on individually and left, in most cases, overnight to dry, so you need another project to work on.
Around the top I’ve used rope purfling and I’ve made up some bindings with the Macassar ebony (that I’m using elsewhere) and some fine sycamore veneer.
 So, during the many hours of “in between time” I’ve had the opportunity to make good progress on the e-mando. The pearl logo inlay and head overlay had been made and glued to the neck blank, the head cut-out and tuner holes drilled. 
Also, the body has been contoured and had a jolly good sanding and is looking quite lovely!


Friday, June 19, 2020

Pure Electric

I’m just starting a new e-mando build for Allan. I’m looking forward to this one, as there is going to be something very pure about its design. Uncomplicated electrics- one pick-up. Just two types of wood- the neck and body from the same piece of sycamore and the head overlay, fretboard and bridge from some cocobolo.
So first thing’s first- planning the first cut……..
As you can see here’s the pieces for the body, awaiting joining.
On all of my electric instruments, I always like to run the wires through the body- its looks much cleaner than having a pick guard to hide the wiring runs. So again, a bit of careful planning so that you don’t snooker yourself later on.
I like to paint any channels for the wiring with, a special conductive shielding paint; whether it makes a difference, I’m not sure, but I like to think that I’ve done everything possible to keep the instrument quiet and hum-free.
And then the body can be glued together!
After the body’s been cleaned-up and cut-out, the various cavities are routed.
No mater how much planning it’s still a relief to break through into the internal wire channels.
And in parallel, here’s the neck blank being laminated with a central piece of cocobolo, the spliced head joint etc.
And as always two strips of carbon fibre to ensure stability.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Making the Archtop’s top-plate

Here’s the latest video! In this one, I run through the process of making the top-plate for Archtop #4. I’m using some fantastic Sitka spruce for this one, fine grain and dead on the quarter.
In parallel to working on the top-plate, I’ve been making the tailpiece. The tailpiece is from the same piece of Macassar ebony as the head overlay; so a nice match.
Whenever I use a tailpiece jack-socket, I like to fit the tailpiece once the top has been glued to the rim and before the back goes on. This way the tail block can be supported whilst drilling the jack's 12mm hole and you don’t get the drill bursting out of the back surface. It also means that the top’s overhang is trimmed at the this point too.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Archtop #4- Slight Diversion

Before I started work on the top plate of archtop #4, I wanted to make a second wooden round-bottom plane. Once I get started on the carving of the top-plate, I won’t want to stop! So, I’ve reined myself in and decided to make the plane before I start the next stage.
 If you watched the video in the last blog post, you would have seen why: essentially, I need another plane with a tighter longitudinal curve on its base
For a while now, I’ve been interested in Japanese design and craftsmanship and there’s a great YouTube channel with lots of woodworking videos. One thing that interested me, whilst watching these Takumis at work, was the sheer number of tools that these guys have; all very simply made, but specific to one job. If the tools are simply made then you’re probably inclined to custom make them as and when required.
So, to a certain extent, I’m now trying to adopt this approach towards my tools and work. The round-bottom planes; they’re relatively cheap and quick to make, so why not make more than one, if it means that your work can go that little bit better. Anyway, here are a few photos of the finished plane and the video above, is my ideas on making a wooden round bottom plane- it’s not a “how to” guide!

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