Saturday, September 24, 2011

Standard Mandolin II

Standard Mandolin II is now completed and very nice it is too!

Sitka spruce soundboard, koa back and sides bound with rosewood, maple neck with a koa head overlay, rosewood fingerboard, rosewood bridge and of course that tailpiece.

I love this back!!

One thing that I’ve changed on this mandolin is the finish. Most of you who follow my blog, know that I’m a great advocate of Tru-oil, however on this (and subsequent mandolins) I’ve used an open pour satin shellac finish. It still has the wonderful smooth feel and natural appearance of the oil, but being shellac based I think that it looks even better.

So what is this “open pour satin shellac finish” then? Well, I’ve started French polishing with a modified shellac polish- that’s a polish that contains Ethyl Cellulose. It’s still applied in the traditional way, but is a generally more resilient polish. Whilst I was French polishing with it, it became clear to me that if I could apply this material in a similar way to the Tru-oil I should get a similar finish.

What are the advantages? Well, I’ve always believed that shellac diffracts the light in a certain way which greatly enhances the appearance of the wood.

The Ethyl Cellulose gives a resilient finish.

I generally prefer spirit based rather than oil finishes as they are not absorbed into the wood.

Also I have found that Tru-oil can take a very long time to dry on resinous woods such as rosewood.

Once the finish has hardened the satin appearance is created with micro-mesh abrasive and 0000 steel wool and then a couple of coats of museum quality, microcrystalline wax polish are applied. Hey presto a very pretty mandolin!

It will soon be on its way to Kevin. I’ve never been one for customer endorsements, you know, “Mrs B of Cleethorpes loves our double glazing.” But Kevin’s Dad has one of my twin-point mandolins, so that’s endorsement enough for me!

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Blogger Peter Brown said...

Love the tailpiece Gary!

4:51 AM  

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