Friday, August 11, 2017

Brendan's Rim

I’ve just completed the rim for Brendan’s new mandolin. As you’ll see from the photos, the sides (and the back) are made from Macassar ebony; I’ve had this beautiful wood in stock for many years and I’ve no doubt it will make a stunning instrument.
It’s always a relief when the sides are bent, particularly on a type of wood that you’ve not bent before and are a bit unsure of how it will behave.
The plywood tail block and mahogany neck block are shaped to fit and glued in place. 
Then comes the linings- there are a number of styles- solid, kerf, reverse kerf and tentallones; the general function of all of them is to increase the gluing surface area between the sides and top or back. I’ve used all of them and these days I’m committed to double thickness solid ones as they make the rim far more rigid than any of the other types. I say committed- a good word to use, as 8 separate pieces of maple (my preference) have to be prepared, bent and glued in place.
And after a bit of committment.....................
The crowning glory is the end graft- a hint of what’s to come!

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Ol' number four

I’ve just put this old Stanley No. 4 smoothing plane back in to use. As far as I can tell, it was made in the late 50’s. One thing that it works incredibly well on, is shooting the joints for mandolin backs and soundboards. I always make my joints slightly hollow (maybe a shaving or two), to compensate for any future shrinkage that might cause a joint to come apart at the ends. Not quite as easy with my usual No.5, which has a longer sole. Here’s Brendan’s soundboard getting the treatment.