Sunday, April 05, 2020

Archtop #4 begins

Well my friends, it’s time to start work on Archtop #4. But firstly, I sincerely hope that anyone (and their loved ones) who reads this blog is keeping well and safe. With the current Covid-19 situation, and with both Amanda and I having “underlying health conditions”, I’m trying not to consider the possibility of illness and not being able to complete something I start. Strange times indeed!
OK, head in gear………..
For the back and sides, I’m using pommele sapele; it’s a beautiful wood and was lucky enough to get hold of a decent size board; usually you only see it in veneer form.
Not being 100% sure about its bending properties, I wanted to cut the sides from the board and bend them first. If all goes well, then cut the wood for the back plate, if not I’ll use the wood for solid bodies. So here’s a little video to tell the story…..
What I didn’t say in the video was that the board itself is 38mm thick, I like the wood for the back plates to be 17mm thick before carving, so I only had 4mm to allow for the cutting! I must admit that I was chuffed that I achieved that!
When the sapele if freshly cut it is very pinkish; one thing that I’ve learnt, is that sapele loves finish, so just to give you an idea of what it could like, I sprayed some water on it.
The irregular grain pattern of the wood makes joining the two pieces for the back plate a bit tricky. In spite of a super sharp plane, you still get some small tears.
 So, I’ve found that sanding them with this tool that I made up, works incredibly well.
You can see how the dust collects in the tears, when they’ve gone you’re ready to glue.
I recently treated myself to some new light weight sash clamps from Axminster and this was the first outing- really easy to set-up and use.
The neck and tail blocks have been glued in place, to join the two sides together. Although there are lots of clamps, only one is applying pressure to the glue joint, the rest ensure that everything remains aligned accurately.
The neck is being made from some lovely flamed maple and as always, the neck is laminated for extra stability. This one with black veneers and a strip of sapele to visually tie in with the back.

More soon ;)

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Blogger Andrew said...

A masterclass in building a beautiful mandolin. Stay safe Gary and Amanda. It is very hard to get our heads around. Take care....

12:13 am  

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