Sunday, June 16, 2024

Two Mandolins: update 1


Wednesday, May 22, 2024


The rosewood Standard that I’m currently building is a commission and the client wished for one of my dot and diamond rosettes. Here's a brief descripion of how it's done.

The recess for the rosette is cut and two strips of fine purfling glued into place.

Whilst the glue is drying, I get on with cutting the diamonds using a very simple jig and razor saw.

After some super careful marking out the inlays are glued in place with CA adhesive.

And then the spaces around them are filled in black: this is what I refer to as the ugly duckling stage.

24 hours later after some careful sanding, the beautiful swan emerges!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Two Mandolins: the movie

For your viewing pleasure!

Cheers Gary

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Two Mandolins

 The next step with the e-mando is to bend the lovely English walnut sides and laminate them to the main core of the body.

Once the sides are in place, solid pieces of walnut are fitted and glued in place to protect the potentially fragile points also the end graft is fitted.

The body them gets a really good clean up and . . . . .  . .


In parallel with the e-mando and I’m also making a rosewood Standard (with a few extras!). So it make sense to work on both of the necks at the same time. The spliced head joint is something that I do on all my instruments.

You can see both necks have had the slots routed for the carbon-fibre inserts.

I’ve cut out pearl logos for both of them, although the method of inlaying is  different. This because of the nature of the head overlays. The e-mando’s overlay is made up from layers of veneer and is quite fragile until it’s glued to the head. So that’s done first.

The Standard has a thick single layer of rosewood and it’s easier to cut right through this overlay, before gluing to the head!

The Standard has some lovely Indian rosewood for tis back and sides. When I buy tonewood I always write the date on it when it arrives in the workshop and it often surprises me how long I keep it before using it: as you can see in the photo below, I’ve had this for almost 14 years! Yes, it is well seasoned!

The sides are bent, neck and end blocks fitted and my double thickness solid linings glued in.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Chambered body e-mando build part 1

Work is now underway on my next chambered body e-mando. Below you can see the all work that goes into its core which, once the instrument is complete will never ever be seen!

I always treat my wood as precious and try to keep waste to a minimum; therefore, rather than machine the core from one large lump of wood, I laminate it from strips. Also, this method allows me to cut channels for the wiring to run through the body and creates a cavity under the where the bridge will sit.

Once all the of the core has been glued together, a strip of hardwood (maple in this case) is used to reinforce the end joints. . . . . . .
. . . . and then a piece of plywood is inserted, this will take the threaded endpin jack-socket.
With all that done, the final shape can be cut out.

Here you can see the rebate which will eventually take two panels which will “close-up” the chambers.


Saturday, April 06, 2024

Top Twenty (Teisco) Bass Restoration: 4

The restoration is now complete and in this video, I give you a demo of what this vintage bass sounds like. The bass is played with the tone knob set at its two extremes and using fingers and then a pick.


Latest Standard mandolin

Here’s the latest Standard mandolin, complete and now safely with its new owner and also with its sibling (a Nava e-mando). I always love the elegant simplicity of my Standard’s design.


Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Top Twenty (Teisco) Bass Restoration: 3

All the of the bass’s components get a good clean-up and the Top Twenty gets put back together again.

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