Monday, January 24, 2022

Happy New Year!

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to you all. For various reasons, I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the year, but here’s what I’ve been up to so far.

The Twin-Point is being French Polished, and that is all coming on nicely, albeit slowly!

Whilst waiting, between sessions, for the polish to dry, I’ve been working on the Standard. You can see that the rim and the back have been completed and need fitting together.
The back and sides for this one, are made from some lovely figured Sapele.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Standard Mandolin Revisited

I made my first, what I called, “Standard Mandolin” about 10 years ago. As I’ve not made a Standard for a while, I thought that I’d make one and at the same time, try out a few new ideas.

One thing that I’ve noticed about many of my fellow UK luthiers is, the tendency to use guitar tuners on their mandolins. So, I thought that I’d try them on this build, in case I’ve been missing a trick!

The first thing to do was to slightly redesign my head-shape and make a full-size model of it, to check the tuners’ spacings.

I wanted to ensure that all the tuners are aligned and spaced perfectly, so whilst making the model head, I also made a simple drilling jig. It has two holes; you drill through one and insert a pin. Then you can drill the second without the jig moving, then move the pin and drill the third hole etc.
As you can see, I’m using Gotoh minis in black. I’m a big fan of Gotoh; so reliable and well-made.

Apart from the hole spacing I’ve also made the head 12mm longer, this is to visually balance the chunkier looking tuners.

And here’s the finished head with its Brazilian rosewood overlay, looking very cool, if I say so myself!


Monday, December 20, 2021

Twin-Point in-the-white

The twin-point has gone through the setting-up procedure and below you can see, how she’s looking “in-the-white”.

The blue tape that you can see, is there to stop the oil, which new tuners always seem to excrete, being absorbed into the wood.
Once I’m happy with the way the mandolin plays (and I am!) it’s stripped back down ready for finishing. After all that careful sanding, some fool has gone and covered it in epoxy!

Well, this is probably my last post before Christmas, Amanda and I wanted to thank you for your continued support and friendship throughout this most difficult of years and wish you Happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Twin-Point Flat-top Mandolin: Neck Shape

Here’s the next video! In this one, I look at shaping the neck of the mandolin and also, I have a chat about my favourite tools for doing this.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Twin-Point Flat-top, Neck Joint

So, here’s my latest video. In this one, I explain how I do the neck joint on my flat-top mandolins.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Twin-Point Bindings

The body of the twin-point is now complete, with black and white purfling lines around the top and the whole instrument is fully bound in ebony. Here’s a video that gives you a flavour of how it’s done.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Elmer Guitar True Chanel Jig

So, for years now, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a “True-Channel” jig to use with my router when I cut the rebates for the purflings and bindings. I’ve always been put off by the price, thinking that they were quite expensive for what they were. However, when I saw the one (and its price) that the Elmer Guitar Company were offering I decided to take the plunge.

It cost £130 including shipping from China which is considerably cheaper than those supplied by other companies. It arrived in about a week and what you get for your money is all the metal components.

The whole thing needs to be assembled using your own plywood etc. and finally I got to use it. Obviously, I did a few dry runs but it was still quite nerve-wracking to work, for the first-time, on an instrument. But, oh my! it worked brilliantly on the twin-point. 
More later………….