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………….

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Bearing Up!

I was hoping to show you some photos of the twin-point fully bound, but just as I started to route the rebate for the bindings, the bearing on the router cutter decided to fail so, work has stalled on that front whist waiting for a replacement to arrive. I was reminded of the poem “For want of a nail”!

So, this mandolin is going to need a fretboard isn't it? I’ve had in stock for about 15 years, this large chunk of ebony and with the binding on hold, it made sense to finally tackle it!

I cut a comparatively small billet from one end and managed to re-saw it into 4 very nice fretboards. One for the twin-point and three for stock.
Better find something else to do now..........

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Archtop #5: Complete ( and for sale)


As you can see in the photos, Archtop #5 has now been completed and is ready for sale. In this video, I run through the mandolin’s specification and give a bit of a demo.

If you’re interested in owning this mandolin, you’ll find full details on my website.

My playing never does my mandolins justice! If you want to hear what my mandolins are potentially like, watch this video of Craig and his mandolin (#4)


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Twin-Point, Flat Back??

The word “flat” used in connection with the top or back of a mandolin (or guitar) is a bit misleading, as they are, in general, made with a slight arch; the arch being induced by the instrument’s internal structure. I imagine that back-in-the-day, they were referred to as flat, because they’re relatively flat compared to an arch top, but I guess saying “I’ve got a relatively flat top compared to an arch top mandolin,” is a bit too wordy!

In this video I concentrate on how I make my “flat” backs.

Friday, October 08, 2021

Twin-Point's Tailpiece

The tailpiece for the twin point has now been made.

One thing that I like about making these is, that I can change the shape to pick-up on other elements in the mandolin’s design. You can see how the tailpiece carries on the pointy theme!
In case you’ve not see it, a while back I made video about making my tailpieces.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Twin-Point Head shape (new!)

I’ve always been a bit bemused by the design of most heads, be they guitar or mandolin. In my opinion, you want the strings to leave the nut and run, more or less, straight to the tuners. Also, you don’t want the tuners, nearest the nut, to interfere with the path of any of the other strings. So, from a purely functional point of view, it makes sense to have the tuners arranged in an isosceles trapezoid shape, so that as you get further from the nut, the tuners converge. Funny thing, I found this old worksheet that I produced for an electric guitar making course that I ran, back in the day!

The twin point mandolin has had a few head designs. The first ones were a bit Gibson A shape-ish, which I then narrowed at the top so the strings had a straighter path to the tuners. I then offered a “F” style head which a number of clients opted for, but I’ve always struggled with the aesthetics of this design.

When I designed my Standard mandolin, I used my “arrowhead” shape which I had used, on and off, for many years. The beauty of this design, is that you get the straight string path, its straight edges complement the plates of the tuners and it’s comparatively easy to make. A real application of “form follows function.”

I must admit that I like designs that are functional and are not dictated solely by appearance. This of course, is completely at odds with the twin-point mandolin as, the points are purely decorative (as in other designs such as the scroll on a “F” shape mandolin etc.). But equally, in this digital age, it’s nice to make an instrument that has the appearance of something from a by-gone era.

So, I’ve been trying to balance my need for the practical with old school aesthetics. And this is the new design: evolving from my “arrowhead” design and picking up the curves of the body’s points.