Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jill’s Mandolin III

I’ve just bent the sides for Jill’s twin-point mandolin. What a joy to bend some maple again!! Recently, I’ve bent snakewood, African Blackwood, pink ivory, cocobolo and Brazilin rosewood; all of those woods have their own challenges, but maple almost bends itself.
The sides are taken down to a bare 2.0mm thickness (thinness?) and carefully marked out. Each side has to be cut where the point will be, a bit nerve wracking cutting a side in two!

The sides are soaked for about 15min in water and then bent to shape on an electric bending iron (made form aluminium!). You can see its cross-section; shaped to give all of the curves you could need. The combination of heat and moisture magically make the wood flexible.

Many luthiers use “Fox” (after luthier Charles Fox, see below) bending machines.

But I use such a range of shapes for all of my instruments, that I prefer the flexibility of an iron. Besides, you feel like a proper luthier doing it this way!!

Once the sides have been bent, they are left clamped in an external mould over night to dry out.The next day, after some tweeking and careful trimming, they all fit together into the mould and await linings and end blocks.

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Blogger Be a Goddess music said...

great pics to show the process. i wil lhave to feature your blog on mine... thanks. i was drooling over your workshop ! lol

4:59 am  

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