Saturday, July 30, 2011

Alessi tuners

From Campagnolo equipped bikes to a Moto Guzzi cafe racer and far too many Fiats to recall, I’ve always been a sucker for Italian engineering! So I was delighted when Brendan said that he wanted to go for Alessi tuners for his mandolin. And here they are! These are so nice, you could look at them all day.
Eagle eyed readers will notice that these are “F” style, we wanted something a bit different for the head, so with the tuners in front of me, I can now start designing a new shape headstock for Brendan’s twin-pointer. Cocobolo back and sides...... Alessi tuners....... this is going to quite a stunner!

As promised, the construction of Alan’s Model 1 is now complete and next week sees the polishing start.
Since moving to our new house, the amount of birds on the garden has been a constant source of delight. Anyway, I don’t know if this is a rare sight, but the other morning we had three green woodpeckers, an adult with two young ones, feeding on our lawn!

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

More stuff (I'm running out of imaginative titles!)

I was asked awhile ago, how I was getting on with my cabinet makers vice. Well, it’s fair to say that it has transformed the way that I work; why? Quite simply you can do this!
I got mine from Rutland Tools- they often have a 15% off sale- keep an eye open!

You can see that Alan’s model 1 is now fretted and hopefully all the woodwork should be completed next week. Chris’s Hare is coming along nicely in the background and I’ve just started bracing the soundboard.

As you can see I’m not a go-bar man! At the moment, I prefer to use clamps to apply pressure. The Klemmsia clamps that I use, with their cork lined jaws and lever action, apply just the right amount of pressure, without any damage to the wood. I think that go-bars must be great if you apply a lot of braces in one go, but I prefer to do a couple at a time; shape them carefully and go on to the next ones. It might take me 4 days to fully brace a soundboard, but I’m not in a hurry!

John came up during the week to look at his Koa and discuss the guitar that I’m going to build for him at the beginning of next year. I’ve added a link to John’s YouTube channel on the side bar; he does some very entertaining comic songs. It occurred to me that I’ve not used Koa before and as it’s so expensive.............

The first of my “Standard” mandolins sold last weekend and it now lives in Scotland, with its new owner Brian, who sent me a delightful email about how pleased he is with his new mandolin. So “Standard” No. 2 is underway, and this one will have Koa back and sides!

Interesting stuff Koa it has a similar texture to teak but is much lighter. My main concern was bending the sides, but it proved to be reassuringly easy- you only have to show the Koa the bending iron and it practically bends itself!

Putting the Koa through the sander, I kept wondering why the saw marks wouldn’t go, but then realised it was the figuring. I think that once there is some finish on the wood it will look quite beautiful. I hope to complete this one during the autumn and will be offering this one for sale too.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

So What's On The Bench?

Thought that I’d give you a brief run down of what’s happening in the workshop.

First, we have Alan’s rosewood and cedar Model 1 steel-string- it’s now fully bound and purfled (is that a word?) The neck went on yesterday and I’ve just glued the carbon-fibre reinforcement rods in place. You can see that I take the carbon-fibre right through the dovetail and into the end block- can’t help thinking that this must make the neck joint incredibly rigid, which enhances sustain and volume as energy isn’t being absorbed by the neck joint.

The carbon fibre is glued in with epoxy and on top of the CF, I glue a strip of hardwood for the fingerboard to be glued to. The strips of hardwood stop a little bit short of the end of the carbon fibre. The idea is to allow somewhere for excess epoxy to ooze out.
As you probably know, you can’t compress a liquid (basic hydraulics) and the danger is that you clamp the CF in place and if the epoxy can’t go anywhere, the pressure builds up and you can split the neck! And you don’t want to that!

Secondly, we have Chris’s “Hare Signature”- Chris ordered a guitar from me awhile ago, but having seen the Hare video he has now chosen to go for one of these. I’ve been slowly putting together a “kit” of parts whilst constructing Alan’s. So once I start polishing Alan’s, Chris’s should go together quite quickly.

I’ve just got in some truly wonderful cocobolo for Brendan’s twin-pointer.......more to follow.
And in case you’ve not seen it, here is the video of the “Standard” mandolin which at the time of writing is still for sale.

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