Tuesday, January 15, 2013

So what’s been happening in 2013 so far?

I had a bit of a shaky start to 2013; we ended 2012 with some flooding in the workshop. Fortunately, nothing was damaged but it took up a fair bit of time getting various things sorted out. And then I had an argument with a holly tree that I was pruning and ended up with a scratched cornea! However, we’re back to normal now!
As you can see, John’s twin-point is now just hanging-up and looking lovely; I’m waiting for the polish to harden before it’s reassembled.
I’ve just got in two sets of cocobolo for more mandolins; these sets have really straight grain and a lovely reddish/orange hue. Cocobolo is becoming increasing more difficult (and expensive) to get hold of, so I’m pleased to able to replenish my stock.
Tristan’s maple Standard mandolin is progressing nicely; the neck and fingerboard have been glued on. You can see the importance of having a variety of clamps; although it looks like I’m using a lot, the idea is to lightly clamp over a large area. The cam clamps greatly reduce the risk of causing any damage to the body.
I always put a camber on my mandolin fingerboards and the way I ensure that whole fingerboard has been sanded, is to mark the surface with a white pencil, then when you sand the curve you can easily see how you are progressing. Once all the pencil marks have gone, the whole fingerboard has been sanded to the desired curve. 

Next the dots are epoxied in, and wait again!
Tony’s walnut Standard Plus is now coming together too. The soundboard was glued on yesterday and the back today.
Again lots of clamps and a plywood caul to spread the load.

So have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet? Well look below! Whist waiting for French polish, glue etc. to dry/harden, I’ve made a start on the e-mando! 
You can see the body blank and the shape that I decided upon and I’ve just glued the head splice for the maple neck.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions?

I’ve been listening to my new Xmas CD- Show of Hands, Wake the Union (thoroughly recommended) and I’ve been rather taken with Steve Knightley’s tenor guitar playing. So, I thought it might be nice to build one- then whilst at the bench today, that idea morphed into a matching mandolin and tenor guitar! How cool would that be?! However, I decided to reign myself in, as the metaphorical back burner is full with other incomplete projects that have been deferred. Although I’m not a great believer in New Year’s resolutions, I thought that I should set myself the target of completing those “back burner” projects. Still, I’m not complaining as these projects have been delayed due to the amount of commission work that I have.
This baritone ukulele was started just over a year ago. As you can see the maple/spruce body is complete and is awaiting the neck. Not too much to do on this one!
 I’ve been contemplating an electric mandolin for quite a while and whist I’ve been cogitating about the details I’ve put a body blank together from some figured Ash. The hole is for a threaded end-pin jack socket and there are channels cut inside the blank for wires to run through.
 This one isn’t far on at all! But I keep wanting to make a carved top mandolin and you can see that the top is glued up and ready to go. What’s been holding me up is the shape…………
 ………….you may remember my model 2 instruments? I really liked that shape so I thought  that it might interesting to scale it down to suit a mandolin and make both the electric and carved top to the same shape! Here’s my first draft of the new shape. I’ve pinned it up in the workshop and will decide if I like it before any more design work is done.
 Still thinking about a matching mandolin and tenor guitar though!

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