Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Heikki ‘s Mandolin revisited

Amanda and I were delighted to receive an audio file of Heikki playing his new Nava Standard mandolin. We found the music quite uplifting and I was inspired to put together a photo montage of the mandolin to accompany it and make up a short video.

Here it is- I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. Many thanks again to Heikki for sharing with us.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fitting the Headway transducer

In the last post, I mentioned that Rob’s Standard mandolin was not quite standard.  Rob has a couple of custom requirements; one of my handmade tailpieces and a Headway transducer.
One issue with using an under saddle transducer on a mandolin is housing the battery. Fitting a battery through the sound hole is a tight squeeze and all of the strings have to be taken off, which in turn means the bridge moves. The Headway solves this issue by using an external prep-amp which can also be used as a phantom power source for the transducer thus eliminating the need for an internal battery. With a stereo lead, one channel is used as the transducer’s output and the other as its power supply. The preamp itself is quite a neat thing and can go on a belt clip, if you wish.
 Here’s the completed tailpiece……………
…………….the large 12mm diameter hole is for the jack socket endpin.
 So, the soundboard is glued to the rim, the excess spruce trimmed and the position of the tailpiece carefully marked out, checked umpteen times, and the pilot holes for the tailpiece's screws drilled.
The tailpiece is screwed in place and a 12mm hole is drilled through the rim and tail-block. 
The transducer can then be test fitted. You can see why it’s a very good idea to use plywood for the tail-block, anything else and you run the risk of the block splitting. 
With the various nuts and washers adjusted for a perfect fit, the transducer is removed. Next, I like to glue the backing nut in place with CA; this helps with the final fitting once the mandolin is complete and you’re working blind through the soundhole.
 And after one last clean-up, the back is glued on to form the magic box.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Ambassadors and more……..

I’m sure that you’re familiar with Holbein’s painting, The Ambassadors; all the objects with their associated symbolism etc.?
Well, there were a few items at this week’s market that I couldn’t resist buying and when I laid them out, I thought that if Hans were to pop round to paint me, he would probably choose a very similar selection of symbolic objects……..
 The mandolin is a traditional Neapolitan bowl back from the 1900s; it probably doesn’t have any great value but it’s a lovely thing. So, do I restore it, or just let it adorn the workshop as is?
 Also, I couldn’t resist, yet another plane- a Stanley No 4, this one, is made in England, but has brass fittings instead of aluminium alloy and the casting looks a bit heavier and sharper compared to the other No 4 plane that I restored a while ago. 
Although there are plenty of websites for the dating of American Stanley planes, I can’t find any English ones.
Oh and the Keep on Truckin' badge, who didn’t have one of these on their denim jacket when they were 16?
 Anyway, back to the real world! I’ve had Paul’s Standard Plus playing in the white and now I’m about half way through the French polishing process- you can see how the wood really comes alive with some finish on it.
The next mandolin is a not-so-standard, Standard for Rob. Here is the completed rim- bubinga sides and rosewood end graft, with solid double thickness maple linings.