Friday, July 29, 2016

Rob’s Standard Mandolin

Rob’s mandolin has now been completed and earlier in the week he came over to collect it.
Here are some photos of the finished instrument for you.
As much as I like my more ornate instruments; making pearl rosettes etc, I also like the clean lines that the Standard model has. It’s a good looking instrument but it’s all in its form.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Paul’s Standard Plus Mandolin

Paul’s mandolin is now complete and residing safely with him. Here are some photos of the finished instrument for you. A real beauty!
And here's the spec....
352 mm scale
Robson handmade tuners
Sitka Spruce soundboard with Sitka bracing.
Herringbone rosette and purfling
Pau Ferro back and sides
Body fully bound in Indian rosewood
Maple neck with carbon fibre reinforcement
Ebony fretboard, compound radius, wide gold evo frets
Abalone dot marker on front surface + brass ring side markers
Handmade Nava design tailpiece (ebony, brass stainless steel), bone nut and saddle
French polish finish
Brazilian rosewood head overlay with abalone inlay

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Friday, July 22, 2016

From when walnut was king...........

For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about designing and making a carved top mandolin. Whist I love my current range of mandolins, I am aware that some players simply prefer carved to flat-tops.
When I say thinking about it for a long time, here’s the Engelmann top that I glued together in 2008!
I don’t think that there is any point in me making F or A style instruments as there are many luthiers out there already building fine examples of those. So, after much thought, my design ideas have evolved to the point where I’m ready to start building and you’re welcome to watch this new project progress. You’re going to have to be patient though, as I’m only doing a few hours every now and then, in between all the commissions that are planned.
Back and sides- a few years ago I came across this desk/dressing table top. It’s made from some beautiful old mahogany that has been veneered with a decorative walnut veneer and banding.
Of course nowadays most people associate veneer with mdf and inferior KD furniture, but we're talking about quality cabinet making from when walnut was king! Imagine the quality of this piece of furniture, that the base wood should be prime mahogany!
This is a single piece of mahogany (no joins- what a tree!) and I planned out the best way to use it, so it will yield three instruments; it would criminal to waste such a precious resource.
I don’t use large woodworking machines, so prepping the wood involved some traditional skills!
Here is the one set of sides and another set bent with the end-blocks in place.

And here’s the back- 
-with the board being so wide, you may ask why not a one piece back? Here’s the end-grain of the back once it had been glued together, you can see how I’ve arranged things for maximum stability.
 One day I’ll carve this!

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Saturday, July 09, 2016

Fitting the Headway transducer II

A couple of posts back, you saw some of the preparation that I do whilst making an instrument that has a transducer built in to it. Here’s the next instalment……
This week, all of the construction was completed on Rob’s Standard mandolin. Before I apply any finish, I like to get the mandolin playing and set-up i.e action and intonation spot-on, this in turn gives the final location of the bridge.
 Low tack masking tape records the bridge’s position. You may wonder why this craftsman leaves the ends of his tape so tatty looking? Smooth it down and you run the risk of your finger nails digging into the soundboard as you struggle to remove the tape!
All of this is painstaking, as you have to drill a hole through the soundboard exactly where the transducer exits the underside of the bridge. I always get Amanda to sight the drill for me; it must be perpendicular.
Then after a period of fiddling around, the transducer gets pulled through its hole; remember all of this is done blind.
Eventually the bridge goes back into its position, the strings back to tension and the transducer tested.

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Saturday, July 02, 2016

Rob’s Standard

Here are some photos to show how Rob’s mandolin is progressing. I’m particularly pleased with how rosewood insert in the back, ties in with the bindings.