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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