Thursday, August 24, 2017

Phil Hare re-visited

Phil Hare came over recently and it’s always a real pleasure to see him. He bought his Hare Signature guitar over for some fret work and a general service. Phil’s had the guitar for 6 years now, played 100’s of gigs on it, taken it abroad etc. so it was more than interesting (from the luthier’s point of view) to have it back on the bench. Apart from the obvious wear and tear of a life well-played, everything was in order.
Phil didn’t want an adjustable truss rod, just two lengths of carbon fibre. I ran the CF from the head, right into the neck block, so I was interested to see how this constructional detail was working out. I was extremely pleased how true the fretboard was throughout its entire length, which in turn meant that all the guitar needed was a partial re-fret as the fretboard itself didn’t require flattening.
So here is the amount of wear that a fret gets in 6 years of regular playing.
 Fretboard ready for the new frets
And one guitar ready for action.
Phil also gave us a copy of his latest CD “The Twilight Tone”- Now, we’ve seen Phil live a number of times and his virtuoso playing and good humour make for a great night out. However, listening to him on CD you can fully concentrate on just the music and it brings it home to you just how good a musician and songwriter Phil is. A real bonus for Amanda and I is that he only uses his “Nava” on the CD and it’s a real pleasure to hear one of ours being played so beautifully.
If you want to treat yourself, you can buy a copy direct from Phil via his website- or go out and see him!

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Friday, August 18, 2017

E-Mando now complete and ready for sale

If you’ve been following the blog you would have seen my new electric mandolin being built. It’s now complete and currently available at a price of £800; this includes an Ashbury gig-bag but shipping is extra.
The full spec and contact details can be found on my web-site.
Here’s the obligatory video, followed by some rather smashing photos!

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Brendan's Rim

I’ve just completed the rim for Brendan’s new mandolin. As you’ll see from the photos, the sides (and the back) are made from Macassar ebony; I’ve had this beautiful wood in stock for many years and I’ve no doubt it will make a stunning instrument.
It’s always a relief when the sides are bent, particularly on a type of wood that you’ve not bent before and are a bit unsure of how it will behave.
The plywood tail block and mahogany neck block are shaped to fit and glued in place. 
Then comes the linings- there are a number of styles- solid, kerf, reverse kerf and tentallones; the general function of all of them is to increase the gluing surface area between the sides and top or back. I’ve used all of them and these days I’m committed to double thickness solid ones as they make the rim far more rigid than any of the other types. I say committed- a good word to use, as 8 separate pieces of maple (my preference) have to be prepared, bent and glued in place.
And after a bit of committment.....................
The crowning glory is the end graft- a hint of what’s to come!

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Ol' number four

I’ve just put this old Stanley No. 4 smoothing plane back in to use. As far as I can tell, it was made in the late 50’s. One thing that it works incredibly well on, is shooting the joints for mandolin backs and soundboards. I always make my joints slightly hollow (maybe a shaving or two), to compensate for any future shrinkage that might cause a joint to come apart at the ends. Not quite as easy with my usual No.5, which has a longer sole. Here’s Brendan’s soundboard getting the treatment.