Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Plate I

I’ve just finished the shaping and thicknessing of the archtop mandolin’s top plate. The external profile takes a long time to shape: checking against templates, shaping the re-curve, ensuring symmetry etc.etc! But carving the internal surface is much quicker as “all you need to do is” check its thickness with callipers.
At the same time I’ve been trying to record some of the top’s physical attributes to allow for objective comparisons when the next one is built.
Here I’m using a dti to measure the deflection when a 1kg mass is placed on it: this will give me an idea of the top’s stiffness.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

One Sold, One Available

Many thanks to all of you who showed interest in the twin-point mandolin; it has now been sold and is with its new owner.

However, if you've missed out, the emando is still available at £800 or near offer. You can find full details on my website.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bit of a bind

The body of Brendan’s mandolin is now together and the Macassar ebony is looking really very good!
The next step is the purflings and bindings. First, however, I have to make the bindings; doing custom builds as I do, means you have to be willing to make one-offs and if that means making your own ebony with red line bindings, so be it.
You have to use prime quality ebony for the bindings,the grain has to be straight in order to bend it accurately. A piece of 25 mm wide ebony is laminated to red veneer with waterproof glue.
Once dry, the edge is trued with a plane and a length cut off on the bandsaw; the process is then repeated for each piece.
All the pieces are then sanded to around 2.5mm thick, ready for bending. I manged to get 5 strips this time- always nice to have a spare!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It’s all about planning

I’m fitting a Headway transducer to Brendan’s new mandolin and this changes the order of the way that I put things together. I have to start work on the tailpiece much sooner than I usually do.
Then the soundboard is fitted and glued to the rim (normally I glue the back first) and the area around the end graft is cleaned up.
Then the brass base of the tailpiece is fitted to the rim, I only use two screws as the jacket socket is essentially a 12 mm bolt holding the tailpiece in place.
With everything very, very secure the 12mm hole is drilled through the tail block, using the tailpiece as guide.
Also at this stage (i.e. before the back goes on) the jack socket can be test fitted and the backing nut adjusted to the correct position.
Once I take the socket out of the hole, I glue the nut in position with some CA- this greatly helps when fitting the pick-up finally in place, as you have to work blind through the relatively small sound hole.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Brendan’s Mandolin………….making progress!

The next stage for Brendan’s instrument is the rosette; we’ve decided on a theme of red and black so here are some photos of the process……………
The centre of the rosette is made from African Blackwood and although it will be difficult to see what the centre actually is, we’ll know! As a point of interest I always keep off-cuts to use for small features such as this rosette. Back 2009 I made a Blackwood classical guitar for Matt Bellamy of Muse fame; Brendan’s rosette’s centre comes from that!
I like the effect of running the rosette right up to the sound hole itself and then binding the hole with black lines so that you don’t see any spruce. I seem to be doing this more and more.
 And finally the rosette itself.
Also I’ve been working on the Macassar ebony back here you can see it fully braced and fitted to the rim. I always cut small housing joints into the linings to give a secure anchor for the brace ends.
 On a different note! Brendan often recommends music for me to listen to and the latest insight has been Peter Ostroushko. I had been blissfully ignorant of this wonderful musician so had buy this CD set. I particularly like playing it whilst working on Brendan's mandolin.

Cheers Brendan!


Friday, September 08, 2017

Twin Point Mandolin For Sale

I’ve now completed this Twin-point mandolin and I must say it’s a real beauty! It’s up for sale on my website where you can find its fullspec and more photos. You’ll remember that the client who commissioned it had to cancel the order. As I, like all luthiers I know of, have a non-refundable deposit policy; I can offer it for sale at £1200 (with Hiscox case). This price is below my base price, and considerably lower than an instrument with the cocobolo and gold tuner upgrades would be.
Here are some photos to tempt you!

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