Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Standard Mandolin #13 “in the white”

The new Standard mandolin has gone through the setting up procedure and you can see it strung-up, in the white, below.

I’m very pleased with the way it plays and sounds. The next step is to strip it back down, a final sand, and apply the finish. I use an open pour shellac finish, which gives a very natural satin sheen to the instrument and, thankfully, doesn’t take the same amount of time as French polishing!


Friday, February 18, 2022

New Standard Mandolin (available soon!)

As you can see, the new Standard mandolin is almost done, the next step is to make the bridge, get it set-up and playing.
I’m very pleased with the mandolin so far. It has a simple, elegance which depends only its form and its materials rather than any unnecessary decoration, everything you see is pure mandolin.
The neck is made from figured maple with my usual carbon fibre inserts. The fretboard, from Brazilian rosewood, has simple circles acting as position markers and my favourite wide evo frets. One new feature that I am trying, is a slightly longer 360mm scale length (+8mm).  

The soundboard is made from Adirondack spruce with stiff Sitka bracing and the sound hole simply bound in black.
It should be complete in a month or so time and will be offered for sale via my web-site. If you wish to register an interest, contact details can be found on my website too.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Standard Mandolin update

It always surprises me when I see an instrument unbound. The bindings serve the very real function of protecting the delicate edges of the soundboard and back, and to me, leaving them out is inconceivable. Obviously, it’s a stage which takes a fair bit of time, care and skill to carry out, but is essential to the longevity of the instrument.

You can see how the new Standard has been bound in Brazilian rosewood, which nicely complements the figured sapele.

As a bit of fun, I thought that I’d have a go at making its end-pin (also Brazilian rosewood).
You can see how I did it in this video.


Monday, February 07, 2022

Still Learning

A while back, I drilled an array of holes in my bench’s top to accommodate some Kreg bench dogs and various clamps. I thought that I should make more use of the holes, so I made myself these large wooden bench dogs.

As they rotate in their holes, I can use them to stop a mandolin’s body (for example) from moving around whilst I’m working on it. You can see what I mean in the photos of the new Standard mandolin below. 

As instruments are relatively fragile and an irregular shape, holding them firmly can be an issue. When I do tasks, such as cleaning up the binding, I use one hand to hold the mandolin firmly against the dogs and the other to hold a plane.

I recently bought this Rider apron plane and it fits perfectly in one hand. So, the new plane and bench dogs make life so much easier. And yet again I ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that before!”

Something else that you’ll notice in some photos, is that I’ve started using cardboard between the bench and my work piece. In the past I’ve used various mats, but the card seems to work great at protecting the wood from being scuffed or damaged by the bench and unlike mats, it doesn’t harbour dust or chippings.