Saturday, January 24, 2009

Red Mandolin Update

The Red Mandolin is coming together nicely as you can see below below and it’s really going to be a beauty!

This coming week the purfling and Brazilian rosewood bindings should go on. You may remember that Alan wanted a slimmer version of the head? Well here it is and I must say that I like it and will probably adopt it for future mandolins: it has a couple of advantages over my previous shape.

1. It will be lighter, both visually and physically.
2. The strings will run straighter from the tuners to the nut.

Speaking of tuners I’m using Schallers from now on rather than Grovers. Both are really high quality tuners, but the gold colour on the Schallers is much better: just a detail!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back to work

Firstly, thanks to those regular readers of this blog who have expressed concern about me over the past few weeks; you’re very kind.

Andy D’s cutaway is now being sprayed and you can see why I wasn’t happy to wear my dusk mask post-op! It’s a Trend mask and the reason I like it, is that it’s vented at the bottom so that your specs don’t mist up: a thoroughly recommended piece of kit.
In between coats of lacquer, I’ve been working on a number of different instruments. The Red Mandolin is coming along nicely; below you can see the neck blank made from Cuban mahogany with two carbon fibre strips inserted and the Brazilian rosewood head overlay with pearl ‘N’. It’s a bit raw at the moment and will be shaped this week.

The sides are almost completed with the end blocks in place and the linings for the top. I’m now using solid linings on both the top and back joints on some of my instruments; I’m convinced that this will make the rim of the instrument more rigid and less likely to absorb energy from the soundboard. The linings for the top are always wider as you need to increase the surface for area for gluing. The top is under considerably more stress than the back and also the purflings tend to be more decorative around the top, hence wider. As you can’t bend 5mm thick wood, two thinner strips have to be bent and glued together; which adds to the time taken. You can see the solid linings compared to the kerfed.

You can also see the back braced and ready to go.

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