Friday, August 24, 2012

Wenge Neck

In case you’ve been wondering! Here are a few pictures of the Standard Plus; the wenge neck has turned out really well. It was hard work to shape it; the wenge doesn’t like spokeshaves and I had to use a rasp for virtually all of the shaping but visually it was certainly worth the effort. I love the whole dark look and the relic finish tuners that I’m going to use will look spot on.

I posted these photos on the Mandolin Café forum and was blown away by the kind comments that my fellow luthiers left- all greatly respected craftsmen. You can read them towards the end of this page.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Setting up

One of the things that I really like about making instruments with floating bridges, is that you can get it set-up (action and intonation) before any finish is applied. Once you’re 100% happy that the instrument is at its optimum, you can take it apart again and apply the finish. This eliminates the angst of filling saddles and nuts on a freshly polished instrument.
Here you can Sean’s twin-point going through that procedure. Another use for that pattern maker’s vice- again, you wouldn’t do this with neck that’s polished!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The aggregation of marginal gains

I’ve spent a fair bit of time watching the Olympics on the tele’- mainly the cycling as this something that I used to do in another life. Team GB dominated most of the cycling, as did GB riders in the Tour de France. Their domination is put down to a strategy they call the aggregation of marginal gains. Basically lots of small improvements add up into a measurable advantage. (I guess the opposite to the law of diminishing returns!) This got me thinking about my recent post “Some thoughts on mandolin design” and how that it could easily be sub-titled “The aggregation of marginal gains”- a tweak of the neck angle, a change to the profile of a brace, the sound board 0.25mm thinner etc. no one modification is enough to make a great difference but all of them added together!
The aggregation of marginal gains- all serious luthiers should live by this!
Alan’s mandolin update
As always it’s a great relief when an instrument has arrived safely in its new home- Alan’s mandolin got there and here are his initial thoughts on the Mandolin Cafe forum.