Friday, May 26, 2017

Twin-Point Tailpiece

It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve just completed and fitted the tailpiece on Andrew’s twin-point. There’s quite a lot of work in it; I reckon a good 10 hours, but the outcome is well-worth it.
(I love this little anvil! Another recent acquisition)
You can see how the tailpiece complements the body, something that a commercial item won’t do.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

On the bench

It occurred to me that I currently have 4 completely different mandolins on the go; so I thought that you might be interested in a round-up
We’ve got the e-mando; I’ve finished applying the Tru-Oil so I’m just waiting for it to fully harden before it’s reassembled and offered for sale.
 Then we’ve got Andrew’s cocobolo and red spruce twin-point. The neck was shaped earlier in the week; these days my Japanese Shinto rasp is a firm favourite for the initial shaping.
You might remember my tiny Veritas plane? It’s been useful in ways that I hadn’t imagined; here, ideal for cleaning up the juncture between neck and body.
 Fast forward a couple of days and here’s the twin-point, all cleaned-up and awaiting its hardware.
Also progressing nicely is David’s Standard mandolin, some fine Brazilian mahogany and a herringbone upgrade. Maple bindings next week.
 And lastly the carved-top project. Some progress has been made! I’ve used a wonderful piece of Brazilian rosewood for the head overlay and you can see that I’ve done some very rough shaping of the back with my Wagner Safe-T planer.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Housekeeping: Chisels

It being a rather grey Sunday morning, I thought that I’d do a bit of housekeeping; sharpen chisels! When you’re in the zone, fitting a neck or carving braces, you don’t want to stop to sharpen tools, so a bit of regular housekeeping is required.
First I like to polish/flatten the back of the chisels on a stone- you can’t get a sharp edge if the back isn’t flat. Over the years they get flatter and better.
Where possible I like to use a honing guide to ensure a consistent angle.
If the chisel or plane blade doesn’t fit in the guide, I use an angled wedge to help with the correct sharpening angle.
 I use three grades of stone, the last being my hard black Arkansas stone; it gives a surgically sharp edge. 
You may remember, awhile back, Amanda bought me a set of “vintage” Stanley Hercules butt chisels? These have become firm favourites to use; they're the perfect size for mandolin work.
I also enjoy using my old Marples bevel edge chisels; I bought these about 40 years ago (1 per week) when I started college. They’ve been a great investment, although recently I had to replace my 3/8”
This Bahco 4mm chisel is also an old favourite (again about 40 years old), particularly useful for the small housing joints that I use on my instruments.
About 10 years ago I bought some Japanese chisels and I must admit that I don’t find them as useful for luthiery as my bevel edge ones; I find them a bit too thick.
Anyway here we are ready for Monday morning.


Friday, May 05, 2017

Andrew’s Twin Point Update

Here’s a bit of an update on Andrew’s twin-point mandolin. One of the most time consuming elements of my twin-point builds is the binding and purfling. There are 21 separate pieces to be glued into place which includes 8 pieces of ebony all of which have to be bent on the hot iron to shape.
Firstly the rebate is cut….
Then purfling glued on….
Ebony bent to fit…..
Glued on…..
 One the trickiest stages is mitring the purfling at the tip of the points. It takes me around 30 minutes to carefully cut one mitre- shaving slivers away with a scalpel until a perfect fit is obtained.
I love the way that the bindings and purflings help to define the shape.