Does anyone really give a monkey’s about how the finger rest/pick guard is attached to my mandolin? But as they say “The devil is in the detail” and there is a lot of planning and careful work in this apparently simple fixture. Firstly, the fretboard extension has to made, no two edges are parallel which makes things a bit tricky!
Once it’s been made, it's temporarily held in place with a wood screw, then a piece of maple (which will eventually be fixed to the underside of the finger rest) is shaped too.
I use brass machine screws to attach the finger rest to the instrument, so threaded inserts are fixed into the side of the fretboard extension. As I mentioned no two edges are parallel, so it’s clamped to angle plate to ensure that their holes are drilled true.
Then a couple more test fits before the fretboard extension is finally glued to the mandolin.
Those two pesky little pieces represent a good day’s work! Yep, “The devil is in the detail” Cheers Gary
I thought that I’d show you this photo; it makes sense of what I do with my archtop mandolin necks.
You’ve got the head, neck and two parts of the fretboard extension, each one glued to its neighbour. Under each of the two mahogany capping strips, is a length of rectangular section carbon-fibre. The CF runs from under the head overly as far as is practical in to the fretboard extension. So firstly, the carbon-fibre unifies all the different elements of the neck. Also wherever you have a joint you can get movement, so the idea of the carbon-fibre is to stiffen the neck and stop any distortion along its length. The capping strips are bonded to the CF with epoxy and I use them so the fretboard can be glued to the neck’s flat surface with Titebond. Cheers Gary
As promised, the archtop is now playing “in the white”. I’ll give it a few days to settle, make any adjustments and then take it apart to start the finishing process. I’m very pleased with the sound; the trebles are particularly clear and crisp. At this stage in its life, the tone changes/improves daily.
You’ll remember those fiddly bits for the finger-rest/pick guard? Here’s the finger rest attached- Brazilian rosewood from the same billet as the fretboard and tailpiece, laminated to carbon-fibre for stability.
Looks very cool even if say so myself! Cheers Gary
For various reasons that I shan’t bore you with, progress in the ‘shop has been a bit slow recently. However, I’m finally managing to crack-on with the finish on the archtop. This one is being French polished and you can see how the finish really pops the grain.
For me, French polishing is a slow process so it’s going to be a good few weeks before archtop #3 is complete and ready for sale.
I guess all luthiers search for the Holy-Grail of wood finishes; something that’s a doddle to apply, looks great, doesn’t affect the sound, doesn’t affect your health etc. etc. But having, over the years, used acid-catalysed melamine, two-pack polyurethane, nitro-cellulose, water-based acrylic, the one lesson that I’ve learnt is that there’s no substitute for hard work! Like many of my colleagues, these days I tend towards shellac-based finishes or various oils. The current archtop mandolin is being French Polished and is looking quite lovely! I put together this video to give you a taste of the polishing process; it's not intended as a "how-to" guide. Hope that you find it interesting.
ocarolan: I've never seen tartan skipping either...
Sept 22, 2019 13:19:07 GMT
martinrowe: Need some new glasses?
Sept 22, 2019 15:12:58 GMT
Akquarius: what's a skip?
Sept 22, 2019 19:33:03 GMT
Wild Violet: A skip is another word for a dumpster - a very large metal bin that are often behind businesses and can be raided for food or to find things to sell. Or so I hear...
Sept 23, 2019 7:36:20 GMT
walkingdecay: Good thinking about the two for one, Martin. I'd have the second one made up into a suit. I'd look slightly less awful than usual in a tartan suit, I reckon.
Sept 23, 2019 11:11:07 GMT
ocarolan: ...and, you would be hard to spot when standing by piles of shortbread tins, Pete.
Sept 23, 2019 11:18:18 GMT
martinrowe: Skips are hard to get rid of though - if you ever think of de-cluttering
Sept 23, 2019 13:01:12 GMT
walkingdecay: Have a great meet-up folks.
Sept 24, 2019 16:12:20 GMT
Akquarius: thanks Pete :-) too bad you can't be there!
Sept 24, 2019 18:51:16 GMT
Onechordtrick: All quiet from Halifax. Should somebody check that they’re OK?
Sept 29, 2019 8:59:59 GMT
ocarolan: Most folk left now - just stragglers remain. Forum should get more news, pics, vids over the next few days/weeks. Was fab w/e, of course with friends old and new, lots of music, laughter, booze etc. A worthy 10th.
Sept 29, 2019 12:30:08 GMT
stevie2sticks: Congratulations. My youngest, 2 and a bit has just done "twinkle twinkle little star" on his Kazoo working on "a train" on harmonica, I've ear marked him a guitar. I started training him Klingon but grandma intervened.
Sept 29, 2019 16:49:24 GMT
Akquarius: To all of you who did not attend Halifax this year. You definitely missed a big thing!
Oct 1, 2019 19:15:18 GMT
martinrowe: Perfect Pitch: Lobbing a banjo into a skip and completely covering the accordion.
Oct 12, 2019 7:58:34 GMT
ocarolan: Q: If you drop simultaneously a banjo and an accordion from an aeroplane, which instrument will hit the ground first? A: Who cares?!
Oct 14, 2019 17:44:48 GMT