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.
Onechordtrick: I was reading a book this morning. Some of you may remember them, made from dead trees. I needed to know the time so glanced up to the top left corner of the page. Was very confused when it wasn’t there!
Jan 18, 2020 18:52:41 GMT
curmudgeon: Ordered a Chinese takeaway - just picked it up and as I was driving home, I heard the bag rustling and moving!!! I wondered if a rat or mouse had got in the bag - thought I could see a little pair of eyes - looked again and here it was ... A peeking duck!
Jan 18, 2020 19:40:30 GMT