Friday, December 21, 2007

Another project under way!!

A doublecut les Paul (ish) sort of thing.

the body is cut from the bar top of the Ballylumford powerstation social club bar (they were finished with it, honest!!). given it's age, I'm 99% sure it's BRAZ mahogany.

top is maple that I got off Evil Bay about 9 months ago.

I've hollowed the body out to allow resonance as I'm going for a hybrid here.

The bridge will be a floating acoustic style bone saddle over a piezo under saddle pup.

the electric pups will be PAFs from GFS, split (obviously)

the maple will be stained blue like the 4th pic shows on an offcut.

Stereo output so I can process the electric & acoustic sounds seperately.

Sadly (!) school finished for the Christmas holidays two hours ago, so no more Lutherie until 7th Jan at the earliest!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


no rambling, let the pics here, and the soundclip from the links to the right there speak for themselves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hi folks, no progress as I've been off sick for a week.

nightmare of a tummy bug, but HOPEFULLY I'll be back at work tomorrow and get the strings on.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mandola progress.

OK the first one is NEARLY done.

tuners are on, nut is cut and on, bridge is fitted and bridge pins holes are reamed to 5 degrees to accept the pins.

ball end strings are in the post so hopefully I'll get the fret dressing done and intonation sorted on the saddle by the end of next week.......


The OTHER mandola has gone slightly adrift.

I was trying to get a really smooth neck/cutaway join. Sadly it's TOO smooth and the neck would actually overhang.

I've fitted the neck anyway at a slight angle, and thrown on a few coats of lacquer. and I'll bung on a bridge to see how it sounds.

I COULD tell a pack of lies about how it was deliberate to allow more bass response........

but that's not my style......

It MIGHT be useable, and I'll ebay it for the cost of parts........ or maybe less :o(

Worst case scenario is I take off the neck and use it on a later build.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Busy wee day today......

a LOT of sanding, then the heel plate cut & stuck.

MORE sanding then the first "show the glue splodge" coat of lacquer.

As well as showing up any places that need more sanding to lift out any glue squeeze out that I've missed (and this time there isn't much :o)) it also lets the wood show itself off a bit too. The bear claw on the top is YELLING out!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tuner holes drilled & checked for alignment....... frets fitted and fretboard cut to match curve of soundhole.... though not necessarily in that order!!

some tidying of the neck joint to do and then a LOAD of sanding before finish coats.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

mandola progress.

Both necks are rough carved but still have a load of sanding to do.

the fretboards are curved to a radius of 12" using a handy curved sanding block from Stewmac (note the 12!!). there was still a fair bit to do on this one when I took the pic.......

I've cut the mortice in the neckblock to accept the tenon on the neck and drilled the holes for the bolt which will pull everything tight,


because the fretboard is too long I cant reach past it to tighten the bolt.


I need a decision from Kevin (the client) as to how he wants the neck to end at the soundhole.

left square, rounded or a swirl?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Binding on the second mandola body now done, so next wek there will (hopefully) be a load of sanding done on both bodies.

the necks were rough cur to get the vague head shape then I got the chance to part carve one of the necks.

note the radiused sanding block that the necks are resting on. I'll be using that to curve the fretboard before the frets go on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ah, at last, back after school half term......

I'd started a 12 string to tinker on while waiting for the glue on Kevin's mandola to dry....

Walnut Back & sides, Engleman spruce top, purpleheart rosette.

the back was about 3mm too narrow for my mini jumbo mould so I laminated in two strips of maple and one of rosewood binding
up the middle........ Yeah, I know it's cheating, but hey, warts and all right?

the mandola now has a siamese twin in parallel development.

so as a result I now have two necks rough cut, one body closed and bound waiting for a LOAD of sanding, and a top waiting for the bracing to be carved before it meets up with it's back & sides.

the plan (like there was ever a plan!!!) is for Kevin to be able to choose his fav, as this is a stab in the dark, seat of the pants, never played a mandola before let alone seen plans before type build...... the old paranoia of will the bracing be too tight and so deaden the vibrations, or too weak and let the top rip off raises it's ugly head again!!!. #2 will be less tightly braced, so we'll see how things pan out.......

note the heads aren't my usual shape as Kevin wants whichever one he takes to fit in with his other babies......... (BTW, that curl (or blob) on the headstock is gonna be a pain later on!!!!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No time to type, but the binding is on the mandola!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The mandola is now sealed. maple bridge plate in place, and the braces shaves a bit more after the pic, then all glued up, and after leaving over night, I've cut the binding step and glued in the binding strip at the cutaway (hence the tape on the pic). Hopefully I'll get a chance to get the rest of the binding done this week.

it FEELS tighter than the normal x braced mandos. this is only natural as the bracing is heavier as there is a LOAD of extra force through a pinned bridge rather than a tailpiece

As you can see I've started another using the same mould....... just in case the 1st is rubbish. I'm going to put the front on this one first so I can trim the braces after attaching the top to the sides.......

Cherry mando is trundleing along (gotta do something while waiting for the glue on the other build to dry!!)

neck join carved, tuner holes drilled, frets in, ends filed, end spaced under the frets filled, and the neck glued in.

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Married with 4 kids, Christian, worship leader, luthier