Friday, December 25, 2009

Mandolin Build # 2

I have started a new Mandolin build . The following pics will show the basic progression of the instrument. The following is the Hard Maple back that has been shaped to the design.

The next Pic shows the back glued to the sides , kerfing in place and reinforcing set in an X pattern for bracing . I have used solid wood cuts for the harder parts of the design as you can see .

The neck is glued up and ready for the band saw .

Gluing and clamping the tone bars in place after the basic shape of the top has been cut

The finished glued top . Note the "oval sound hole" I messed up the project as you will see soon.

The Neck glued in place with the fret board Fretted and fitted and glued in, The tuner holes have been drilled as well.

The layout of the Pearl inlays at the head angle.

The top glued in place and the unit ready for final sanding for the finish . Note the "diamond sound hole " hey I'm good lol . The color stain under the finger board was done prior to gluing

I will have pictures of my project comming up as I continue into the finishing stage . Thanx for stopping by and looking over my little project.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Latest Repair Job

This is a Mid 1890's Tenor Banjo . The customer wanted it cleaned and restored to playable .

I spent Maybe 10 hrs on this and charged $100.00 " Man I gotta Raise My Prices "
It turned out quite nice and is very playable . I am willing to bet however that it ends up being a wall hanging .

Customer wanted modern keys on it , the friction style were quite unusable. I "believe" that is the original Calfskin head . I left the face stained , and basically cleaned the dirt . TO MUCH cleaning can detract from value . However so does modern keys ? Go Figure ?

Friday, December 11, 2009

My First Paying Job As A Luthier ! " RedNeck Resonater "

Hello all . I have a customer in my regular business who found out I do Luthrie as a hobby . He had this Mid 1930s Resonator guitar and wanted it redone . I agreed , with the proviso that I make NO GUARANTEES and NO PROMISES . He readily agreed . When I took the Resonator plate off , I found what you see below . SOMEONE had taken a guitar and tried to make a "Faux Reso " and painted a silver circle on the guitar top .

When I stopped Laughing , I called the customer and told him what I found . He said he still wanted it Done . So the Following Pics are a story of What I did .

Pained circle above , Top cracked in a dozen places and not repairable . Has to be replaced.

The Resonator Cover , I used Steel Wool and turtle wax to clean as well as possible.
The Pic above shows the "reinforcing I glued in to help stabilize the cracks in the guitar back.

The neck was warped and in bad shape , I sanded it down and used a hand plane to try and straighten the fret board side , it was "partially" successful.

The back and sides after I sanded and filled cracks and re glued any loose areas.

The above is the new top , I made it out of 2nd grade Walnut lumber I had in stock . It is re-sawn and book matched . And Yes that IS a $3.00 Metal Pie Plate to be used as a resonator cone to make the reverberation sound out .

The bracing has been glued in and the "F" holes redone to match the original guitar.

View from the front that shows the Pie Plate in place . It is held in by a screw and glue with a maple "dowel" and the bridge sits right over that screw to help with the sound vibrations.

The neck has been reset and painted black , I am using Black and Cherry stains so the neck will be part of the overall black and red theme

Gluing the top back in place .

After staining , during the Lacquer Stage , Note my Lacquer booth needs work "LOL"

The back of the finished product , Black stain in the wood grain and Cherry stain over that. You can see how the black Painted neck ties in nicely now.

The front of the finished Guitar . The Top is black stained walnut and the fingerboard is Cherry stained . So the whole effect turned out well.
The Customer paid $200.00 dollars and was Quite Happy with the results achieved . The Guitar is tuned and very playable . The sound is Actually very good for a Redneck Resonator .
I was actually impressed that it turned out to sound as good as it did , I did have my doubts .
So goes my first paying job as a luthier . The amount was not really enough to cover my time , however I did learn allot and the challenge was quite fun .
I hope you enjoyed my short trip through Redneck Luthrie

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Mandolin Build

I have decided on a Design and will be " actually " already have started . I will be posting Pics throughout The build as I did before .

This one will be built allot like the previous one, however the body style will be different , and I hope to Fix some of the Mistakes I made in the last one.

If you enjoy watching the creation take place , keep checking back . I will have up dates as often as I possibly can .

Have a great day all!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mandolin Post # 7 ITS DONE !!

Well the time has come my good friends , to talk of other things. Of many hours making parts for Mandolins with Strings !
The next few pics are all of the Mando finished and tuned.
I made a pearl pick guard from a sheet I purchased from Stewart MacDonald and since I didn't want it actually touching the top surface I purchase the smallest rubber O rings I could find and put 1 under each screw so the pick guard is approx 1/16" off the top surface.

You can see parts of the Label in the pic through the sound hole . It says " WudWerks Inc. Serial # 0001 Manuf Date 7-9-09"

The tail Piece and tuners are all Polished Brass With Pearl Knobs on the tuners . The Pick Guard is pearl. The Fret Dots are Pearl. The Bridge and Fret Board are Ebony . The sides neck and back are Hard Maple and the Top is Mahogany

Remember the tension rod in the neck. I covered it with a Mahogany wood block and set it with polished brass screws the same as the pick guard. I purchased a leather strap and it is complete.

I really hope you have enjoyed my small project as much as I have in making it.

Next post will be a Vid ( if I can figure it out ) with it being played so you can hear it.

Have great day everyone

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mandolin Post # 6 Some Assembly and Lacquer

I start this weeks post by stepping back a couple pictures to the top assembly. As you can see from the following Pic , the top is being glued down. However what I wanted to point out here is the head and tuner peg holes. I have laminated a face piece on the head approx 1/16" thick of Hard Maple wood .

The following picture shows the head being laminated around the sides with the Mahogany to match the stripes in the neck and the top. Notice the fine precision clamping mechanisms that are keeping everything aligned while the glue dries ? I tell ya nothing but the best for this WudWerker.

After that was glued and trimmed I finally was able to do some assembly I have screwed in the tail piece and the Tuning pegs in the head . I set the bridge in place and put strings on it. I wanted to see how well the sound was at this point before I started the Lacquer. If sanding was needed now is the time to do it. As you can see through the sound hole , one of my braces is visible ! ( mistake # ...... lost count )

The unit is tuned and checked for sound. I have spent a little extra and purchased the better quality tuning pegs and tail piece in a polished brass . The tuning keys have pearl knobs. Notice the location of the ebony bridge in relation to the sound hole . Remember I said earlier in a post the distance from the fret with the (2 ) pearl inlay dots to the nut ( bone piece at head ) is approx same distance from same fret to bridge .

The sound is actually quite good considering its my first attempt at a mandolin. I am rather happy at this point and quite relieved. Time for disassemble and Lacquer . The first pic is the back of the mandolin . The wood grain is quite beautiful and I am glad I found that particular piece.

I have taped off the fret board with 3m paper tape and have started spraying at this point . There are ( 9 ) coats of Lacquer on this mandolin , each sprayed , allowed dry time of 3 hrs , sanded lightly, and sprayed again, etc.... etc... 9 times

The top during spraying and below the neck . You can see the mahogany strips are showing quite nicely .

I hope you have found my project enjoyable . Next post I will show you the final assembled mandolin . Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mandolin Post #5 Fret Board and Bridge Fitting

I begin this week with the " Fret Board" this is a strip of Ebony Wood . It is rectangular in shape and has to be cut to fit the Mandolin neck that was made. Better Luthiers will cut the fret slots personally. However since this is my First attempt. I chose to purchase a "pre-Cut" fret board. The Board Came to me Rectangular with the narrow slices for the wire frets already cut in place. The distances are extremely crucial to a good sound and I wasn't ready to tackle that aspect yet.

As you see in the pic below I have cut the fret board to length and shape . I put it on a solid piece of Oak wood and Hammered the Fret wires into place , This needs to be done with ( 1 ) blow of a Hard Plastic Mallet , excessive blows will bend the wire and then allot of sanding is required to fix them.
Each Fret wire is cut over sized and hammered into the pre-cut slots. Then they are trimmed to length. The fret wire has a tang that has teeth that will grab i the slots and hold. this is not and easy job. it took me a couple hours and several messed up frets to get it right.

In the Pic below I have drilled and glued in the pearl inlay dots I chose for my fret board. These are set in the center of the # 3 / 5 / 7 / 10 / 12 / 15 frets . You will notice the 12th fret has 2 dots . This is the octave fret. As you can see they are smaller than a pencil eraser and I drilled the holes with a 5/32" mill bit to get a flat bottom hole .

In the pic below I have fitted the fret board to the neck of my Mandolin and have it glued in place . To the left end you can see the access hole to open and tighten or loosen the tension rod nut if the neck needs adjusting. Yo will also notice that I have chosen to make this a flat top Mandolin , moving away from the basic shape of most Mandolins made today.

The below pic shows the Bridge that set at the back of the Mandolin and holds the string spacing properly. The distance from the " Nut" of the Mandolin ( the white bone glued in the neck at tension rod end, see last pic) to the 12th fret ( two dots ) is the same dimension as the 12th fret to the bridge . When I measured it out you will see that the bridge ended up being approx 1 inch from the sound hole.

What I am checking here is the height of the Bridge in relation to the Fret Board. I had to sand the bottom of my Bridge down quite a bit and modify the top so that i could get the desired height of my strings . This is called the " Action" and I will get into that more later. The desired height I am working for is approx .100 above the frets.

The below pic shows the unit glued together and standing in my shop. Remember when I said I had let the outer shell of the Mandolin take its natural shape prior to gluing back on. If you will look at the below pic and imagine a straight line down the center of the fret board to the tail piece . You will notice the tail piece has mover and the detail is not on center . I thought it gave it a little more personality.

In the next pic I have made the tension rod cover from the Mahogany left over from the top and am using it to hold the "Nut" in place while it glues. The height of the nut is determined by the fret wire height, so the distance the fret stands above the board + .015 " for String action + approx .030 " for a string grove will give you nut height. This is crucial and required a set of thickness gauges to get set properly.

well that ends this post of the Mandolin Project . I hope you have enjoyed reading and following my little project . Have a great week and stop by again.
Feel free to leave comments , I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mandolin Post # 4 Tone Bars

As we get into post # 4 we are applying the back to the Mandolin outside shell . Remember I said I let the Tension off the unit a bit and allowed it to find its natural shape . You will see that come to the fore later in another post. Below I have cut the back slightly larger than the outer shape and am gluing it in .

If you look closely you can see the notched "Kerfing " that helps to have glue area needed to keep the Mandolin together . The thickness of the back should be no greater than .125" thick . Actually a bit thinner , around .105 is desired at finish for better sound.

Also you can see in the above pic that I have cut the headstock to receive the "Tang" from the neck to create a solid joint. The back is solid an the tang sits down and is glued to the back as well as the insides to make a solid joint.

The Picture below shows the placing of the supports across the back of the Mandolin. I used Spruce , its light and strong and recommended for this area. as you can see the supports are feathered out towards the end. This helps reduce mass and weight , and since you have " Kerfing at the edges it isn't required that the be full thickness.

I place 3 across , and learned that two would have been enough probably . Oh well next time.

The Pic Below shows the placement of the " Tone Bars " this is not a complete pic . After the pic was taken I added another cross bar , the short one approx 3/4" from the sound hole and I scalloped the long ones between those shorter cross pieces so that it reduced mass and added strength and tone. The more material taken out will change the sound of the face as its done.

Again the shape is cut slightly larger than the outer ring and this allows for the best gluing and the remainder can be sanded flush at a later time

Below You can see I have glued the neck into place . Why I didn't get pics of that I Cant remember . I really thought I did. Anyway The tang was glued in and then I drilled 2 holes on either side about 1" deep so that half the hole was in the tang and half in the headstock . I then glued a dowel into that hole , this helps lock the neck into place . Works like a square key on a motor shaft. sorry I really thought I had pics of that.

You can see the top being glued in and the neck set . If you look closely you will see the Hard Maple strip in the neck I glued in to cover the Tension Rod.
The Next Post will show the Fret Board as well as the basic Glued Mandolin.
Thank You for stopping by and looking at my little project.