W.L. Chambers

Big body
13" scale
Came in as project, I did what I considered the minimum to make it a playable instrument
  A lot of "folk" appeal, and all small shop builds from this era are always interesting.
We will see what kind of sound it will make

I searched for a  W.L. Chambers and found that we had a Federal Judge , Justice W.L. Chambers that was in charge of Samoa in the 1800's

He would have been an old man in 1933, and I would not thought it worth mention until I saw that he died in 1933 in Maryland, the same year this was made.

And  constructed out of woods that are in that region are in this instrument.
He would have been 81 when he made it, not impossible, I'm 61 now and repaired it.


I would guess the back and sides and neck as walnut, the top I am not sure
It is not cedar, it has no smell but is reddish.
I will guess maybe Fir by its grain.
Nice violin style edges.

A fingerboard was added without a neck reset and was built to the angle of the neck as it was set.
Its close enough to make a player out of it

I filled in the areas that were needing it and started a tint coat so see where I am

Added markers
cut fingerboard to true 16" radius

Added a marker and dot at three
Tint complete

Fretting with 147 Stew Mac wire,

Radius leveled, crowned and polished
Went pretty well, I am hopeful it will play out

Cleaning glue from orig pick guard

2 sided 3M adhesive



Nice tone, not muddy at all
Plays in tune, no compensation issues

OK, well, it will be something for people to try out now, and Mr Chambers work lives on

Well,...Maybe not
 "Best Laid Plans Go Asunder"
I took it with me to the Eureka Springs show, without a case.
It was the last instrument I loaded at the show's end, and when I opened that door to stick in "one more thing"
Out it came, hit the asphalt, and at Mandolin tuning....flew the hell apart.

Popped what was left of the top off...
Sealed everything I found that was loose on back and sides.
Neck will remain set, and I will rebuild the top to it.

Getting some torrified spruce cleats ready

Not knowing that the top was made with a rib channel, I will have to repair a few places on the side.
Still a great way to keep a body all in alignment because once rib sare in the channel, thats it.

Ready to re-fit to channel
Fish glue will be used.

It all snapped into place pretty easily.

Now for another big change.
Since it is slim at the nut, I will make it a 4 string instrument.
It will be easier to play.

Filling the old holes

All back finish completed

Now to finish out the peghead
Will not try to hide all this work, just 3 coats of clear  will go on

After the top was refinished,  Modern Kluson tuners (Thanks Red) installed, I opted for a Violin tailpiece that gives better downforce and looks cool on this body.
I slotted it so ball end strings could ride right up into the holes
Shaped a Grover banjo bridge to fit the top profile, sound is much brighter than it was in old setup, nice on single strings.

Well, its back together and I can begin the forgetting of the sound it made when it hit the asphalt, which was my fault. :)
I think it is a more interesting instrument than it was as a mandolin.

Thanks for looking
Inquire and share!