Mitchell's
Stromberg Plectrum
WORKPAGE
9-12


Circa 1920's
Transitional period, using both Vega and Lange Parts
This is the only example of Stromberg plectrum to pass thru my shop and the first one of any style to actually use the Vegaphone style flange plates.
It is easy to tell and obvious to me that all these pieces have been together since the build date
 
 


Rosewood overlay with abalone inlay


Stamped Elton Armrest, Unstamped but original Waverly
Sometimes they are stamped diagonally as well.
 


Rosewood  back veneer has many cracks that need filling before refinish
That's painted detail on the side wall , an attempt to give it a Rosewood appearance as well
 
 
 


 
 
 


Not a Marimba or Deluxe, and only the second I've seen with a "Cuppophone" stamping
Pre patent stuff.


Little Wonder Shoes and open ended Vega Nuts were used as well., That's commonplace
 


Standard resonator hardware with non original nuts, they took regular tension nuts, I have some


Name is Walter Hendrickson
Portland ME.
March 8, 1927
Its nice to see any date at all in a Stromberg!
 


Waverly reverse geared tuners.
A bit pesky but had to replace, there is alot of drilling under them
 

Typical Dot/Double dot
Very VERY slim neck profile
 


Which is why it has so much bow in it
It may not come down with regular heat press/compression fret, I will need to look at it closely and talk to the owner



NECK - Fingerboard removal for Truss Work


After binding removal I have scored both sides of the board and started to wedge open the end, not to move to heat and my smaller wedge
Head was changed in 1965
Not sure what the 3864 is about, its a more modern script than the 20s


 
 


It was tenacious for the first 3", I lost a little wood under the treble side but not too bad, the board is staying in one piece


Moving along fairly steady, 1 hour into it
 

Only one pesky stuck area and I can tell this is not the first time someone was in under this neck that was not hide glue  and there is some divoting from where it was pulled.
so I wonder if this is the second fingerboard or the first, just reinstalled
 


After removing what was stuck on the neck
All and all, a success to keep it this stable and it is reusable


Carbon Fiber truss arrived, so Ill cut a channel for it and bed it with Glue
 
 


Bedding in,


Clamp off 12 hrs


The carbon fiber gives another benefit,
Its topside is much more sandable than metal bar and the particulate that is created by this is perfect for the bedding.
 The glue soaks right into it and reforms it.
Sawed off and signed for posterity, it felt right for some reason? haha!
I wonder when the next guy will see it.
If Im lucky, it won't be me any time soon!


Prepping board for install, sanding "Cup "  from middle and repairing the one area that pulled some wood when I removed it


There are 2  1/16" holes drilled into 2 fret slots, that brass pins are placed for the purpose of alignment while clamping, fingerboard will drift one way or another and should be indexed
Heating up some Hide glue for the work.


12 hr clamp and then Ill check it
 
 


I removed all the hand painted gold that was leftover on the top lip and flange land, clean old stuff off the sidewall and bottom, leaving signature.... and did the standard blacking and have began to all clear to the inside


Ready for outside refinish
 


Sealing all the hairline cracks before smoothing the surface


Neck refret with Stew Mac 147 and binding completed
Neck tinted to match


 New  side markers added


Logo removed to add new finish on dowel



RIMWORK


Another signature under the cuppophone


My Grandfather's Nippers are the perfect tool to lever up the rim skirt without bending it.
And what better tool, than one from a man that actually worked in the Stromberg's shop?


Rim taking on new finish only on areas that require it, the rest is taped off
Resonator is starting to get somewhere, its always an uphill battle when the rosewoods are so cracked up.
Even after sealing it takes a quantity to build to where you can level the finish without damaging the veneer


All hardware machine buffed
 


Ready to assemble, now to add one step not done in the early days.


I use Fiebig's dye to blacken the top edge of the rim.
Many people use clear heads on Stromberg's because they are visually appealing inside the rim.
The blond color looks like an unfinished edge when a clear head is on.


reinstalling the Cuppo


Rim skirt reinstalled, you can see just a little of the black when its on but its a nice pattern break
Its easy to mount the 4 screws when you have a little magnet help to hold it as you go thru the tube


Shoes reattached
Every Stromberg in this era has 2 washers per shoe screw.


Archring on and ready for a head installation, I will see what Mitch wants on her.


Since he wanted a more old timey look, I chose the Renaissance like I used on my own Stromberg
It had a great tone and you can still see some of the Cuppophone thru it.
 


Getting things bolted back on for a test run after the buffing of the new finish


Resonator taking on its final clear coats
The cracking in the veneer is filled, it took some drop filling along with the regular coats and Im almost there now


Strung to pitch, neck seems to have near perfect relief and that is a relief!
Fretting up and down real well already, another good sign
I made a custom Grover bridge with narrow spacing
Now to finish up the resonator and dial it on in


Final drop fills on the cracks in the veneer, it will be full coats of clear here on to the end


SETUP


All back together and ready to go
 


You can still see some of the old cracks and soon.....new ones!
 


I think I got the colors pretty close
 

Up next to my large rim 20 fretter, they had some old times to discuss!

Now to get her back home to make some music and its been wonderful to have a Plectrum Stromberg here in the shop for the very first time and it's certain that it could be forever before another comes to light!
Thanks for watching,
Vinnie
 



MORE TO COME

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