My good buddy Steve Helme
in the U.K. donated this beautiful little vintage mandolin to me
and it arrived today.
It is maple and Spruce,
very well made but with no makers marks or labels.
I would say early 1920s.
It has a few issues,
someone plugged some holes, it has a few very small seam
separations on the wall, and a few top cracks to seal.
I plan on making it a 4
string mando which will put less pressure on the soundboard and
be easy and fun to play around on in GDAE tuning.
The Mando came from a WAY
different Climate so I want to get some things done now, before
they get a chance to realize "Hey, Im not in England any longer"
Sealed the top cracks,
took the mahogany pick guard to a "faux Rosewood" appearance.
Cut the old locating pins
for the fixed bridge to level, Added a coat of sealer for now.
All sealed up
Starting the second tint
on the body
Fade will deepen when I
get the full 3 color sunburst onto it.
Neck comes later
I think I will use
Celluloids to hide all of the old peghead repair and this sheet
is from that same era.
Have had it for years
myself. from someones Grandma's old Kitchen table I suspect.
Extreme care must be used
using any power tools on this highly flammable substance.
It is Nitrocellulose,
anyone knowing about smokeless gunpowder should be able to
This is a solid sheet of
I use water cooled saws
if it is to be of any length.
In this case, a razor
knife will do.
Will do rear, drill put
peg holes and deco notch, then the same on front side.
Back done, holes done
,drilling out the periphery so I can file it clean.
3rd color applied, clear
coats from here on put.
Shaded the peghead to
make it all work together, I like it.
I will stencil a star on,
the peghead just looks long to me
Peghead edge scraped back
to a lighter color to give an appearance of binding.
Also a tad of tint
at the bottom by the nut.
Scraping away the color
off the purfling on the edge and around the soundhole
Old frets were too low,
and plain stock, no barb, will go in with modern wire
Radiused board, right at
16 inch so im cutting it at 16
Need to add one missing
Ready to deepen slots
I'm going a few at a
time, when there is time.
Oiling board as I go
After fretwork, nut "Bart"
bridge and finish /buffing were completed I set the instrument
up on these gauges.
Cutting the new nut slots
to proper gauges
I will slowly lower them
down close to the radisu'ed board
Painted the rusty
tailpiece black and wooled the ends back to brass, new screws.
Plays nicely, clear tone
on the Bronze.
Actual bridge placement is
way up from where the pins stuck out of the top so if it
was bridged there, it was FL---at!
4 coats of Mohawk Nitro,
not "Overfinished", I want it to still be able to open back up
I reused the modern Sta
tite Friction tuners, if someone wants geared I can change for a
Now both Acoustics are
done, they can settle in as I adjust them on out.
Steve, thanks for the
project, now for the Abbott!
So until then....back to
Thanks for looking,