Glance Around the Workshop

What's that look like? Who knows?! No, it's a brace regluing (by the aid of a wedge of wood) under the top of a Gibson-made Oriole mandolin... poked up into place by something that looks rather like this:

Crude looking, but effective. If I can wedge it in with enough pressure (a feat accomplished with fingers, tongs, and patience) it'll work like a clamp under a loose brace that I've cleaned up and applied glue to. As I'm writing this the brace is back in place, dried up, and ready to go.

Now for the fun part... here I'm pulling the old frets out of the ebony fretboard.

And here I've got them all out and have widened the slots slightly to fit newer-style fret tangs in. I've also planed the top and smoothed it up, but final polishing will be done after...

...I've refinished this top. This is a shot of the refinishing process halfway through. As I write this I've applied thin coats of stripper twice again and have begun final sanding for smoothness (it's looking quite a lot fresher than in this photo right now).

Here's a devil of a tiple: fantastic woods (tight grain spruce top, flamed mahogany back, sides, and neck, with tortoise binding and nice purfling) but horrible mistakes have been done to it! For one, someone "installed" a bridge in completely the wrong place... and used bolts on it! AAAGH! For another, it's been entirely refinished in thick, pasty poly (including the fretboard!). I'm going to be refinishing the top and stripping the neck, then roughing up the rest of the finish and polishing it out to look a heck of a lot nicer.

Here's the bridge off... what a mess.

Stripped and sanded. This will become a black-top instrument when all's done, which I think will actually look quite nice, despite the obvious reasons...

Stripped fretboard, no longer consumed by 1/2 mm thick varnish.

Here's a Vega bowlback mandolin fretboard I've just reglued back into position. I've refretted it to the 12th fret and it's already looking a lot happier.

And even happier with new binding...!

That's complete, now! (save for a tiny snip on the treble side end)


Josh said…
Thanks for letting us see the work-in-progress; it's always interesting (and besides, another opportunity to look at real cool instruments inside and out.)
Josh: I'd show you guys more but I'm incredibly lazy about taking in-progress photos. I guess it's just one more thing to do while I'm working, so I leave it out far too often. :)