1930s Kay Kraft 2-Point Archtop Mandolin

A customer sent in this Kay Kraft mandolin for repair. I've worked-on a number of them and there are several different bracing styles and body materials used even on near-identical instruments. This one has ladder-bracing and an all-ply body. Combined with the light build and 14" scale length, this mando has a lot of "get-up-and-go" in the zippy, mids-forward department.

It also looks great, no? I love the almost "violin-like" ruddy-brown finish Kay used on these guys back then.

Work was a little more than expected, but not much more. Post-repairs it plays fast and on-the-dot, though I've chosen to string it with "bowlback"-style gauges (the GHS A240 set -- 32w-9 rather than 34w-10 lights) because I don't honestly trust the rigidity of Kay necks from this period. It sounds good with them so going a little lighter on the gauges was no loss, too.

Repairs included: a neck reset (bolted-style, the dovetails on these are garbage), fretboard reglue, fret level/dress, side dots install, bridge adjustments, setup.

Top wood: ply spruce

Back & sides wood: ply figured mahogany

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: ebonized maple w/celluloid top cap

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 32w-9 (GHS A240 set)

Neck shape: medium C/V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low

Scale length: 14"

Nut width: 1 1/16"

Body width: 9 3/4"

Body depth: 2" + arching

Weight: 1 lb 9 oz

Condition notes: it's all-original throughout, though the pickguard is missing. I've jacked-up the bridge with some foot-shims that I've colored black. The tuners are not the best but they work fine and are original Waverlies. There's usewear/playwear here and there throughout the body and the body and neck both have some nice weatherchecking all over in the finish that give a nice look.