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Thread: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

  1. #1
    Registered User oldwave maker's Avatar
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    Default Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    While attending the St. Louis Tionol last weekend I headed over to Joe Mendels shop to take a few pics. He had some mighty fine octave mandolins at the Zouk workshop, I noticed he has ads for a couple on the cafe classifieds. Joe is slowly but surely interviewing all this planets mandolin family luthiers for Mel Bays mandosessions, someone with requisite skills should interview him!
    A shot of the maestro surrounded by wood stash, holding some select Old Standard (the OS farwood pile is just an hour west) red spruce and grenadillo from Hibdon hardwood in St. Louis:
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    Last edited by oldwave maker; Apr-09-2009 at 12:04am. Reason: doh! (sp.)

  2. #2
    Registered User oldwave maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Holding some rims ready for top and back. Maybe Joe will share the secret of the special liquid he applies to the sides before bending to aid in the process?
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  3. #3
    Registered User oldwave maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Joe's personal octave on the bench surrounded by plexiglass octave templates and other fun repair work:
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  4. #4
    Registered User oldwave maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    His super simple but effective kerfed lining slotting jig. Joe puts the cut side against the rim for extra stiffening:
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  5. #5
    Hester Mandolins Gail Hester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Wow Bill, you really get around. Thanks for the great pics of Joe's work. I really enjoy the occasional phone conversation with Joe to talk about building and whatever else comes up. Although I've never met him in person I consider him a good friend. He spends a lot of time making other builders look good in print so it's great to see his work highlighted here.

    Just one thing, take me with you the next time you go visiting.
    Gail Hester

  6. #6
    Registered User Joe Mendel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Bill, it was really nice to meet you and hang out, and have you stop by the shop. I was hoping you'd use photo-shop to make me more handsome and younger looking, I guess everything has limits though. Thanks for the compliments on my octave mandolins.
    Gail, I feel the same about you, I have a great time when we talk and consider you a good friend, also. I'm very fortunate to be able to interview you guys, I've gotten to talk to and know so many great people that I would not otherwise have met. I have learned a lot of stuff that would have taken me years to figure out on my own. I promise not to tell anything that you would have to kill me for.
    Bill does seem to get around a lot. I wonder if he is spending his fortune travelling instead of building a fancy estate, like John Hamlett.
    By the way, the Roger Landes OM/Bouzouki workshop was great, if you have an interest in Irish music or OM/Bouzouki I highly recommend Roger for the job.

  7. #7
    Registered User Steevarino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    So...? I'm bending a fair amount of sides these days. That "secret of the special liquid for bending sides" has me intrigued.

    Also, Bill, is there really a "Gumby" model? If so, pictures...?

    Great looking shop, Joe!!!

  8. #8
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Looking good, Joe! If only I lived so close to Old Standard. Of course, having to fight Bill off the dumpster might not be worth the effort.

  9. #9
    Registered User oldwave maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    So Joe- what was the name of that bending sauce- would youreally have to kill all of us after you tell us, or just Steve? I just happened to be in St Louis to do plumbing, electrical and sheetrock odd-jobs for maw at the ol homeplace, thought I'd multitask with Tionol......
    Gail-lets meet a week from tomorrow in Durango Co. for a tour of Rob Brophy's Elkhorn mandolin shop before the Meltdown!
    Steve- the gumby was a 32" scale reneck of a 25" supro pocket bass, making it a real blues machine, since the avatar shot I found a supro plastic peghead logo for it on ebay, see pic. Did a similar longer reneck of a $79 1961 jc penney catalog Kay truetone bass with a Curtis Novak pickup rewind, which is my go to bass, just like the '64 avatar shot
    Andrew- that Rigel dumpster was really crowded when all 3 of us jumped in, but old standard has the 40' construction model, room for everybody!
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  10. #10
    Registered User Joe Mendel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visit to Joe Mendels shop

    Killing is such an ugly thing, and I'm not planning to do the "The Red Octave Mandolin" movie any time soon, you are all safe. The stuff is called Super-Soft 2: http://www.veneersupplies.com/advanc....x=6&image.y=9
    Andrew at Hibdon Hardwood told me about it, and gave me a bunch of links (that I no longer remember) to site where it was being discussed by instruments builders, I think this was one of them: http://www.luthiersforum.com/ The comments were favorable enough that we decided to split a gallon to try it out. I don't know if Andrew has used it yet, but I've had good luck with it. It works as advertised, as far as I can see. When used on cocobolo it looks like a slaughter house, everything that touches it turns red, the more brown woods leech some color, but not like the cocobolo.
    It is nice to live so close to both Hibdon and Old Standard, but for some one suffering from WAS, it's like a gambling addict living in a hotel connected to a casino. Bill only comes through once in a while so the dumpster isn't usually too crowded.

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