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Thread: Regal Octofone

  1. #1
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Regal Octofone

    Having lost my Regal Octofone in a flood, I decided to build a reproduction and have been working on the drawings, molds etc. I have concerns about the bracing pattern on the top. Prior to its demise, the top had begun to sink. It seemed to be lower in front of the bridge and pulled up behind the bridge. I could not detect a loose brace, so I don’t know if it was a result of a bad brace, a poor design, age or too heavy of a string or whatever else. I have seen photos of a couple Octofones posted and they didn’t seem to be suffering from the same syndrome as my own, so I’m not convinced that it is too bad of a design. Anyhow, so I am trying to decide on a bracing pattern. I have posted a photo of the existing pattern. The braces are 5/16” wide and 7/16” at their highest point. The furthest aft brace is much wider but only 1/8” tall. Can anyone make any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    I have one and they do seem to be built very marginally. I see no top distortion, but mine could benefit from a neck set. You seem to still have yours, you are welcome to borrow mine if you need access to one
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  3. #3
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Thanks for the offer Darryl. It is very generous but I think I have everything I need to build an adequate reproduction. I am going to cleanup my drawing and maybe I'll contact you about some photos of your Regal so that I can include them on the drawings. I was going to make them available for free in pdf format if I can get them scanned in.

    Here is mine. It was completely together until I picked it up and then it fell apart.
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  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    The Octofone was extremely lightly constructed, and IMHO pretty fragile. Wouldn't hurt to "overbuild" a bit beyond what Regal did.
    Allen Hopkins
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  5. #5
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Interesting neck joint. I see a round dowel and maybe a screw from the inside. I plan to reset the neck, redo the fingerboard and narrow the neck on mine. I was figuring it had a straight mortise joint. I agree with Allen. It would not hurt to overbuild a tad, and I would at least reinforce the neck with carbon
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  6. #6
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Here is a close up of the neck joint. The dowel is 3/4" in diameter. The screw that you see is someones attempt at a repair and was screwed in at an angle from through the heel. Incidentally, the screw is a really old slot head style screw so it wouldn't surprise me if the repair is almost as old as the instrument. Based on how easily and cleanly the glued joints separated I think it is safe to say that it was assembled using hide glue. I did have a couple braces come loose then when the instrument dried out and they reattached themselves from the residual left on the brace.

    Also, everything is birch including the neck and neck block. The grain runs perpendicular to the center line. The neck block is basically a flatsawn board on its edge and the block itself is finished. They did not bend and glue a side. The finished portion that you see in the photo is end grain.
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  7. #7
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    The one you have looks like it could be put back together to me. You might want to reinforce the top, of course, but otherwise, I think it'd work.
    Bill

  8. #8
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Bill,
    In my opinion, its shot. Another cafe member asked if he could have it to try and put it back together, so it will be going to him once I'm done with the drawings and such. If it is salvageable, then its well beyond my capabilities and it definitely isn't worth the cost of doing so. If anything it has served it purposes to be able to examine it inside out without having to destroy a good instrument in the process.

  9. #9
    Registered User grandcanyonminstrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    1/4 pound of hide glue and the oiginal will be back in the game!

    j.
    www.condino.com

  10. #10
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    I'm so glad everyone is more optimistic than I am about its future. This instrument was submerged for three days then sat in my yard and got rained on for another week and a half then made its way to my a warehouse where it sat for over a year, so maybe its destined to be played.

  11. #11
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Maybe she's a fighter!
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

    "THEY'RE HERE!!! THEY'RE HERE!!! the Albino Brain Chiggers!" - Harry from 3rd Rock

  12. #12
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    The one you have looks like it could be put back together to me. You might want to reinforce the top, of course, but otherwise, I think it'd work.
    Bill
    I second that. Was just thinking the same thing when i seen the pics.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Those things were cheaply made, I suggest you use a better neck joint, and X brace the top.

    The few I have seen had birch bodies, like so many catalog instruments. You would do better to use spruce for the sound board.

  14. #14
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Thanks for the input everyone. I had thought about X bracing it as well as putting a 15' radius on the back. After looking through some other threads and resources, I am thinking that the bracing should cross about and inch in front of the bridge and at an angle that the bridge feet intersect the bracing. I am actually building two, since I am going to the trouble, and I thought about doing a pin bridge on the second one. They both will have spruce tops. One will have mahogany back, sides and neck and the other will have a mahogany neck and a tinel back and sides.

    Here are some additional photos of the "basket case". Maybe I should have sent this around as a restoration project like the A2.

    Andrew
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  15. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    My Octofone just went into the shop to get a serious neck warp corrected, and what I anticipate is that the fretboard will be pulled, the neck planed flat, a CF truss rod installed, and the fretboard reattached.

    The instrument cost me less than $200, but first it needed a pretty bad headstock repair redone, then started showing neck warpage. I'll have well over $500 into it, I expect, after the next repair, and I can only hope that's all it'll need. So my advice remains; don't replicate the Regal original, but overbuild the top bracing and neck block, use a real neck joint (not a dowel stuck into a hole), put a truss rod in the neck, and generally "beef up" the soundbox.

    The Octofone, from what I hear, retailed for $15 new 75+ years ago. Part of the charm of the originals is their super-light birch construction, which gives them a wonderful "ring" when played. But in my experience they are really fragile. Building what amounts to a small-bodied octave mandolin is a worthy project, and the Octofone shape is a great template, but Regal was a low-end manufacturer, largely, and the 'fones weren't the top of their line. I'd make some construction improvements based on a few decades' experience.
    Allen Hopkins
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  16. #16
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Are there any audios of what this would sound like?

  17. #17
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    Are there any audios of what this would sound like?
    Yes, go to this thread http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=54394

    Allen, I did plan on a bit sturdier construction and a modern style neck with trussrod.

  18. #18
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Quote Originally Posted by thistle3585 View Post
    Allen, I did plan on a bit sturdier construction and a modern style neck with trussrod.
    Yeah, sounds good. I said I was getting a CF "truss rod" in mine, when what I meant was a "reinforcing bar." It won't be adjustable. A friend of Dave Stutzman's who's worked for Kaman/Ovation in the past supposedly will be doing the work -- if I can afford it. But I figure, what the hell, I've already spent almost as much as the purchase price of the Octofone on repairs, I might as well go the whole way. It'll be a pretty expensive "bargain" when I get done having it put back into shape.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  19. #19
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    [QUOTE=Michael Lewis;723151]Those things were cheaply made, I suggest you use a better neck joint, and X brace the top.

    I second that, but also like the idea of building a modern version. It could be a very satisfying build from the ground up. I really like some of the older designs and feel they have a place in the current times.
    Charley

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  20. #20
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    I have read that the Octophone name came from eight different tunings. What tuning do you plan to use?
    Dave Schneider

  21. #21
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    I'd like to tune it GDAE. I thought about changing the scale, which is 20 7/8", but decided against it. I am going to start bending sides this week. The original is being boxed up and shipped today to its new owner. Hopefully, he'll chime in here and document the restoration.

  22. #22
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    I built a few instruments about 15 years ago that where similar to the Octophone (although I didn't know it at the time) with a 19.5 scale and tuned CGDA like a mandola. If you tune GDAE is that Mandolin or octave mandolin?
    Dave Schneider

  23. #23
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Would someone that has an Octofone be willing to take a picture straight from the top and from the front or back of the bridge? My bridge came up missing so I'd like to get an idea as to where to start the compensation.

    Andrew

  24. #24
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Quote Originally Posted by thistle3585 View Post
    Would someone that has an Octofone be willing to take a picture straight from the top and from the front or back of the bridge? My bridge came up missing so I'd like to get an idea as to where to start the compensation.

    Andrew

    I will. I am not positive it is original, but I believe it to be
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  25. #25
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Regal Octofone

    Here is the bridge that came on mine. Uncompensated, 3-1/2" long, 3/8" thick and 1/2" tall
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    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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