View Full Version : My new F

Jun-04-2005, 9:19am
I finally tried an oil varnish on a mandolin. This is about the same as usual otherwise, but I thought I'd post some pics of it because of the varnish, which makes it slightly different.

Hard maple back sides and neck, red spruce top, ebony radiused fingerboard.

These are just some quick snaps, I'll try to get some quality pics of this one later.

The "full frontal":

Jun-04-2005, 9:21am
The top:

Jun-04-2005, 9:22am
The back:

Jun-04-2005, 9:23am
The headstock:

Jun-04-2005, 9:31am
I didn't know if I could get a good gloss. I couldn't quite get it to show up in the digital picture, but this is a reflection of my bench lamp. I could read the 60 wat light bulb. That's glossy enough I recon.

Jun-04-2005, 9:33am
Beautiful, very clean.

Jun-04-2005, 9:34am
Well, the letters and numbers on the bulb don't show up at all in the posted pic, but they are there.

Jun-04-2005, 10:26am
John, that looks incredible! Thanks for posting the pics. I like the inlay design too. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jun-04-2005, 11:01am
Very nice indeed! The design and color remind me of the Collings MF-5.

Jun-04-2005, 11:14am
The design and color remind me of the Collings MF-5.
The design and color of a Collings remind me of one of mine! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

I was actually a little dissapointed when Collings came out with an F and it looked so much like mine, but, it indicates a similar asthetic, I suppose.

Jun-04-2005, 11:45am
Very nice work indeed! The carving all looks impeccable (that's one of the things that impressed me with Chris' birdseye Arches I saw last weekend too). I like the modified flower pot... nice touch. Great finish!

There's some banding in the top... that's pretty typical of red and Adirondack spruce, isn't it? I ask because I never paid enough attention to instrument top woods before I started considering building. It seems like a lot of the red spruce I see is more stripy than the sitka and Englemann I see.

Paul Doubek

Jim M.
Jun-04-2005, 12:44pm
Beautiful! The flowerpot is great. Tailpiece is cool too. I don't recognize it; is it your own design?

Scotti Adams
Jun-04-2005, 1:15pm
Great Job John..really looks clean...Yes Jim the TP is one of Johns designs..

Eric F.
Jun-04-2005, 1:24pm
Wow. Very nice indeed, John.

Jun-04-2005, 1:31pm
Wow, that's beautiful!

Jun-04-2005, 3:36pm
Looks wonderful, John. Is this one going to make it to Galax this year? I'd sure like to try it.

Stanley Cox
Jun-04-2005, 3:51pm
Great looking in all aspects.My sincere thanks for all the help you have given this novice.

Jun-04-2005, 5:02pm
Very nice. All adjectives have been used. Good work though.

Jun-04-2005, 5:31pm
Really a sweet looking instrument.

Bill Snyder
Jun-04-2005, 10:17pm

Jun-04-2005, 11:45pm
Looks awesome Sunburst! How do you do a oil varnish? In general. JD

Jun-05-2005, 9:05am
Thanks folks.

Paul, red spruce tends to be a little more unpredictable than the other spruces when you rub the burst right on the wood like I did on this one. That's one of the reasons some people spray the stains or seal the wood before rubbing the stains.

Jim, as Scottie said, that's my tailpiece design.

Mark, I'll have it at Galax unless somebody buys it first. It wasn't ordered and isn't sold. I'd kind of like to keep this one for a while, but a pay day might be nice if I get an offer I can't refuse. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Yonkle, I finished this one sort of like Gibson did on the Loars. Stain, sealer, (shellac in this case, I think Gibnson used something else) varnish, (I sprayed it, but you can brush it) then shellac top coat. (I sprayed it and hand buffed it, but you can French polish.)

Jun-05-2005, 11:02am

Does it have a home?

Jun-05-2005, 11:04am
It lives here so far, Bruce.

Chris Baird
Jun-05-2005, 11:17am
That is a beauty. Wish I could play it. #

Jun-05-2005, 12:38pm
That's a looker John!
Are you going to IBMA this year?

Jun-05-2005, 1:45pm
I hope so, Hans. (thanks! and thanks Chris!)

Steve Davis
Jun-06-2005, 6:30am
That sure is pretty. I'll bet sound is great too. Makes me want to "invest" in lottery tickets.

Jun-06-2005, 6:50pm
So, now what's your take on the varnish/lacquer debate? Any noticable difference in tone on this one? Or too early to tell? And I though you had done some varnish models before -- were they spirit varnish instead of oil?

Jun-06-2005, 7:31pm
I've never done spirit varnish. I used to spray a more modern varnish that really doesn't have much similarity to this type.

I did several things slightly different in this one, slightly different arches and graduations, shaved off about 6 grams from the weight of the lightest F5 type I've done before, changed the balance point slightly, in short, there are too many differences to attribute any sound difference to the finish.

Having said that, though, this one has opened up very quickly. I thought it sounded about the same as mine usually do the first day, but I took it to the Graves Mouintain festival less than 24 hours after I strung it up, and most of the people that played it said it's my best one yet. It already has the kind of chop that you can hear 3 or 4 camp sites away, and I think the treble is plenty strong. I'm almost always plenty satisfied with the treble I get, and I always worry about loosing some of it at the expence of trying to build for more bass. I haven't decided yet, really, but I might end up agreeing that it's my best one so far.