View Full Version : Hilburn #46

Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:14am
Here's an A that's going to be living in New York City.
My usual M.O., but one thing that's new is I started using Photoshop Elements color correction tools and these photo's look much more natural than what I've been doing before. It makes my chair look kind of blue but the mandolin looks much more like it does in person.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:16am
Here's the top in detail.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:18am
And the back.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:24am
Now for something completely different.
This is going to Jamie Emerick and she is an artist. I asked her if she wanted to do a design for the inlay and this is what she sent.
I had to do a little bit of modification to make it fit but it's still very close to her original drawing. The flowers are mountain bluebells.
We made a deal and she said I can use this in the future.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:26am
Here's the peghead from another angle.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:28am
Here's a detail shot.


Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 9:37am
The top is Colorado englemann from Don Musser. Here's a detail of the silk.

Just by chance my next client was spending the night with us while I was trying to get the strings on so I could take it to the Mid-Winter bluegrass festival this past weekend.
I got up early Sat. and got the strings on. I think it's the first time I've had someone over to hear one for the first time. I knew right away it was a nice one.
I then started making some blueberry pancakes but George just couldn't put the mandolin down and his got cold. Pretty good way to seal a deal.


Jim Roberts
Feb-18-2008, 9:47am
Strikingly beautiful mandolin, Jim. And I'll attest to your and Pat's Saturday morning blueberry pancakes!

Feb-18-2008, 9:54am
Man-o-Mandolin that is nice!

"There's a bluebird singin..."

Rick Jones
Feb-18-2008, 10:05am
Beautiful work. Inlay is absolutely stunning.

Mark Walker
Feb-18-2008, 10:07am
Jim - Beautiful mandolin. I love the detail and the inlays on the headstock especially! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 10:13am
Just for comparison here's one of the top that's the raw shot before color correction. I use a reddish brown transition color but my camera defines that as bright red and it looks like a Stratocaster sunburst. However the corrected photo's seem to make the sunburst look darker than it is.
My camera has served me well but it's getting old. George gave me CAS with his tiny camera with a 4 gig card. My card is 32 meg. He was taking movies with it. He was even able to get some shots of a Loar we encountered over the weekend. His shutter was going the whole time he was here.

Rick Jones
Feb-18-2008, 10:14am
OK - I gotta ask this, and it's as good a time as any, since this mandolin provides an exquisite example. How exactly does one cut channels for that sort of vine inlay? I am pretty sure it's not done with a hand-held Dremel in a router base, like I've been using for my inlays. I just did a quick search of the archives and came up empty. Thanks in advance for any guidance!

Skip Kelley
Feb-18-2008, 10:29am
Jim, Very nice! The inlay is beautiful! Excellent work! Just plain perfect!!

Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 10:36am
I do it freehand with a Dremel and 1/32" carbide bit. Superglue in the wire and fill any imperfections with black epoxy. I'd hate to try it on a lighter wood.
One of the hardest parts is getting the piece of wire flat so it will fit the slot. I get it close, fill the groove with CA, lay in the wire, cover it with wax paper and clamp it with a piece of plexiglass.
When I first saw this done by Nugget in the early 80's I'm pretty sure he was doing it with hand tools.

Rick Jones
Feb-18-2008, 10:56am
Jim - thanks for your quick response. Amazing. I think I'd have to practice that on a lot of scrap before I got into a real headstock. I love hand work, but jeez, that seems like a great excuse for laser work! I hope to cross paths with Nugget in the next few weeks, and will definitely bounce the same question off of him.

Feb-18-2008, 11:00am
I started using Photoshop Elements color correction tools and these photo's look much more natural than what I've been doing before. It makes my chair look kind of blue but the mandolin looks much more like it does in person.
Very nice Jim!

A tip for you, when I was trying hard to get color-calibration right, I'd use a little calibration strip in the photo, then re-photograph without it. Photoshop's "auto levels" will correct very well to a calibration bar, and you can then duplicate those corrections on your shot without the colorbar in it.

Kevin K
Feb-18-2008, 11:14am
Wow, great work, that headstock is nice

Feb-18-2008, 11:56am
Just out of curiosity, what kind of wire is it ?
Looks great.

John Ritchhart
Feb-18-2008, 12:04pm
Gob smacked. As they say over the pond.

Will Kimble
Feb-18-2008, 3:12pm
Beautiful work, Jim. #Just wanted to let you know that I ALWAYS look at the pictures of your most recent work, thanks for sharing the pictures with us. #Hope to see you around soon!

Will Kimble

Feb-18-2008, 4:46pm
Is there a listing on mandolincafe of builders and their pricing, availability, scheduling, etc? I am looking to move to a custom mando and I have no idea how to shop to see what I want and to pick a builder short of browsing these blogs. I have a local luthier who does excellent work but his mando's tend to be built for "beafier" heavy playing. I tend to see myself as a lighter playing style and looking for something clean and fast.

This A model is absolutely beautiful, but what would something like this cost me, ballpark? I've seen prices from $1000 to $14,000. I would be looking for something on the lower half of this range.

Steve Davis
Feb-18-2008, 4:49pm
Another beautiful instrument Jim. Thanks for sharing it.

Jim Hilburn
Feb-18-2008, 5:42pm
A.C., for me, at least, right now beside the price it would cost you a couple of years of waiting. The list kind of grew a bit on me lately.

Feb-18-2008, 9:51pm
You can find the cafe builder directory by clicking on "Builders" under the cafe logo at the top of the page. Some builders have prices listed on their web pages but most aren't very frequently updated. Your best bet is to browse around this forum and looks at pictures and read reviews and listen to sound clips and contact a builder whose work calls to you.