View Full Version : From wood, to Ashes and back!

Jun-01-2009, 10:40pm
Hi folks: Yonkle here. As many of you know 10 months ago a wildfire destroyed 20 homes on my block, 10 of which were 100% totaled, (as mine was). I also lost my shop, all tools ect. The fire was so hot I couldn't even find the electric motors from bandsaws, grinders, drillpress ect. nothing, like it turned to vapor, just black wood and ash. No more yard, or trees, or bushes, or fence, 100% gone!
Anyway, it's been a interesting 10 months for lack of a better word to use, you actully keep quite buzy, with paperwork, builders, lawyers, then shopping, re-furnishing ect. Anyway, we got back in our new house around Feb. and had alot of work to do. They finished the shop around March, then I had to re-tool it. Thats not as easy as it sounds, any builder can tell you he has alot of tools he made himself, little jigs and other unknown devise's anything we can figure out to get whatever task done, quicker and better, and one tends to have alot of those little homemade contraptions after awhile. When I finnally thought I had everything I needed and got wood and parts and was ready to start anew, you really don't know which tools or jigs you missed until you need them, so needless to say, I had alot of intermittant stops to re-order odds and ends.
Then springtime hit and I once had 20 years of growth in my yard and now it is just lawn, so it looked awfully naked, so I had to stop building a lot and start planting. Anyway, it took me awhile and I still need more tools, but have enough to get the job done, now I just need to fine tune the shop.
I finally got my first mandolin finished out of my new shop about 1 week ago. It's a F5 as you can see,it is my 12th mandolin now and it came out real well, I am very happy with the results. Has alot of volume and great low end punch for being only played about 2 hours now. The upper end is very clear and bell like, and the set action feels smooth and easy. I like it!
Anyway here are a few photos of it.
Lastly, once again I want to give a very big THANK YOU to all the people on the Mandolin Cafe who were very supportive and helpful to me after the fire. I got money, case's, tools, patterns, books, a nice Stanley Plane and other stuff from people I have never met. I can't tell you how much that means to me, lots of good people on this site. you helped make the loss a little bit more easy to take and I thank you all. Sincerely John (yonkle)

Ivan Kelsall
Jun-01-2009, 11:25pm
Hi - It's truly great to see that you're back in business after such a tragedy as the loss of not just your home,but your actual way of earning your living. We saw the photos.of your new home a while ago - it was the solid concrete one wasn't it ?.:grin: I personally wish you well,& your '1st off' Mandolin from your new shop,looks superb - good luck,
Ivan ;)

Bill Snyder
Jun-01-2009, 11:32pm
Looks like you didn't forget how to build 'em. Glad you are up and running again John. Miss not having you around the Cafe. Hope you can get back to posting a bit again.
Mandolin looks good. Good luck with the venture.

Jun-02-2009, 12:39am
Nice to see you back! That looks like a sweet mandolin John!

Jun-02-2009, 12:53am
I love a double flowerpot on a '5;
Good to see you back in the saddle John...

Skip Kelley
Jun-02-2009, 6:38am
John, great to see you back at work on your mandolins! That mandolin looks awesome!

Mark Walker
Jun-02-2009, 7:26am
John - dittos to what everyone else is saying. Great that you're back 'up and running' - even if it's not all mandolin-related. I have a cousin (a great guitar and mandolin player) who had a total loss in a house fire a number of years ago and I watched him and his wife go through the very same thing you're going through. It takes a LOT to rebuild and recover from the losses - many of which are/were irreplaceable!

Good luck and Godspeed with all your upcoming endeavors! :)

Tracy Tucker
Jun-03-2009, 6:00am
Good to hear from you again! Thanks for keeping us updated. :) Beautiful mandolin!

Steve Davis
Jun-03-2009, 6:15am
Welcome back John. Thanks for the update. That's another fine looking instrument. The yard will look better next year.

Scotti Adams
Jun-03-2009, 6:19am
Welcome back..now get back to the shop and start building:grin:

Jun-03-2009, 7:21am
So glad to have you fully back at it, John. And so well too!


Mark Seale
Jun-03-2009, 9:15am
That's a pretty fantastic comeback instrument John. I particularly like your choices for the headstock inlay, your name looks great and I really like that long flower pot.

Jun-03-2009, 10:31am
I am new so I didn t know about your misfortune, but reading all that , my goodness, that fire was devastating. you lost everything in it. I can t imagine how that must have been for you and others that lost their house and things in the fire
it is wonderfull having read your story , to see what a beautifull mandolin you built, and that headstock is breathtaking. I really like it!
I wish you all the happiness you deserve, and may lots and lots of wonderfull mandolins come from your shop in the future!!

Chris Keth
Jun-03-2009, 10:56am
I'm new, too and never heard about the fire when it happened. I'm pleased to hear that you and your family (though busy) are getting back settled again and your work looks great as ever. It's really beautiful, classy, and clean!

Will Kimble
Jun-03-2009, 5:35pm
Hi John,

Welcome back and thanks for the update. I have been having a rough day, and this helped me put some things in perspective. :) Keep up the good work, the mandolin looks great!

Best wishes,
Will Kimble

Jake Wildwood
Jun-03-2009, 9:01pm
Congrats on the recovery, and nice work!