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Thread: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

  1. #26

    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Did you notice if the mandolin can be stored with a tonegard on? I see in the picture, they have it in a storage compartment.

  2. #27
    Okay, I'm with you fellas tburcham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Cafe Friends,

    I have one of the new rectangular figerglass cases from Northfield and I will be posting a full review later this week.
    Tim Burcham
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  4. #28
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    hey Scott... have you had a chance to play any of the new "Artists Series" instruments?
    I'm not Scott (obviously) but I did get to play an early Artist series demo named "Ribs" back in April last year. If I could have, I would have bought it on the spot. I hadn't played a better sounding mandolin. I'm no virtuoso but I do know good tone. This one was loud but not at the expense of tone. It had a big sound and the notes really popped, if that makes sense. As Mike Marshall said, it has bone structure; in that the E and A strings have a body to them and not thin sounding at all. I love my BigMon but this blew mine away. I'm a huge Northfield fan now. I wish I had endless cash to buy one or two more. The build quality is amazing.
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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Thanks McIrish... you're now the 2nd person to confirm the quality of the new Artist models. My hope is that Northfield may have a booth at Wintergrass or at least a rep with a model or two to sample.

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Tim,

    How about that review?

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Café Friends,

    First, let me apologize for the tardiness in posting my review of the new Northfield Airloom (N-Air) mandolin case. I was fortunate to be one of the first ”mandolin mortals” to receive one of these new cases. The others are being tortured/tested by the numerous Northfield artists…who live their lives with their mandolins in a perpetual state of travel (by car and/or plane). I did speak to Derek Smith of Northfield Mandolins prior to upgrading from the regular Northfield rectangular plywood case (which has not received many positive reviews here on the Café) to the N-Air. Derek told me the Northfield team has invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in creating a deluxe case that meets the demands of traveling professional musicians at a favorable price point. The N-Air was specifically designed to fit in the overhead compartments of most commercial aircraft.

    As a point of reference, I presently use a Hiscox Pro-II (crème exterior and blue interior). I love this case, but it is rather bulky and weights around 8.4 lbs (on my scale), while the manufacturer states the weight is 7.78 lbs. I’m pretty sure I don’t have ½ lbs of case stickers on there (-; In addition to the Hiscox, I own a rectangular Ameritage (beast of a case, but heavy), a Bobelock Model 1029 Arrow in fiberglass, a Travelite, and a Canadian built TKL. I do not own nor have I ever owned a Calton. My amateur musician status has never compelled me to purchase the “vault-like” build of a Calton. So, I can’t comment on how this case compares specifically to a Calton, although I’m certain my Café friends will do so in the near future.

    Here we go.

    Looks/Exterior: You can look at my photos at the link provided below. I think it is a great looking case. I prefer the pebbled finish that Calton offers (I think it is an added charge option), but the matt black finish on the N-Air is very nice. The contours of the case flow nicely in any direction. Nothing ostentatious here, just a clean, agile look. The hardware is a matt silver and has a quality appearance. There are four latches (each with a lock); two along the front and one at each end. These are the same style latches used on my Hiscox and Presto. I personally prefer the simplicity and ruggedness of draw-bolt latches (like Calton uses), but I see no reason the latches on the N-Air should prove unreliable over years of use. The feel of the latches is very good and they actuate better than my Hiscox. There are metal loops for attaching a strap on the front of the case in the same matt silver finish. There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the N-Air and four rubber feet on the edge. There is also a rubber foot just to the right of the handle on the front of the case that serves as handle to lift the top up when the four latches are released. You need this little rubber handle to open the lid, as the top and bottom of the N-Air are mated with a very tight weather seal. I’m not going to call the N-Air waterproof, but I’m certain it will be extremely water resistant. When you review the photos of the hinges, you will note that the N-Air uses a neat method to “hold” the lid in a secure open position (without troublesome chains or fabric stays inside the case). You will see square rectangular rings in the rear hinges…when you open the case the lid stops (or is limited from over-rotation) by these metal rings (clever). The handle is a sturdy affair and has a detent to hold it securely in either the up or down position to reduce the overall width during storage in overhead bins of aircraft. I would have preferred a heavy duty leather strap…but I’m nitpicking.

    Interior: The interior is finished in a very plush green velour with a very nice high nap. Even the interior sides of the hinges are covered. It secures the mandolin beautifully, as there is about 5-inches of neck support and no less than 1-inch of padding at the nearest point to the sides of the case. As you can see in the photos, the headstock third of the case features two doors that open in opposite directions (one to bow and one to stern) to reveal a large storage area. I have shown you pictures of a Toneguard in this area…it fits, but the two doors will not close completely with the Toneguard in place. However, when you place the mandolin in, the doors do shut and don’t appear to be in a bind that would result in any damage to the lids (or their hinges). I don’t know why anyone would put the Toneguard in there, as the case easily accepts even my Big Mon F-5 with the Tone guard in place. The chrome-plated hinges for the storage doors are of good quality and each hinge is secured with 4 Phillips head screws. With my Gibson F-9 in place there is at least 2-inches of open space from the tip of the headstock to the edge of the case…and it is a good 6-inches from the headstock ears to the sides, e.g., it would be nearly impossible to break an ear off of a headstock in this case. Note I said nearly impossible, because we all know there are times when the improbable occurs. The interior of the lid features padding in the 5-inch area that holds the neck so secure and a very nice pad at the tailstock. (I’ll edit this post to add exterior dimensions tomorrow).

    Weight: The N-Air weights about 9.8 lbs (using the scale that measured my Hiscox at 8.4 lbs). Using the same scale, my Bobelock 1029 weighed 6.4 lbs. In a Café thread I saw a weight listed of 8.5 lbs for a modern Calton.
    Rigidity: We all know the “Holy Grail” of mandolin case bravado is based on one’s ability to stand on the case without damage or significant deflection of the top of the case. In this regard, the N-Air is probably inferior to a Calton and my Hiscox. When I press on the top of the N-Air, there is noticeable deflection. Is this something that concerns me…no, but many of you will recall that I posted a rather lengthy article a few years ago about why the Travelite case provides such outstanding protection for every eventuality except “crushing.” The more the exterior of the case deforms upon impact the less acceleration (rate of velocity change) the instrument inside will experience…it’s simply physics. To protect an instrument, you want the case to reduce the acceleration of the instrument while providing some crush protection. I believe the N-Air does this admirably. If I were going to place one of my mandolins in the Hiscox or the N-Air and drive over said case with a car, I would take my chances with the Hiscox. I’m pretty sure a Calton would provide similar or superior crush protection to my Hiscox.

    Here are photos of my case:
    <EDIT by site owner. Your page is password protected so removing this link. No sense to send someone to a Forbidden page.>

    Summary: By all accounts the new Airloom is a significant upgrade from the standard rectangular case Northfield has been using since their inception. Based on this engineer’s review, it should provide years, if not decades, of reliable service for your “Precious.!”

    Tim Burcham
    Last edited by Scott Tichenor; Feb-04-2016 at 11:50am. Reason: removing bad link
    Tim Burcham
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  11. #32
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    I can't get the link to pull up. There is an error. It could be my phone not sure.

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    BTW, I roomed across the hall from Adrian Bagale and Derek Smith at the Swanannoa Gathering last year and I was able to play nearly all of the Artist series they had available at that time. Really excellent mandolins! That being said, I am incredibly happy with the Big Mon I purchased from The Mandolin Store. It has it all, power, playability, and delicious tone!

    Alas, the edit button has disappeared on the Review article for the Airloom, so I'll post the exterior dimensions of the Airloom here:

    Length (including latches) = 31 inches
    Length (w/o latches) = 30-1/8 inches
    Width (includes rubber feet and handle (folded) = 14 inches
    Width of Case Body only = 12-3/4 inches
    Depth (with rubber feet) = 4-3/4 inches
    Depth (case only) = 4-1/2 inches
    Last edited by tburcham; Feb-04-2016 at 8:03am.
    Tim Burcham
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Great review, Tim.

    I can't get the google album link to work either.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Good review... I think there are burlap sacks that are an upgrade from the standard Northfield case.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Tim, would you please post the dimensions of the accessory compartment?

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by tnranger View Post
    Tim, would you please post the dimensions of the accessory compartment?
    8-3/4 inches along the length of the case
    11-1/2 inches wide
    1-1/2 inches maximum height inside the storage compartment
    Tim Burcham
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  19. #38
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Cafe Friends,

    Try this link for the photo album of the Airloom case:

    https://goo.gl/photos/MrDEjMFhbrRpLtB28

    To the site Manager: Scott, I changed settings on the photo album to allow anyone to view and add photos.
    Tim Burcham
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  21. #39

    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Good gallery of photos! This is a very attractive case.

  22. #40
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Many thanks Tim. It's a very nice looking case indeed. What's the matt black finish ?. Is it a sprayed on coating over the F/glass ?.
    It looks great, but one accidental scratch(es) are really going to show on such a surface. A with most rect.cases,inc.my own TKL 'American Vintage',there's a lot of spare room inside which increases the weight without adding anything else,but i think that rect.cases look very professional - i just couldn't see Bill Monroe travelling around with a Travelite case (for instance) for the life of me !. Are these going to be available for anybody,or just Northfield mandolin owners ?. A decent Ballistic Nylon case cover (Travelite covering), is what i'd be looking for if i had a case such as that. Maybe Northfield could add one of those to their product list ???,
    Ivan
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  23. #41
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Wow, that is a nice looking case. To my eye, this is the best looking rectangular case yet (YMMV). The photos with the Hiscox really put it in perspective for me, and to my mind, your review made the argument that there is a place for both cases quite well. Thanks for all the work you put into this review, it is very helpful.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Awesome photos, Tim.

    I especially appreciate the Hiscox comparison shots.

  25. #43

    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Thanks Tim, for taking the time to do the in-depth revue and posting the great photos.

    (And thanks to Scott T. for editing out the initial link.
    In an attempt to share one photo (on another site), I inadvertently linked access to all the photos on my photo-sharing site. I wish the moderators of that site had been as vigilant!)

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    My order is in.

  27. #45
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Kudos to Northfield. And thanks for the in depth review. Their standard case was a weak spot from the owners I talked to. It's hard to make a rectangular case as strong as a form fitting case because of the big flat top. But there's no denying the esthetic, so it seems like Northfield has been able to find the middle ground estheticaly, structurally, and financially. This is no easy task. If I was going to improve the design it seems like a small curve to the lid lengthwise to give more rigidity would be the only thing.

  28. #46

    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Hey Tim, could you be a little more specific?
    Mickey

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Great pic's and great comparison! Gotta have one! Thanks😀👍👍

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Nice Review and pics Tim. The pics in particular really illustrate how big the storage compartment is and how the lids open. Quite clever.

  31. #49
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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    The TKL rectangular cases have an arched top for extra rigidity. Also,their 'American Vinatge' series (mine) ,has extra laminates on the top for even more strength & has metal corner reinforcings under the outer covering. All that adds to the weight of course,but it's one tough case !,
    Ivan
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Northfield Mandolins "Deluxe Airloom" fiberglass Cases

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey King View Post
    Hey Tim, could you be a little more specific?
    Mickey,

    I'm glad to see some of my West Tennessee picking buddies still follow my posts. I hope you and family are well! Please tell everyone at the Jackson Plectral Society "Hello" for me!

    Tim
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