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Thread: Alrite Total Makeover

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Tukanu,

    When you reattach the fingerboard here is a detail of the wedge shaped shim between the top and the underside of the fingerboard.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let me know if you need more photos or measurements.

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

  2. #27

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Thanks Mark, I was just thinking about that. I didn't notice if mine had one or not before I removed the board. Is that a picture of your Alrite? The wood looks like it is mahogany and matches the neck.

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Yes, the wedge looks like a piece of the mahogany neck material. Here are a couple more photos.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let me know if you need any measurements such as the neck angle or wedge dimensions.

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

  4. #29

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Thanks for the pics Mark. The new fingerboard arrived in the morning and by the end of the day I had the dots in, frets trimmed and neck glued down. Also, there is a 1/4" carbon fiber rod embedded in the neck.

    I found a piece of ebony for the wedge and doubled face taped it to a block, then shaped it with a belt sander.

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  5. #30

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    After a back has been removed, it is difficult to get a good fit when reattaching the back. Mine was no exception. I had planned all along to use an edgebinding. I used some light colored cherry to match the back as best I could. These two pictures show the ledge for the binding and the binding installed. Next is a whole lot of sanding to prep for the finish.

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  6. #31

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    All sanded out with the mahogany neck grain filled. The edgebinding around the bottom will disappear once the red-mahogany lacquer is applied. I don't have a spray both, so this is going to be a long process spraying in the garage when as the Colorado weather permits.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #32
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    This is way too late to help Tukanu, but it may help others.

    A good way to remove a fingerboard [or a guitar bridge] is with a 1" x 5" 25 watt heat blanket, available from MSC Industrial or McMaster-Carr. A Harbor Freight router speed controller makes a good temperature control. Heat blankets allow you to put the heat right where you want it without posing risks to adjoining surfaces.

    A 2" x 5" 50 watt heat blanket is useful for lifting guitar fingerboards. Heat blankets come in a variety of sizes and shapes. To calculate the power rating needed for any given size, use 5 watts per square inch.

    Heat blankets and temperature controllers are also available from LMI, but the prices are considerably inflated.

    Thanks to Lynn Dudenbostel for bringing this highly useful tool to my attention.

    I am impressed by the speed at which Tukanu works. He must be younger than me . . .

    Tukanu, you might want to consider French polished shellac, perhaps in conjunction with violin maker's oil varnish. Then you can work inside . . .

    If you're interested in that, I doubt you'll have much trouble learning new finishing techniques.
    The instrument would originally have been finished with varnish and/or shellac anyway.

  8. #33

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Thank you for the information. The original fingerboard was made of pearwood. It basically crumbled when I tried to remove it. Thank you for the link to the heat blanket, I have been looking for one...mainly for bending the sides.

    I have used French polishing in the past. I was concerned about getting the back and neck to a mahogany-red color, and was wondering about how to do that. I haven't had much luck with dyes since they tend to leave a blotchy finish. I have used Stew-Mac red lacquer spray in the past with some success. I don't want to put too heavy of a finish on it.

    Also, I have an bridge on order from Bridger Products (Vern Brekke). It is adjustable but works without thumb screws, so I think it will look pretty nice with this old mandolin.

    I was able to separate the old tailpiece from the armrest that was added later in life. The tailpiece is a cloud-type, but with only three leaves, rather than seven. I think it may be original because there is no evidence (by way of the screw holes) that the tailpiece was ever replaced. I realize that every picture of an Alrite has the seven-leaf cloud tailpiece.

    Anyone have an original looking pickguard that they want to part with?

    Finally, there is an Alrite listed on Ebay.

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  9. #34
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Celluloid pickguard material is available from www.axinc.net. They have the best stuff I can find these days. If you order from them, be aware that there is a $32 hazardous materials fee for shipping celluloid. It is a flat fee, so it doesn't matter if you order one piece of binding or 20 lbs. of pickguard material. My suggestion therefore is to place a sizeable order, then it won't sting so much.

    By the way, don't blame them for the fee. It has been required by the government and UPS ever since 911, when they decided that celluloid is flammable. Axiom does not make a profit on the fee.

    I've never had any problem with alcohol soluble aniline dye. You can avoid blotchiness by applying it to wood that has been wash coated with thin shellac, or mix it directly with the shellac itself. Always use pure grain alcohol, never denatured alcohol. If you do apply it directly to unsealed wood, apply it lightly, follow it with a rag dampened with alcohol, allow to dry for quite a while, then repeat as necessary. Make sure the wood is very well sanded and very well cleaned of sawdust.

    You can get several grades of colored oil varnish from a violin supplier. You can add a few drops only of Japan drier to the varnish to reduce the curing time.

  10. #35
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    I wonder of that three-lobe tailpiece cover came from a Martin bowlback. Does it have any engraving on it? My super-fancy ex-Martin Style 6 had a nice engraved one.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  11. #36

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    [QUOTE=rcc56;1649382]Celluloid pickguard material is available from www.axinc.net. They have the best stuff I can find these days. If you order from them, be aware that there is a $32 hazardous materials fee for shipping celluloid. It is a flat fee, so it doesn't matter if you order one piece of binding or 20 lbs. of pickguard material. My suggestion therefore is to place a sizeable order, then it won't sting so much.

    I had in mind something more complete..like a vintage piece with the attachment hardware.

    Interesting that you mention all-grain alcohol. I just watched a video about mixing shellac (O'Brien...Lmii). He said the same thing about the difference between alcohols. He uses Everclear.

  12. #37

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Jim,
    My cover is very plain, but shaped like yours. It was soldered to a large piece of brass to form a crude armrest. I took it to a machine shop and they popped it off with a lot of heat.

  13. #38
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    [QUOTE=Tukanu;1649390]
    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Celluloid pickguard material is available from www.axinc.net. They have the best stuff I can find these days. If you order from them, be aware that there is a $32 hazardous materials fee for shipping celluloid. It is a flat fee, so it doesn't matter if you order one piece of binding or 20 lbs. of pickguard material. My suggestion therefore is to place a sizeable order, then it won't sting so much.

    I had in mind something more complete..like a vintage piece with the attachment hardware.

    Interesting that you mention all-grain alcohol. I just watched a video about mixing shellac (O'Brien...Lmii). He said the same thing about the difference between alcohols. He uses Everclear.
    An original Gibson guard is getting hard to find and expensive. Be prepared to spend over $125, quite a bit more if it's got the nice cam clamp. Be careful; a lot of those old guards are now turning to powder, and the gas they release when they decompose might damage your pretty work.

    I found out the hard way that denatured alcohol reeks havoc with colors and can cause drying problems. I can't get Everclear around here, so I use Golden Grain. Sometimes the guy at the liquor store makes a smart remark. I just tell him that if I wanted to drink it, a pint or a fifth wouldn't be enough.

  14. #39
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    I made an accurate drawing of the pickguard on my Alrite. I can e-mail you a scan if you like.

  15. #40

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Tony, that would be much appreciated.
    David

  16. #41

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    I sealed the mando with shellac and filled the mahogany neck with a water based filler. I got the lacquer color coat and a couple of clear coats on when the garage warmed up to 65F. Supposed to be warm again tomorrow, so I can get a few more spray coats on.

    A couple of posts back, rcc56 has some great advice on finishing. I would have followed his advice, but I had already purchased the lacquer spray from StewMac.

    Here is the front and back after a few clear coats:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #42
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Looking good.
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


    Fylde Touchstone Walnut Mandolin.
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  19. #43

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    "It aint over until the flat lady sings".

    10 light coats of satin lacquer, leveled with 600grit, then a couple more finish coats of lacquer.
    The tuners cleaned up with naval jelly.
    I used an adjustable bridge, since I did not have the original.
    I think the tailpiece might be original because there was only one set of screw holes.

    Original cost was $340, and about $100 worth of new materials.

    It is much louder than the A/N Flattop that I recently built. Tone is pretty clean. Done and done.
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  21. #44
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Lots of character there, very nice! Thanks for posting all of this.
    -Dave
    Flatiron A
    Way too many other instruments

  22. #45
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Looks great!... let’s hear it!!!
    aka: Spencer
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  23. #46
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Nicely done! I love these mandolins.
    Larry Hunsberger

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  24. #47
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Most impressive, sir!
    Steve



    "They're approaching. That's very forward of them."

  25. #48
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    Lovely job

  26. #49
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    That is one Alrite job!

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  28. #50

    Default Re: Alrite Total Makeover

    The mandolin is incredibly loud and the tone is fine. Very impressive. Lovely looking instrument.

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