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Thread: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

  1. #126
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    This is before and after. I must say that I was surprised with the amount of dirt that was cowering the original varnish. Now the wood is showing it`s natural aperance again. I am very satisfied with the result.

    Although it took some time, cleaning this, was relatively easy since the varnish layer vas so well preserved (looking at the age of the instrument).
    Top will need much more care, since there is probably almost nothing under the dirt layer. Dirt will act as a dye if the cleaning is not done with just damped, almost dry coton sticks. Some degre of stained look, or blotchiness will be present surely. Dings and dents will be enchased to some degree.

    But I have no intention to use any agressive methods like scraping, sanding etc. to give it "new" look.
    Cleaning only. Perhaps a thin layer of the egg white on top. It will look accordingly to it`s age.

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  3. #127
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Well, top is cleaned. I may do it even cleaner but not sure yet if I would prefere that.
    I am in contact with the guys from the musical collection of German national museum in Nuremberg. I will decide after consulting them too.
    Ebony frets are still to be made. And a protective layer after the top is glued back.

    Anyway, before and after.

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  5. #128
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    One more thing of structural importance needed to be solved before closing the box. Pins area crack.
    Probaly one of the bigest weekneses, in other aspects very carefuly thought out neapolitan mandolin construction, was it`s pin (lower) block.
    Bent, triangular, only 3mm thick piece of hard wood, didn`t offer enough support to the pins, and consequently the outer layer of the bowl as the block itself offten cracked along the four hole line. Thicker block, at least at the pins area, would surely prevent that.

    I made oval "pin crack" patch, similar to the violin soudnpost patch. Oval shape is gouged out of the block, about 2 mm deep at the pin area and coresponding patch was chalk fitted and glued with hide glue.
    After it dried, patch will be taken down to the level of the surounding block , but I will leave the central area of the patch 2 mm thicker, giving to the pins stronger support that it was originaly. Holes redriled and pins fitted.

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  7. #129
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Finished patch.

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    I failed to find two same bridges from 1795-1798 Fabricatore mandolins on net. It loks like each and one was made diferently for each mandolin.
    This are examples I managed to get. Not certain about originality though, First one have bottom plate shaped to match TS pickguard, that may be original I guess.

    1796 left one, 1796 midle one, 1797 third one. And there is just one left that I saw, that was posted by Alex, and Eric in his 1793 restoration thread. That one is few years earlier.

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  9. #130
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Ebony frets are ready and will be glued after the top is glued back. No. 2 and 4 are original ones, others remade. 0,4 mm thick, 1,2 mm wide.

    Frets are not of uniform lenght. They create slight taper towards the soundhole, probably to follow widening of the strings from the neck to the bridge. First fret is 41mm last one at the sound hole is 46mm.

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  10. #131
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Thankfully, one original peg survived. New ones came out quite nicely. Still need to do polishing.

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  12. #132
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Nut was missing, new one made, fitted and glued. Will be finished later in the set up process. Small piece in the bottom of the nut grove was ebony so I decided to go that way.

    Lost mastik near the nut was refilled. It will be leveled when dry.

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  14. #133
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    In one piece after all. Pleasure for my eyes.

    Tape glued, firs time for me, using hide glue. Neck block area was glued the day before. Somehow I found it easier to manipulate plate/bowl assembly while gluing, this way.

    During the years or perhaps centuries while one side of the mandolin was unglued, the bowl deformed sligtly. It was 2mm shorter than the top and consequently wider at the sides. I "extended" it using a piece of wood as a wedge betwen the neck block and pin block. By doing that the sides took the shape of the top again. Slight adjustments where needed only, to get things even. Wedge wood was cut in two pieces through the sound hole and taken out. Frets reglued. Cleaned further.

    Neck is flat across the frets and cleares the cant for 1,5mm, 1mm clearence at the neck/board. No sinking, arch is around 4mm high. WIll need around 6mm high bridge to get 1,7-2mm at #12 fret.

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    Last edited by Marijan; May-14-2017 at 9:17am.

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  16. #134
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    That has been transformed into an exceptional instrument, congratulations on such a thoughtfully & tastefully done restoration.
    Eoin



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  17. #135
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Thanks Eoin,
    yes it will end up as a nice example of early mandolin. I was lucky to get quite solid material to work on. Still some work to be done though.
    Restoration, conservation, making it playeable and appropriate as a museum piece at the same time, Those goals sometimes contradict to each other.

  18. #136
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    While waiting for a material needed for pegs head restoration, I started to work on the bridge. Prepared the blank from a block of ebony. Cut it to oversized dimensions. Finished the thicknes and the lenght of the bridge. Left height oversized. Than chalk fitted the bridge for the best possible contact. Removing the chalk spots from the bottom of the bridge (I do it with small scraper), till the whole contact area is covered with chalk, than the fit is perfect. I find that more accurate and easier to do, than using the sandpaper.

    Shaping and establishing the height will be the next thing to do.

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  20. #137
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Some time ago Alex kindly posted the photos of the bridge of his Fabricatore. I decided to copy that one. 70mm long, 3,5mm thick, mine is lover at 4,5-5mm for the action slightly under 2mm at #12 fret, for now.
    Outer string spacing (in relation to the neck outer lines) is 41mm. 3,5mm between the strings. Around 8,5mm between the string pairs.

    Pins has also bein made copying the survived pin out of the camel bone.

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  21. #138
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    SInce the TS on the back of the pegs head was warped and it cant be flatened properly in situ, I took it of. It will be soaked under the preasure in the salted near boiling water for a short period of time and than cooled down to retain the flat shape.

    Taking TS off revealed the layers that was used by Fabricatore to prepare the surface for TS. Layers are hide glue - ribed paper - metal leafs - hide glue - TS. I say metal, not gold leafs since it seems that Fabricatore used copper leafs or high coper content alloy (look the secind photo in full size) and not high karat gold. I don`t know the history of copper leafs use, so I can`t tell for sure. Copper would explain the green oxide spots where TS was mising.

    I guess that leafs where glued or somehow transfered to the ribed paper, which would also allow easier manipulation of the metal leafs when cutting and cluing. I have a stock of antique ribed paper (background on the last photo). so i will use that in order ro replicate the process as close as possible.

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  22. #139
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Since the conservation is the first goal of this restoration/conservation work, and regarding the delicate nature of TS use, I decided to go with conservators advice to use similar material for repaire work and leave things in the maner that would alow repaires to be visible with naked eye. On the front of the peg head I made the repaires in situ using cast natural material to imitate the TS aperance. No original TS was lost.

    Few shots of the process.

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  24. #140

    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Awesome.

  25. #141
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Back side of the head was redone similar as the front, but here, as pointed out few posts back, TS was remowed, since flatening in situ was imposible due the structural change of the wood underneath, caused by unproperly fited pegs. TS remowed, wood around the peg holes flatened, TS remade. Originaly, background for TS was actualy coper on ribed paper, so I did it that way.
    There is a diference in darknes of the TS between removed, cleaned TS on the back of the head, and the middle TS stripes, since those where thicker as where the stripes on the neck too (around 0,8mm - remowed TS is 0,4mm thick). I didn`t attempt to imitate the oxidation under the TS also, so the repaired TS has lighter, more tranparent aperance, as it was when mandolin was originaly made. Still, i think that was the way to go from the conservation/resoration point of view.

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  27. #142
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Small pleasures of finishing touches.

    There was one piece of MOP that was original and it was left on. Two pieces where latter, bad fitted adition, Those where replaced with MOP that is quite a match to the original MOP.

    Waiting for an ordered strings.

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  28. #143
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    That's looking quite lovely - can't wait to see/hear it with strings on!

  29. #144
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Unfortunately I don`t play. I have a friend who is a concertmaster of the symphonic orcestra and great guitar player. I am hoping to record few test notes of him playing my mandolin.

    I wonder one thing about this mandolin for some time. I read few articles avaliable on the net about the period mandolins and there is mentioned that usual numbe of the ribs varied from 15 - 27 + two large ribs between the top and rib cage. On this one there is 29 narow ribs, which is a number that is more usual on the later mandolins. Even on Fabricatore mandolins from those years (looking at the photos I was able to get) there is 25 to 27 ribs. Not that it matters much I guess, just curious.

  30. #145
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

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  31. #146
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    That's lovely, very well done.
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  32. #147
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    It has strings!

    Looks amazing, would love to hear it being played.

  33. #148
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    What a triumph.
    Congratulations.
    Eoin



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  34. #149
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    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Thank you. I will send a sound file when I record it.

  35. #150

    Default Re: 1796 Giovanni Battista Fabricatore mandolin

    Lovely work!

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