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Thread: Case modification

  1. #1
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    Default Case modification

    This may be an off the wall question, not sure. I have an original vintage case for my vintage mandolin. But it's is too big internally for the mandolin, and it neither properly supports or altogether protects the mandolin. Has anyone tried modifying a case internally so that it comforms better to the shape and dimensions of its mandolin so as to really do its job better? A custom case seems very expensive so I'm casting about for a way to make the case work better. I'm not especially concerned about changing the case, but I don't want it to be an amateur looking job either. As far as I'm concerned it may have some collector's value but it sure isn't very functional.

  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    i just stick in a few blocks of foam... I am amateur , my vanity was crushed a long time ago ..

    are you handy craftie?
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Case modification

    I was thinking about taking the case and my idea to an upholsterer and see what he/she might be able to do . . . besides kick me out of the shop. I have some felt and foam weatherstrip to play with also.

  5. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    pretty snug plastic eastman case made tighter with a small block of closed cell foam between end of caseand the headstock.

    Upholstry shop can probably make a case cover too , maybe tuck and roll padded
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    If you need to fill in, you could cut the foam shapes and do a dry fit. After cutting the pieces to your satisfaction (try using an electric knife but be careful), you could use similar lining material to get a close match and cover the foam using a spray contact glue. Spray the foam and the back side of your material. Let it dry to tacky then cover. Your could glue the newly covered piece to the existing shape. I hope this makes sense to you.
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    Mandolin Botherer Shelagh Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    I've done this many times to adapt cases for a close fit using foam cut to shape and then covered with matching velvet, felt or teddy bear fur, and then glued or velcroed in.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Case modification

    teddy bear fur
    I just had an image of the poor bears.
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    Default Re: Case modification

    I came across the Concord Adjustable Mandolin Case and it looks like something to consider as an alternative to modifying a case. Does anyone have one or know how well they work?

  10. #9
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    I have made blocks out of closed cell polyurethane foam. Pool noodle cut up. I have cut them to fit and covered them with cloth. i found a Flannel that was close to the colour of the case interior. Basicaly I ended up with a small upholstery cushion. If you can find it in sheet form, the same material can be used to make a gap filling piece between the sides of the instrument and the case.

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    Default Re: Case modification

    Hi Guys, here are some photos of my case modification efforts.
    The concerns I had were: instrument with angled back which means a small point of contact with the back of the case, neck that moves about meaning that the pegs occasionally hit the inside of the case, and bridge that strikes the top of the case.

    Solutions were the velcro strap and various bits of foam covered with polartec and hot glued. The circular foam pad is wedge shaped and small enough to be moved forward and backward to allow an adjustable fit for the octave mandolin (loose for storage, tight for transport).
    The final concern came when I was in a bus. It was raining outside and I was at my destination. I was thinking do I just stay in the bus until the rain stops?
    -so waterproofing is the next project maybe using an old modified, waterproof backpack.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #11
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Case modification

    Hey, atsunrise: Nice job!

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    ... maybe using an old modified, waterproof backpack.
    My solution, as for others here, is a 3-racket tennis bag. My 8-year-old Head bag is both insulated and waterproof (other than the zippers, but how muck leakage can you get short of leaving it out in a storm?). Some current examples:
    https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/3_R...e-3PKBAGS.html

    While it's technically several inches longer than the "personal carry-on" limit, airline Security has rarely blinked in 8 or 10 trips, including 3 to Mexico. An oversize backpack would invite much more scrutiny. One check-in agent started to stop me, then saw the big Head logo and said "Welcome aboard!"

    Added advantage is that it can go over a shoulder even along with a backpack; minimal disruption at boarding time.

    FWIW, the shape of the Head bag that I use has changed to more angular since then, so I can't verify that a hard case would slide in; some bag's shorter zippers don't allow enough opening. I was lucky in that a local shop was happy to let me try out several in the store; IIRC, the case would get into 2 of the 4 or 5 bags that I tried.
    - Ed

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  15. #12
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    Hi Guys, here are some photos of my case modification efforts.
    The concerns I had were: instrument with angled back which means a small point of contact with the back of the case, neck that moves about meaning that the pegs occasionally hit the inside of the case, and bridge that strikes the top of the case.

    Solutions were the velcro strap and various bits of foam covered with polartec and hot glued. The circular foam pad is wedge shaped and small enough to be moved forward and backward to allow an adjustable fit for the octave mandolin (loose for storage, tight for transport).
    The final concern came when I was in a bus. It was raining outside and I was at my destination. I was thinking do I just stay in the bus until the rain stops?
    -so waterproofing is the next project maybe using an old modified, waterproof backpack.

    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	49 
Size:	598.1 KB 
ID:	176837Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	176838Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	46 
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ID:	176839Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	47 
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ID:	176840
    I have a couple Coffin cases ome is shaped like a Coffin and they shipped it with a pillow for use if the guitar was thinner. I have my strat in it. Nothing wrong with a pillow! Looks liek it is lenty functional by the pics.
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  17. #13

    Default Re: Case modification

    Dorenac,

    What year is your "vintage" case? A loose fit was always the norm, until recent decades and the advent of Pro Travel cases. If the fit is only a little bit loose, the easiest approach would be to pull out the side padding and overstuff it with additional padding, then reglue it into place. I'm not a big fan of foam, it's pretty stiff and some types could potentially damage the finish. I'd suggest cotton or polyesther padding from the quilt or upholstery section of your local fabric store. When you pull the padding out you will find thin cardboard backing with the fabric wrapped around and padding in between. Take it apart and add more padding. Reuse the cardboard or cut new pieces if you prefer. you could easily fill an extra inch of space with this method.

    Steve

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Case modification

    I should add that when I write ‘foam’ I mean the sponge material used for indoor mattresses.

    The tennis bags look good, I think I’d probably still build something inside like maybe large plastic cups half filled with foam to protect the pegs and bridge.
    The octave mandolin, though, comes out at nearly 900 mm. so I’d have to find a bag that was intended for someone who likes to play tennis with an very big racket!

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  20. #15

    Default Re: Case modification

    I have used socks or rolled-up hand towels to fill the gaps and provide cushion......

    Oops, that didn't come out right -- make that CLEAN socks, not USED socks!

  21. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Case modification

    Quote Originally Posted by dorenac View Post
    This may be an off the wall question, not sure. I have an original vintage case for my vintage mandolin. But it's is too big internally for the mandolin, and it neither properly supports or altogether protects the mandolin. Has anyone tried modifying a case internally so that it comforms better to the shape and dimensions of its mandolin so as to really do its job better? A custom case seems very expensive so I'm casting about for a way to make the case work better. I'm not especially concerned about changing the case, but I don't want it to be an amateur looking job either. As far as I'm concerned it may have some collector's value but it sure isn't very functional.
    Is this a particularly odd-shaped mandolin? I stopped using my A model case for a couple of reasons: it started to smell bad from mold/mildew and also was not ideal for protecting the instrument. So I use a standard TKL arched A case and it works quite nicely. If yours is standard size A or F then keep the vintage case as-is, save it to sell with the mandolin, if and when that time comes, and use a more practical case.

    I have also used rolled toweling in banjo cases to keep it from rattling around. If you use foam, just make sure it won't affect teh finish of your mandolin.
    Jim

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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Case modification

    In my old cases I just peel back the old felt lining cloth near the required places.
    Then I slide foam inserts under that to make the shape required & reglue the covering where I’ve lifted it.
    Eoin



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  23. #18
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    Default Re: Case modification

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Is this a particularly odd-shaped mandolin? I stopped using my A model case for a couple of reasons: it started to smell bad from mold/mildew and also was not ideal for protecting the instrument. So I use a standard TKL arched A case and it works quite nicely. If yours is standard size A or F then keep the vintage case as-is, save it to sell with the mandolin, if and when that time comes, and use a more practical case.

    I have also used rolled toweling in banjo cases to keep it from rattling around. If you use foam, just make sure it won't affect teh finish of your mandolin.
    I knew a guy in Italy one time who kept dried orange and lemon peel in his accordion case. It smelled great ! The essential oil kills the mound microbes, I’m not sure if it’s acidic though, I wouldn’t like to test it on a case with a nice mandolin.
    A small amount might be ok though.

  24. #19
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    Default Re: Case modification

    here's a case study, urethane foam from the craft department at WalMart.

    https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...itar_case.html

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    Re: funky odors, I've been combatting it in a case from 1940's: start w/leave it in sun, vacuuming and blow dryer/reasonable heat. There was a thread here about ozone generators and the health risks involved, you can search that.
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