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Thread: StewMac kit

  1. #1

    Default StewMac kit

    I'm building a StewMac kit and thought I'd pass on some observations in case someone else might be contemplating this. First of all, this s a very traditional F style. Flat fingerboard, skinny frets, all in all very Gibson like. A bit rougher CNC work than the now defunct Arches kit I built, but a nice flame maple back and sides. Quality is very nice.

    One thing really puzzles me, the binding is, I believe, four pieces you need to glue together. Of course, there is a StewMac tool for that. The instructions are minimal. There is a $90 DVD for that too. Probably using a bunch of StewMac tools. But a beginner would have a rough time with the binding. The W/B/W binding that came in one piece with the Arches is hard enough. But I was going to build an F 9 like mandolin anyway so no big deal. I'll buy one ply binding.

    This leads me to another small nitpick. If you don't bind the peghead, the faceplate won't quite cover the peghead. Oh well. The full size plans are nice, and If I decide on radius fretboard and modern frets, it's an easy enough thing to buy a fretboard or radius the flat one.

    It's a pretty good kit all in all, and choices are few.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  3. #2

    Default Re: StewMac kit

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    This leads me to another small nitpick. If you don't bind the peghead, the faceplate won't quite cover the peghead.
    There is plenty left over from the rest of the cut offs to make a small joint to cover the widest part of the peghead; it's what I did when I made mine. Forgoing the back binding is also an option.
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
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  4. #3
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    West Monroe, LA

    Default Re: StewMac kit

    You can make a non-adjustable version of the Stew-Mac jig with just some scrap wood. I used CA glue to attach the two blocks that sandwich the binding together. Then you brush acetone on your binding and pull it through. It was much easier than I anticipated.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    PTC GA

    Default Re: StewMac kit

    I've tried various jigs for putting together the binding plies. I finally discovered it's much easier for me to do it completely by hand without a jig. And it is easy. Paint about one inch with acetone on two pieces, press them together firmly between your fingers for 5 or 10 seconds until the two pieces meld, then do the next inch until you get to the end. Do the same to add the third and fourth pieces. Do all of that on a piece of wax paper. Sand the bottom edge flat to fit in the channel. The top edge will be scraped down flush with the top after the binding is installed. It's a slow process, but not much slower than using a jig and to me it is more reliable. I get less separation of the plies when bending.
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  7. #5

    Default Re: StewMac kit

    I'd already decided to go minimalist before I got the kit. Just surprised to see the multiple binding pieces. I've no doubt I could do it if I wanted. Basically I'm building an
    F 9. May not even do the fret markers on the front. But for a first build, it would be a big hurdle. They also assume you have a band saw.

    The Arches kit made assumptions the other direction, identified areas that could be problematic, like the binding channel around the scroll, and included it. Anyway, all is there to make a nice mandolin.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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