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Thread: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

  1. #1
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    Default What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Here’s a mandolin back that looks really unique, lots of different things going on. Flat-sawn (obviously), looks like some kind of burl going on and some really unique figure. Never quite seen anything like it used for a mandolin. What is the blacker area? Anything about it that makes you think it wouldn’t make a good mandolin back? Its Maple of course, but I’m not sure what kind. Opinions appreciated
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Interesting choice for a back. Not really much figure for a burled piece. Certainly not my taste.

    My $.02.
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Wet it with some denatured alcohol and take a picture. It will give us a better idea of the figuring.
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Its not mine, just a pic that a builder sent me. He has a mandolin thats almost finished using a piece from the same board, When I get a pic of that one I’ll post it. I’m considering the mandolin but I thought I might just want a normal piece of figured maple. The mandolin will also have a one piece Western Red Cedar top so thats going to be pretty unique also. The board came from a guy who has now passed away, so that does have some meaning to me and the builder

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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    That's a piece of wood you'll either like or not. With that said, I'd wonder if future resale would be affected. You'd likely rule out 50% of the potential buyers.

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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatrick View Post
    That's a piece of wood you'll either like or not. With that said, I'd wonder if future resale would be affected. You'd likely rule out 50% of the potential buyers.
    You really think its that ugly? For now I'm holding out that the mandolin made from the same board looks more pleasant, but mainly if it sounds like how I want when its in the rough thats all that matters. He said it'll likely be in the rough to be tested and then finished in about a month, so I guess I'll know soon enough

  8. #7
    Rush Burkhardt Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    I like it, alot! Has built-in character, and will always be unique!
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    I would be cautious about the stability of that wood.

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    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    It looks to be on it's way to spalted.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vernon Hughes View Post
    It looks to be on it's way to spalted.
    Our friend did ask about the black areas.
    At least on the objects I’ve made from spalted, stability wasn’t an issue, but this back shows structure that might be concerning, even if the back doesn’t do very much. I don’t think it’s ugly, but there may be reasons bilateral symmetry is more usual in instruments, even when the outline isn’t. And figuring out a finish could be a challenge. Would be nice to see the completed job.

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    I think it kinda looks like a topo of Mars! If it’s stable, way cool!
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    I think I like it, too.

    Look forword to your report on the first build under way.

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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    I’ve been talking a little more with the builder today, and I may just end up with this back on my mandolin anyways. I’ll see if I can’t get him to send me a picture of it with denatured alcohol on it too see any figuring better like what was suggested earlier

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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    ]
    Quote Originally Posted by jim simpson View Post
    Wet it with some denatured alcohol and take a picture. It will give us a better idea of the figuring.
    As requested, here’s a photo of the back wetted with denatured alcohol. Definitely some unique figuring for sure, but the black area still worries me some
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  17. #15
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    That person needs to either adjust the cut speed or get some new router bits!

  18. #16

    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    The black areas just look like router burn, meaning it'll all be sanded or scraped away.

  19. #17

    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Sam, unless I’m seeing it wrong, it’s planer lines on that back, not router work, which shows around the outline. Both at pretty high feed rates, which helps avoid burn. Good sharp tooling is always helpful always. Nothing wrong with a little fungus, other than the idea.

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    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Are those dark marks near the lower treble point knots? There’s too much going on with that plate to go with it without a closer hands on look. I wouldn’t commit on the sale until you’ve had a chance to inspect and play the completed instrument.
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    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    You also need to consider stiffness per mass. If the stiffness is really low, you'll have a heavy back.

  22. #20
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Kind of looks like a topographical photo of someplace in the desert southwest.
    Hopefully the builder can clean up his tooling burns.
    Not quite my cup of tea, but others might like it.
    It is loaded with character.

    If you're considering it, you shouldn't order it until he sends a pic of the back with all of the burn marks cleaned up.

  23. #21
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Kind of looks like a topographical photo of someplace in the desert southwest.
    Hopefully the builder can clean up his tooling burns.
    Not quite my cup of tea, but others might like it.
    It is loaded with character.

    If you're considering it, you shouldn't order it until he sends a pic of the back with all of the burn marks cleaned up.
    I’m going to talk to him about it on the phone sometime next week most likely. I’ve never seen a mandolin from him that had burn marks, so I’m sure he’ll clean them up with no problems. I can always go with a more normal back if I want, but this is the back he’s offered me first, along with a spruce top he’s been saving for over 20 years. He said he doesn’t remember if the spruce is Red spruce, sitka or englemann, so once I get a pic of it maybe I’ll start a spruce identification thread

  24. #22
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Well, there's nothing quite like a good spruce fight . . .

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  26. #23

    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Well, there's nothing quite like a good spruce fight . . .
    I still have splinters in my scalp from the last one....

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  28. #24
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    Part of a conversation I had a few years ago with a well-known spruce harvester:

    Harvester: ". . . I cut 3 red spruce trees and got 600 tops."
    Me: "Was any of it any good?"
    Harvester: "Yeah, I kept about 40 or 50 of 'em. I sold the rest to [well-known manufacturer's name deleted]."

  29. #25
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    Default Re: What Do You Think About This Unique 1 Pc. Back?

    You asked.

    Hideous and unsound structurally.

    There is so much good wood available, difficult to understand why this would be used.

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