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Thread: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

  1. #1
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    Default Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Since the demise of Presto cases 18 months I have been trying to solve the mandolin case nightmare. If you are in the USA you have a lot more choice in cases, but here down under we only have crappy Chinese plywood cases that don't fit so the demise of Presto cases has been a heavy blow. I have wasted many hours trying to find a viable alternative. Now I have found an alternative that does not cost a bomb. The company is based in Hong Kong and make carbon fiber and fiberglass cases that are high quality, and best of all they fit an A5 mandolin perfectly without modification. I have one that arrived yesterday and I am seriously impressed. It is one of their carbon fiber cases so is light and very strong, rated for 80kg. Well made and with a decent amount of padding and fits my A5 mandolins and my Gilchrist Model 3C absolute perfect. Their fiberglass cases are exactly the same but made from fiberglass. They also do a F5 case, and offer a range of colours, although my preferred colour white seems to be more difficult. These cases are of higher quality than the Superior fiberglass cases which I have bought previously. They also make guitar cases and other cases, but guitar cases are their main business. More people should know about these cases hence this post.

    Nothing is perfect. The only disadvantage I can see with these cases is there is not a lot of storage space, but there is enough for picks and a clip on tuner. With this sort of shaped case that pretty much comes with the territory. The other disadvantage is there is a long lead time. They don't keep any cases in stock so you have to wait for your case to get on to their mandolin case making run and to be manufactured. I waited 6 months, but my case was stuck in Hong Kong for 3 months because of no flights out of China due to Covid-19. I was going to sell the case with a new mandolin but changed my mind and will be keeping it for the Gilchrist.

    Web site is - https://www.musiccompo.com

    Here are some pictures with my Gilchrist Model 3C
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  3. #2
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    'Looks promising. It would be nice to have something reliable in between the $100 junk and the $1000 premium cases. Let's not even get started on mandola cases....

    Do you think it will handle a larger F5 style headstock and longer neck or is it a tight fit for only snakeheads? Did they give you a builder's price for that 9 month wait or was it just the advertised retail price on the website?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Yes that is exactly what I have been searching for. Something between the junk and the expensive premium cases and having reasonably good quality, and these seem to fit the bill nicely. Looks like it will fit my 2 point Lyon and Healy reproductions with just a small modification so that is another plus for me. They do make a case that is specifically designed for the F5 so it should be ok, although I don't make them so can't be sure. I paid the advertised retail price. The case I have is easily the best quality I have seen outside the premium cases. If you want a "builder's price" then you would need to OEM and order a minimum of 20 cases. If you OEM you can basically design your own case and have your own logo on the case. 20 cases is a big financial risk so I probably won't be doing that, although it is tempting if I could share the cost with someone else. Not surprisingly, guitar cases are their main business.
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Looks good, indeed.

    What cushions are embedded in the underside of the lid? When closed, are touch points the tailpiece, neck, bridge top?

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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    I didn't know of the demise of Presto. Too bad, they were nicely made, especially this one. Beats the Calton, imo.
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Touch points are the neck and bridge top, not the tailpiece.

    Agree with you about Presto. They closed because of serious illness of one of the partners. Paul Duff used Presto cases and I contacted him to ask about the case nightmare. "Welcome to my world!" was the answer. He is now using Calton cases but had to substantially increase his prices to cover the extra cost. It is not just the cost of the Calton, but the transport costs that puts Calton out for me. At least Hong Kong is closer, and they do speak very good english. I tried contacting another Chinese case company but there was obviously a language barrier so that went nowhere. A friend and customer of mine was thinking of buying the Presto case business, but I am not holding my breath. Sadly I think it is gone for good.
    Last edited by peter.coombe; Jun-11-2020 at 6:19am.
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    I would prefer neck and t/p for touch points, but I would assume the bridge top has no undue pressure on it. I like the 'bridge' cradle construct surrounding the pocket well.

    My Presto has 'Duff' embossed in the lid.

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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Those Musiccompo cases are fine, they touched upon a few years back: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ic-Compo-Cases

    A little problematic is the lack of room for a pick guard. (Okay, the F5 fits in, but with pressure on the pg.) Back then, I had a friendly email exchange with a member of the Musiccompo staff and gave a bit of feedback about little things to improve (as far as I saw it). Wonder if they changed anything; the webpage pics remained the same.

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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Good looking case, for a reasonable price.
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    I have a black rectangular Presto case for F5, empty, but I'm in the States, so no help in Australia..

    I put my Carbon Mix A5 in a Fiberglass Eastman..
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Thanks for the link to the other post. I missed that. I did query them about the leather handle and how long it was likely to last. The answer was that it was reinforced with fiber and they had not had any complaints about broken handles. It does feel nice in the hand. Presto used a heavy duty leather handle that was pretty rough on the hand, but the Presto case is a good deal heavier than the Musiccompo. The comment in the other post about the Superior fiberglass cases I believe is incorrect. I am sure they are made by another company in China. I have both cases and there is almost nothing in common. Different shape, different dimensions, less padding, different handle etc etc. I think I have found the other company who makes the Superior cases, or at least the pictures of their cases look identical. The Superior cases are quite flimsy in comparison, but they are cheaper so are more appropriate for my cheaper mandolins. I have ordered 2 white fiberglass cases from Musiccompo so will be able to make a better comparison when they arrive. I was quoted $150 USD ex transport for fiberglass.

    Musiccompo also make a small guitar case that looks like it will fit my tenor guitars. I am just waiting for one last measurement to confirm it will fit. These have been a nightmare to find anything that even remotely fits. Presto used to make a nice small guitar case that was perfect. There is still the mandola cases, and I don''t have a solution for that other than a custom made case in the USA that costs me a bomb. Once again, Presto used to make a case that fitted perfect.
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  15. #12
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Will an F5 with a tone gard attached fit comfy in the Musiccompo case?

    If scatched, which color fiber material will be seen through
    the scratch under the case color?
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  16. #13
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Don't know about the F5 cases, but I suspect it would not fit with a tone guard. The fit is very good so would be no room for a tone guard. The colour is not a coating, it is in the resin that makes up the composite material of the case, be it fiberglass or carbon fiber. So if it gets scratched the colour would remain the same as the colour of the case.

    I now have one of their fiberglass cases which is significantly cheaper than carbon fiber. It is white and they made a small modification so my short necked oval hole mandolins would fit, and I am very happy with the fit. They are not quite as strong as their carbon fiber cases, and are a bit heavier, but they are a heck of a lot stronger than the fiberglass Superior case I have. So that confirms they do not make the Superior cases. The only thing in common is some of the fittings.
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    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    I wonder if carbon fiber mandolin cases have the same negative environmental impacts as carbon fiber bicycle frames? I can’t imagine they don’t.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustaina...l-dirty-secret

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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Glass cloth & a polyester or epoxy resin ?
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  20. #16

    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    The look to be great cases at a reasonable price for what they are. Also much easier to lug around than a Calton or Hiscox, but at $90 shipping to USA I think I'd stick with my current cases.

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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    I wonder if carbon fiber mandolin cases have the same negative environmental impacts as carbon fiber bicycle frames? I can’t imagine they don’t.
    When they are passed their used by date I would expect they would, but they are really tough cases likely to last a very long time, they are not like cars or bicycles with a relatively short life span. My fiberglass Presto case is around 25 years old and is good for at least another 25. Not many cars or bicycles last that long. I would expect carbon fiber to last lat least as long, and you can always refurbish the interior. How much is wasted during manufacturing I don't know.
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  22. #18
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    The issue is not about longevity of carbon fiber. The point of the article, and many other articles related to carbon fiber production waste, is there is so much waste of the product when manufactured. A lot of it ends up in landfills and, unfortunately, our oceans. From the article; “By the time they’ve been trimmed to size, almost a third of these carbon fibre sheets end up on factory floors, according to recycling company ELG Carbon Fibre. Where the material does make it into products, most of it will ultimately end up in landfill, the firm says.”
    Last edited by Jim Roberts; Sep-23-2020 at 10:48pm.

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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Hearing the carbon-fiber dust is like asbestos as far as your lung tissues are concerned ..
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Hearing the carbon-fiber dust is like asbestos as far as your lung tissues are concerned ..
    That is not correct. All dust = bad for you. Carbon fiber dust is dangerous if exposure is high, but is not like asbestos where one very small exposure can be fatal. So it is important to minimize exposure by reducing the dust level and by wearing a dust mask. It is unlikely to kill you unless exposure is quite high, any asbestos exposure will kill you. However, note that carbon nanotube particles are similar to asbestos and may be just as dangerous.
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    A careful reading of the article on carbon fiber in the Guardian shows that it is perfectly possible to recycle many types of carbon fiber, although the recycled materials do not have all the equivalent properties of the original ones, and may be less desirable. Also, there may not (yet) be much of an economic incentive to recycle carbon fiber laminates, just as there is not yet an economic incentive to recycle certain forms of plastic. The EXACT SAME THING is true for many other types of recyclable materials, including paper, wood, and especially, fiberglass. Recycled paper, for example, is not as good for certain applications as freshly made paper, and many types of paper product are not currently being recycled for economic reasons.

    Carbon fiber, much like fiberglass, is prized for its great strength-to-weight. The resins used to bond these materials are similar, and they are types of plastic (like epoxy). Carbon fiber dust is hazardous, just as fiberglass dust can be, and precautions are required during manufacture. Once molded in shapes and imbedded in resins, however, neither of these pose serious health hazards. Neither carbon fiber nor fiberglass pose an equivalent type of health risk as asbestos.

    Seriously, instrument and case manufacture comprise an absolutely MINISCULE part of the global market for carbon fiber composites. These materials are mainly used for things like airplanes, cars, wind turbine blades, jet engines, and sports equipment. So NO, you are not posing much of an "environmental hazard" by getting a carbon fiber mandolin case. Furthermore, if you choose to get a fiberglass case, instead, it poses exactly the same set of issues with regard to recycling. The very same thing holds for all those injection-molded cases made from various types of plastic (ABS, etc.). And, truth be told, even if you were to get an old-fashioned case made out of a plywood core, with a plush liner over some foam padding and a cloth-type outer covering glued over it, the chances are extremely good that it will wind up in a landfill at the end of its useful life, just as these other cases will. No, it will not be recycled, as so many mass-market items are. That's because the recycling companies are only equipped to deal with a rather limited range of common, mass-market materials, by and large. Broken-down instrument cases are not anything they'll recognize.
    Last edited by sblock; Sep-25-2020 at 8:03pm.

  26. #22
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    [QUOTE=sblock;1789065]. “Seriously, instrument and case manufacture comprise an absolutely MINISCULE part of the global market for carbon fiber composites.” SBlock, would you want to live next door or downstream to a carbon fiber manufacturing facility?

    There’s a country (unnamed here so as to stop any PC correct or incorrect comments) that is dumping tons of carbon fiber waste in OUR oceans rather than recycle.

    “Think locally, act globally” was a lovely and poignant bumper sticker in the 70’s.

  27. #23
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    [QUOTE=Jim Roberts;1789079]
    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    . “Seriously, instrument and case manufacture comprise an absolutely MINISCULE part of the global market for carbon fiber composites.” SBlock, would you want to live next door or downstream to a carbon fiber manufacturing facility?

    There’s a country (unnamed here so as to stop any PC correct or incorrect comments) that is dumping tons of carbon fiber waste in OUR oceans rather than recycle.

    “Think locally, act globally” was a lovely and poignant bumper sticker in the 70’s.
    Jim,

    It's just not possible to confirm the truth or falsity of stories with such broad, unsubstantiated claims as yours when you refuse to provide the important details. This is precisely how conspiracy theories and urban legends get spread around on the internet, from people who are willing to relay often-distorted or unreliable stories which lack any of the facts that we normally associate with proper journalism. What country? How many tons are involved, and of exactly what kind of waste? Where is this supposedly dumped? Where is the supporting evidence that this poses a health hazard? How reliable is the source of your information? And so on.

    You ask: "SBlock, would you want to live next door or downstream to a carbon fiber manufacturing facility?" No, I would not like to live next door to ANY manufacturing facility, and most of us wouldn't, either! This goes WAAAY beyond carbon fiber. In fact, it has very little to do with what is specifically being manufactured. For example, paper is one of the most successfully recycled of all structural materials today. Still, I would NOT like to live next door to, nor downstream from, a paper mill! Yikes! Had you ever visited one? Smelled one? I have! They use highly toxic, smelly, materials to break down the wood into pulp, by the way. They have smokestacks that spew who-knows-what into the local air. And no, I would not like to live next to a steel mill or aluminum plant, either. Or any plastics manufacturer. Or a lumber mill. Or an oil refinery. The list goes on. Your question seems both silly and irrelevant.

    Let's put something on the table: Recycling is great for the environment. I support it! I practice it when I reasonably can.

    But let's be realistic. The mass manufacture of ALL known structural materials produces waste products, and some fraction of these are toxic. This goes for "eco-friendly" things like wood and paper, as well as for fiberglass, plastics, carbon fiber, concrete, steel, and all manner of laminates and composites, INCLUDING those made from recycled materials!

    So let's get real! There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that the manufacture of carbon fiber musical instrument cases is posing a toxic waste problem that seriously impacts our health and welfare. The manufacturing volume just isn't there to have much of an impact, especially compared to other, much larger industries. Also, the small amount of waste material generated from producing carbon fiber cases would have to be compared directly with the waste products that are generated when instrument cases get made instead from plywood and plastic laminates, various forms of molded plastic, molded fiberglass, and other competing manufacturing processes. When considering the health risks posed by manufacturing, you always need to compare these with the viable alternatives, and not just consider a single technology in isolation.

    Even if high-strength, lightweight mandolin cases could somehow be made from recycled paper (and no, they can't with current technology!), the chemicals required to break down the paper fibers are extremely harsh, and these pose an environmental hazard unless carefully controlled. The paper fibers would need to be reformed into a composite made from large amounts of resins, and these are similar, chemically, to the resins routinely used in fiberglass and carbon fiber composites. They would NOT be easy to recycle.

    Just about the only kind of case that's easily biodegraded, and might be recycled, is a SOLID WOOD case. These existed 100 years or so ago, for example, for violins. Some molded leather cases also existed. No one I know is calling for a return to these kinds of cases! They were exceptionally heavy and provided only limited protection.

    The advent of modern foam padding, made mostly from urethane-type foam -- which is another possible environmental hazard, esp. for disposal! -- finally made it possible to offer shock protection inside structurally rigid case exteriors, regardless of their composition. And then there's the plush lining itself, which is typically made from synthetic fibers (rayon, acrylic, etc.), which are forms of plastics. And the latches are made from metal (or plastic, in some cases).

    Today, there is no such thing as a commercially viable, biodegradable, fully-recyclable mandolin case, nor is there much of a demand for one! So, before you condemn the manufacturing process for carbon fiber, you should investigate the manufacturing process of the alternative materials, such as fiberglass, plastic, and various other composite materials. There are always trade-offs to consider.

    The bottom line is that there aren't enough mandolin cases on the planet to move the needle on the environment, and there is no evidence that carbon fiber composites pose more of a health hazard, overall, than do many of the structural alternatives (metal, plastics, fiberglass, remanufactured wood products).
    Last edited by sblock; Sep-26-2020 at 2:44pm.

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  29. #24
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Just a small point, but a carbon fiber case is likely to last a lot longer than a plywood case covered in vinyl. Plywood cases do not stand up to heavy use (thinking pro musician) very well, they wear out quickly. Effective life depends on how it is treated of course. Not much difference if they sit in a wardrobe, but that is not what we would want.
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    Default Re: Carbon fiber and fiberglass cases

    Block,

    Who doesn’t love great ”conspiracy theories”? I was one of the original investors in the “Turbo Encabulator” and I’ve never looked back. I’m hoping the dingle arm located as a byproduct of the science behind the Encabulator can be incorporated into, within and surrounding the hinges on the carbon fiber cases:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXW0bx_Ooq4

    Heading our the door now to play O’Carolan duets with a friend. Humm, which mandolin case shall I take?

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Jim Roberts; Sep-26-2020 at 11:27pm.

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