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Thread: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

  1. #1

    Default Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Hi, so I have an old stradolin that I got for $8 at an antique store that I’ve been fixing up and I wanted some opinions on a varnish that will work for it.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    I'm not sure you have a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin there. Can you get a straight on shot of the front of the headstock and the back of the body as well? It may be the angle the image was taken from that's making it look odd.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I noticed that the f holes were the same as other Strads I’ve seen so I assumed it was. It had no print on the head and no makers stamp before I sanded it. If you know anything about it I’m more than happy to learn!

  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    It has segmented f holes but other builders used those as well. It's not a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin. Are the tuners and tailpiece attached with screws?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Yes

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    It looks a whole lot like some of the Blue Comet/Medalist branded branded mandolins. They have been attributed to Regal and United. I'm not really sure yet. I'm trying to find a mandolin with that same neck heel.

    Are there any numbers stamped inside it?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    The heel of the neck, the shape of the headstock, the slightly odd A style shape and the slash cut-off end of the fretboard should all be clues as to where it came from. I just haven't been able to nail down an example yet. Within a few hours there will a few of us working on this.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    The back and the heel of the neck look Kay like, the headstock looks a bit more elegant than the average Kay. Have you got the tailpiece cover as well or just the base?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    I’m looking for a replacement cover but this is all there is.
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  10. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Looking at the tailpiece I'm starting to suspect that this might have been built by a European company like Levin but I can't find an example That was obviously a copy of the Waverly Cloud type tailpiece but the profile is wrong. I'll have to see what the rest of the mandolin detectives think.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    OK, here is the same tailpiece on an Oscar Schmidt built Stella. That takes an overseas builder off the table. The headstock shape is similar as well. I just can't find that mandolin with those F holes yet. The dots on the fingerboard follow the same pattern as well.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Another Stella with the cover. It's a cloud style tailpiece cover, I have no idea if it fits the Waverly base. This had to be either after OS sold the Stella brand name or just before. I don't think it ever had a brandname, it was probably built for the trade. The body shape on these is different than the OP but there are some similar traits. Maybe a United build using old templates?
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    Ok, that’s really good to know! Now I just need to find out exactly what it is. However, could someone suggest a good varnish to refinish this instrument? I don’t have a good place or recipe to make any.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Repairing and refinishing old Stradolin

    You can get violin varnishes from a supply house such as International Violin Co. or Metropolitan Music. Spirit varnishes dry quicker, oil varnishes are easier to apply. Or you can use nitrocellulose lacquer in spray cans, available from LMI and Stew-mac, or use one of the Deft products. Or you can learn how to French polish shellac.

    All have their advantages, disadvantages, and learning curves.

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