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Thread: Mandolin Up-Cycling

  1. #1
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Mandolin Up-Cycling

    This is not something I'd normally do, indeed some might consider it sacrilege, but I'll post here anyway so you can all criticise me if you want. I might

    Some time back I acquired a couple of bowlback which had nice enough bowls, but otherwise had too many issues to be worth rescuing. Time to strip them down to just the bowl and turn them into new(-ish) instruments.

    This is very much a back-burner project, so progress over the last several months has been glacial, but there is at least a little to share now.

    First up is an F DeMurada bowl, the paper lining has been soaked off (there was a cloth or gauze lining under that which also went), and new maple lining fitted, and yes it's a little untidy round the back of the bowl, but still much less so than the original lining which was clearly fitted by someone who had as much difficulty as me working to that shape! Plus this all experimental luthiery here folks

    The old loose softwood tailpiece block has been replaced, and some new chunkier kerfed linings added too. I'm hoping all this will strengthen and stiffen up the bowl a little while keeping it nice and light, but we'll see I guess.

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    While I was at it, I cleaned up the outside of the bowl to see what I had to work with, looking not bad at all, but there's some old, day-glow white, filler here and there, which may well cause me finishing issues later on.

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    The new neck has had a bit of work too, here with Golden Age tuners being test fitted:

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    That's all for now folks, no idea when the next instalment will be, but I think I'll probably just have fun experimenting with this one.

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  3. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Up-Cycling

    Not sacrilege at all IMHO! You are giving this a new lease on life. Bravo! This is a labor of love and this bowl can make music again!
    Jim

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  5. #3
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Up-Cycling

    Sacrilege would be to paint the mandolin shaped objects blue and sell them as decorative art pieces. Sacrilege would be to cover them in bling and try to sell them as great mandolins.

    Good luck and keep us posted as you can.
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  6. #4
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Up-Cycling

    A tiny update: experimenting with bending the cant in the top.

    Now, I've seen this done on a mould, but for Neapolitan bowlbacks, the typical scorch marks on the underside of the top suggest a hot pipe. I don't happen to have one of those, as I've always used an electric bending-iron, so I thought I'd give that a go. The usual wet-bend on offcuts went fine, but concerned that steam would simply unstick the centre seam, I also tried a dry bend: that was rather difficult and resulted in a bit of fibre tearing. So... to summarise, I ended up dripping water into the "groove" avoiding the centre seem as much as possible, and then bending. Very much a case of "stead as she goes", quite hard to get the thing moving, but you keep at it, and gradually the bend gets there:

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    The "groove" BTW was simple routed out, then the sides chamfered. The depth of the groove leaves a 2mm thick top in that area which matches the instruments I've measured.

    BTW The annular ring around the soundhole is a very non-tranditional addition: it's made from maple with grain at right angles to the top. I believe it may have been John Hamlett in this very forum where I picked up that trick: seems to stop the top wasting energy by flapping around uselessly in that otherwise weak area and increase volume and definition. Time will tell how that works out.

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  8. #5
    Registered User sebastiaan56's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Up-Cycling

    I have a piece of angle iron that i put onto my electric bending iron with some hose clamps. It makes the bending a bit easier as you dont have to keep swapping the sides you are bending. Ive learnt not to keep the iron too hot and the actual bottom of the crease is about 1.5mm. FWIW I bent to 7degrees with a 2.5mm cant. More than enough rigidity IMO.

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    Tavy 

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