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Thread: Harwood mandolins and guitars

  1. #301

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Hi all,

    Last night I pulled my Harwood (Oct. 1886) mandolin out of the case and noticed broken strings. I removed the tailpiece cover and my heart sunk.

    The base plate (the part attached with three screws to the end) has two broken tabs where the strings hook. I was able to retrieve one tab, but cannot find the other.

    My question is: is it possible to fix the tailpiece base part that will allow continued use of the original parts?

    I would guess this occurred due to some sort of fatigue and itís age. Either way, I am hoping thereís light at the end of the tunnel to bring this mandolin back to life.

    Examining the broken tabs, the base plate appears to be brass. If I seek a base plate that is period correct, it would not include the original stamped date. With the age of this mandolin (136 years old), would it be possible to repair the broken tabs?

    I am seeking insights or recommendations from this community. Hopefully this mandolin can make music once again.

    Thank you!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #302
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I wonder if you can cut a small piece of brass that you can glue or screw into the wood. I don't know how to draw one but.....______| then the hook on top of the vertical line. Good luck..

  3. #303

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    You might cut new tabs where they are missing- they don't need to be very big- just long enough to hold the loop

  4. #304

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    The Oct '86 is just the patent date stamped onto the tailpiece, so there would have been a lot of these around - it's possible you could run across a direct replacement.

    I'm not recommending this (I jury rig my own stuff) but I'd just get a narrow strip of steel and crimp it with some pliers in a flat S configuration, loosen the right screw and slide one end up into the slot and hook the loop under the other end.

  5. #305

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    The answer is yes, and there are several ways to do it, either yourself or with help. Since its covered, if it looks a little different, you might not mind.
    If you live near a jeweler who does repairs….not all of them do, and ask for any brazed on pieces that a loop can hook over and take a 15 lb pull, he or she can gin up something. The plating on the brass is almost certainly nickel, and will be slightly damaged in a small area. You might get something that looks like a screw head.
    Note that the mandolin may have been designed for lighter strings than you have now, and might be hurting in other places too.
    A new base piece is possible, but your cover could be difficult to match, and many of us like to keep original hardware.

  6. #306
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Harwood_kc....I notice this is your first posting here at the Mandolin Cafe.

    Does this suggest your Harwood hasn't been included in this lengthy thread?


    If that is true, would you mind posting some photos of it...and naturally the tailpiece cover if you still have it.

    You do realize, that in the many many Harwood mandolins posted in this thread we have yet to come across two that are exactly alike.
    Always some variation somewhere.

    Maybe yours can help keep the "No Two Alike" streak alive.


    Mick
    Last edited by brunello97; Jul-23-2022 at 7:59pm.
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  7. #307
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    As noted, the tailpiece was patented in 1886 and the mandolin would be dated later probably somewhere +/- 1900. As Mick noted, post some clear photos of the whole mandolin. At the very least replace the tailpiece base with a functioning one and keep the old stamped one in the case for nostalgia purposes. Unless you have a jeweler friend it may be more expensive than it’s worth to repair the existing one. Also what strings are you using? They should be very light not standard mandolin strings.
    Jim

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  8. #308

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodawg View Post
    The Oct '86 is just the patent date stamped onto the tailpiece, so there would have been a lot of these around - it's possible you could run across a direct replacement.

    I'm not recommending this (I jury rig my own stuff) but I'd just get a narrow strip of steel and crimp it with some pliers in a flat S configuration, loosen the right screw and slide one end up into the slot and hook the loop under the other end.

    Thank you to everyone who offered helpful advice.. Your suggestions align with my instinct to create a workaround fix.

    If I decided to find a replacement, What sites would you search? eBay would be a good start. Any other recommendations would be appreciated.

    With creating a workaround fix, I am concerned about damaging the integrity of an antique. However it would be nice to play it again.. This is a family heirloom. I will take photos to share, along with what history was passed along.

  9. #309

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    This Harwood mandolin, circa 1900, has become a family heirloom. My great-great grandfather was the first owner, who was talented musically and played many instruments. When the mandolin was given to me, my father included a document with research he had found about this mandolin, as well as the family history.

    This Harwood mandolin came from the J.W. Jenkins Music Company of Kansas City. The Harwood triangle trademark is on the neck block. On the back of the headstock, it is stamped Harwood, New York. The serial number is 17002.

    Reviewing an old catalog photo from this thread, I believe this is a model No. 46.

    I recently posted about my dilemma with a pair of broken tabs. This has been repaired! I cut out a piece of thin-gauge nickel and used JB weld to epoxy the piece in place, and now the mandolin sings again.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by harwood_kc; Aug-16-2022 at 6:32pm.

  10. #310
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Good news on your Harwood!

    Quick question....what gauge strings are you using? In your photo they look pretty hefty.


    All the bowlback mandolin players here strongly recommend using extra light strings: .09-.32 maximum on these old instruments.

    You can get them from GHS strings.

    Your next to last picture shows the string height to be extraordinarily high, which might suggest too much tension on the strings or a neck that has already moved out of position.

    These weren't designed to handle the heavier strings used on carved top Gibson mandolins or other contemporary mandolins.

    Be very careful with how you string up your family heirloom. You can unintentionally cause real damage.


    Mick
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  11. #311

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    That’s great feedback. I had decided the light duty strings were not as light duty as I had hoped. Oddly enough, the GHS strings you recommended were in the mail. I will restring it and know they will be the better choice. Have you seen any other mandolins in the style of mine? I’ve enjoyed learning about the fascinating Harwood history.

  12. #312
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    With checking first, I would say "No, I haven't seen another Harwood that look exactly like this."

    So, congratulations, again. You've kept the Butch Hancock-inspired Harwood "No Two Alike" streak going in fine style.

    _The bookmatched and figured staves
    _The very flat and curiously shaped 'cowl' at the neck / bowl joint.
    _The small, Martin-esque volute at the neck / headstock joint.

    Other familiar Harwood features are here but another unique mix of details and design.

    Yeah...good move on the strings.

    You've got to go as light as you can with these mandolins.

    When you wear out the GHS strings and your loving your Harwood, spend a bit more and put on a set of Dogal Calace Dolce strings. Lightweight, beautiful sound, great on the fingers, last forwever.

    You'll really enjoy how the Harwood sounds with them.


    Mick
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