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Thread: Mandolin work holding device

  1. #1
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Mandolin work holding device

    I was wondering if anyone use's something similar to a violin cradle for working on mandolins. The only problem with a violin cradle like device is the limited neck support not suitable for refretting. I currently use one of these leather bunny ear rest filled with sand from LMI. It's great for refretting and other stuff but it trully doesn't lock the instrument down so it cant move. What do you guys use? Any home made or bought jigs to hold a finished mandolin? Pictures if you have them would be appreciated...Mike

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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    I have been using a device called the "apprentice" which was designed and made by my friend, Bill Schmidt. It took a month to really begin to be comfortable with it but now I would be lost without it. The range of use is really great as it adjusts to hold just about any shape and can hold tiny fiddles, dulcimers, auto harps, banjos, guitars, Ovations, and I have used it for working on 3/4 size upright basses. It is always a safe place to set an instrument so there is never a danger of string clippings, tools, glue, or anything else that might happen to be on a work bench.

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    I really like the idea of the apprentice

    For refrets I've been either using my knee as a rest (just place under the fret you're putting in), or else gently hold the neck in one hand and then hit with the other

    I figure that if I need to hit the frets hard enough for that to be impractical and/or painful, then I'd be hitting it too hard anyway!

    Of course I'm just making this up as I go along.... can you tell?

    John.

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    Registered User Rob Grant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    I use a "sand snake." The "snake" consist of a long cloth tube (~1 metre) filled with fine sand and closed at both ends. I coil it on the work bench so that it can support the various portions of the instrument that I happen to be working on. You can even lay a portion of it over the neck or body to gently secure the instrument. The key is to use a soft, strong cloth for the tube and don't pack the sand too tight.

    I got the idea from my workshop "rodent controller"... a local Night Tiger or Brown Tree Snake that hangs out in the rafters during the day (below).
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    Rob Grant
    FarOutNorthQueensland,Oz
    http://www.grantmandolins.com

  5. #5
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    Gee, mate, you could have got a cat.
    :-)
    Bill

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    Gee, mate, you could have got a cat. :-)Bill
    He did but the snake ate it

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Registered User Mandolincelli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device


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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    It's funny you mentioned this then i was reading and old Guitarmaker magazine and seen an article by you in it today while at my real job.Do they still sell these devices? Can't find any info on the web about them. They were sold by the widget works and a google search of that gives you a million non related hits...Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Lewis View Post
    I have been using a device called the "apprentice" which was designed and made by my friend, Bill Schmidt. It took a month to really begin to be comfortable with it but now I would be lost without it. The range of use is really great as it adjusts to hold just about any shape and can hold tiny fiddles, dulcimers, auto harps, banjos, guitars, Ovations, and I have used it for working on 3/4 size upright basses. It is always a safe place to set an instrument so there is never a danger of string clippings, tools, glue, or anything else that might happen to be on a work bench.

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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    The Apprentice is not currently available but may be later this year. Bill Schmidt doesn't have a web site nor e-mail and refuses to get either. He is retired and not much in the mood to work too hard making them anymore, so another friend and I are slowly working toward making them available again. Bill made probably around 50 of them before he shut down his business venture. The product still has some inertia and could stand a revival.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    OK, now I am curious, Can we see a picture of the "Apprentice".?
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    I got this idea from Siminoff's book where he advised to get a "wood workers clamp", drill a hole in the jaws and glue some leather in the hole to prevent damage.
    I made mine out of some pieces of oak I had laying around and used a couple pieces of "all thread rod" with wing nuts. The book told to get a large wood working clamp and drill a 1 3/8" hole though it with the jaws clamped together. I glued some leather strips inside to protect the finish and have some extra strips of leather to compensate for different sizes of necks. You can vary where you place this in a vise to get the instrument at the height you prefer. And you can turn the instrument the other way to work on the nut or headstock. Hope this helps.
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  13. #13
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    Some creative googling reveals that Harry Fleishman did a review on the apprentice in American Lutherie #37.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    Cobbled this up from the scrap pile, been meaning to upgrade for decades, holds all mando/dola shapes, built a bigger one for octave/cello shapes, have a coffeecup/beercan drink holder for it, just havent installed it yet......
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  15. #15
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    oldwave maker that is a cool work device. Thanks for sharing the pic...mike

  16. #16
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    Mike have you guys ever thought of maybe offering a blueprint of the device?..Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Lewis View Post
    The Apprentice is not currently available but may be later this year. Bill Schmidt doesn't have a web site nor e-mail and refuses to get either. He is retired and not much in the mood to work too hard making them anymore, so another friend and I are slowly working toward making them available again. Bill made probably around 50 of them before he shut down his business venture. The product still has some inertia and could stand a revival.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mandolin work holding device

    There was never a plan for the device. Bill just made it and it worked. I will bump my friend with the CNC, maybe it could happen sooner than later.

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