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Thread: Firewood mandolin

  1. #26
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Incredibly beautiful Mandolins there John,the color is simply stunning !. How old was the wood when you began to use it ?. Re.
    the quilt - you have a great tradition of quilt making in the USA. I've seen a few American made quilts that would cost more than the Mandolins - works of art in their own right & lovely pics. - that's my new screen saver right there,
    Ivan
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  2. #27
    Registered User aphillips's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I don't have anything constructive to add except that this thread rocks John! Cool story.
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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    John-

    I started looking at this thread while you were in the middle of posting pictures. Beautiful work!

    My suggestion? ... Do not use this mandolin for firewood ... waste of time & money

  4. #29
    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Thanks for posting that step by step process John, very cool and informative. Beautiful mandolins (and quilt) too!

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  5. #30
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Not too bad for a firewood mandolin!
    Beautiful wood and work, and great shots of the steps in the process. I think that's a great name for the whole line of instruments made from this wood: Firewood Mandolins. The marketing plan sells itself ... Want an instrument made with wood that has some fire in it? Just look at the flame in these! And if anything ever goes wrong, remember Firewood makes good firewood.

    And you already have plenty of pics for the webpage.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  6. #31
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    John,

    As I've come to expect from your new mandolins, impeccable craftmanship with a fascinating story, both expertly presented. I especially like how you start with the tree.

    Some day I'm gonna bring you some curly Bradford pear - don't know diddly about the density or stiffness, but you just showed how the wide growth rings aren't necessarily a dealbreaker. I've been surprised at the strength of the curl it can have. I've wondered about it's usefulness as an instrument wood for 3 or 4 years now.

    It's overused in the landscape so for wood scroungers like me, every thunderstorm or ice storm brings new opportunities . . .
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    Clark Beavans

  7. #32
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    That stuff does look interesting, Clark. I bet it would burn just fine in the stove!

    Someone asked how big the logs were. The biggest one was just big enough really. I was able to get some vertical grain guitar backs about 8" wide but only because the tree grew so fast that there was virtually no heart. I don't think it was over 20" in diameter.

    Someone asked how old the wood was when I started the mandolin. The tree was bulldozed in February of 2006, so it had been cut for about 4 years when I started the mandolin.

    I've weighed these two mandolins now (I weight all of them (unless I forget)), and even though sugar maple is denser than silver maple on average, the silver maple mandolin weighs several grams more than the sugar maple mandolin. The top and back thicknesses and graduations are very similar in both, and the top and back of the silver maple mandolin were both a couple of grams heavier before gluing too.

    They still sound pretty similar. I haven't heard anyone else play either one yet and there's enough difference in the way they sound that I would expect players to prefer one or the other. I always find it interesting how different players can be in their preferences. So far, I don't think either one of these sounds better than the other, just a little different.

  8. #33
    Registered User Chip Booth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Great thread, thanks!

  9. #34
    bird and mando geek Rob Fowler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Best looking firewood I've ever seen, John! Thanks for sharing!

  10. #35
    Registered User Charley wild's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Great thread John!

  11. #36
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    You've got skills, John. Skills.
    Chuck

  12. #37
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Thanks for the great pictures of how an instrument evolves from a tree. Really wonderful looking finish John.

    I seem to recall hearing that Mike Kemnitzer built one or two mandolin out of pearwood, I assumed that was from the trunk of a fruit tree though, which can be very hard wood to cut through with a saw.
    Bill

  13. #38
    Mark Jones Flowerpot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Excellent pictography, loved to see the process of log to finished instrument.

    You gonna bring that one to Galax? I'd love to "burn up" a tune or two (sorry).

  14. #39
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I've thought about that, and concluded that since camp fires are not allowed at Galax I can safely take the mandolin and still have it to bring home afterwords. This one was sort of a departure; usually mandolin wood has the potential to become firewood, but this time... hey maybe entropy can be reversed!
    I'm anxious to hear it played by some real mandolin players at Galax!

  15. #40
    Registered User Brett Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Nice work John. I'm really interested in the graduated frets. What are your initial impressions on that? Any difficulty in adjusting to the different widths? Do you even notice they are different? In theory, I have to say that little mod is pure genius

  16. #41
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I don't feel any difference at all between these and the frets I normally use, and I barely notice it looking at them. They're stainless steel, by the way, and I can only find SS fret wire in two sizes, so I ground a length of the bigger stuff down to .060" wide for the intermediate size. That's something I obviously wouldn't want to do regularly, but for one mandolin it wasn't too much extra work.
    I've never really liked wide (over .060") frets on mandolins, partly because they seem so crowded together up the neck, and I don't really like the feel of the tall, narrow 20s replica SS wire, especially in first and second position where sliding is sometimes needed. This seems to be a good compromise between look and feel, and I think it actually improves both.
    Whether it's "pure genius" or not, it wasn't my original idea, I read about it somewhere and thought it made sense.
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  17. #42
    Closet Mandolin Player Mark Walker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    John - great chronological journey you shared with us! And a couple of beautiful mandolins! Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!
    "The more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I truly am..."

  18. #43
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I've gone back and looked at the finished pictures three times now; that is one classy mandolin and it's stirring my MAS, and I'm not a big fan of scrolls. Very nice to see it from log to finished instrument. Thanks for the posting!
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  19. #44
    Registered User ISU Trout Bum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Unbelievably cool thread!! Thanks for posting. I love it!!!
    Eric Northway

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  20. #45
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    great effert...to be able to work all the way from the ruff sawed to the final piece..what craftsmanship...some of us dream of working a piece of timber into a work of art...a pat on the back with a sideways of envy...keith
    kterry

  21. #46
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I've reconsidered my opinion of these 2 Mandolins. Not only are they very beautiful,they are 2 of the most beautiful Mandolins i've ever seen & that takes a lot of doing considering the fabulous instruments we see on here every week - i wish i could get over to Galax just to see them 'in the wood',
    Ivan
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  22. #47
    Registered User Douglas McMullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing the story and photos.

  23. #48
    Mark Jones Flowerpot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Got to try out the firewood mando this week! It was extremely nice, felt good inthe hand and projected a powerful and balanced tone. I could tell it's new, but it has that certain tone that tells me it's going to break in to be a superb instrument. Had some tuning troubles with new strings and very humid conditions (after being in a climate controlled workshop), else I would have played it longer.

    As I told John, the tone really catches your ear and makes you want to play more. The tone reminded me of a friend's Dudenbostel when it was new, another example of an instrument that I knew would break in and achieve finesse within a year of solid playing.

    Nice job John, you have a real gem here.

  24. #49
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Flowerpot View Post
    Got to try out the firewood mando this week! It was extremely nice, felt good inthe hand and projected a powerful and balanced tone. I could tell it's new, but it has that certain tone that tells me it's going to break in to be a superb instrument. Had some tuning troubles with new strings and very humid conditions (after being in a climate controlled workshop), else I would have played it longer.

    As I told John, the tone really catches your ear and makes you want to play more. The tone reminded me of a friend's Dudenbostel when it was new, another example of an instrument that I knew would break in and achieve finesse within a year of solid playing.

    Nice job John, you have a real gem here.
    Mark, what did you think about the graduated frets?

  25. #50
    Mark Jones Flowerpot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Firewood mandolin

    I think they work well. I didn't notice anything different in the feel other than it felt very playable and easy on the left hand. I think other differences in instruments such as neck shape and width, how the action is set, and the quality of the fretwork in general seem to be bigger factors in how it plays. But the graduated frets look really cool.

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