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Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.
http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10130&t=44821
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Author:  SteveSmith [ Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

I'm getting close Hans, I need to level the frets and get the fret board all cleaned up then I can put on the hardware and string it up. It goes to it's new home this coming weekend.

Author:  rlrhett [ Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

FWIW I find Royal Lac doesn't need to be polished with abrasives. It is shellac after all. Once leveled it can be French Polished to a very high shine with a well conditioned rubber and a little alcohol. On a something as small as a mandolin I think it could be done in less than 15 minutes.


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Author:  SteveSmith [ Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

rlrhett wrote:
FWIW I find Royal Lac doesn't need to be polished with abrasives. It is shellac after all. Once leveled it can be French Polished to a very high shine with a well conditioned rubber and a little alcohol. On a something as small as a mandolin I think it could be done in less than 15 minutes.


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Since I sprayed the finish I simply treated it like I would anything else. I thought Royal Lac was pretty much impervious to alcohol after a few weeks. I would certainly be nice not to have to polish with abrasives; I'll have to try that on some scrap. Are you letting the RL cure before you do that? And can you tell me what you consider to be a "well conditioned rubber"?

Author:  rlrhett [ Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

I let it rest for one week. Didn't think about the resins Vijay adds making it impervious to alcohol. Perhaps if I had waited a month it would have been a problem.

A "well conditioned" rubber, in my mind, is a rubber that has been used already to apply shellac. The wadding won't be as absorbent than a newly made rubber. It should have been rinsed out with alcohol to remove most of the shellac and allowed to dry. I suspect that the used rubber also has a slight "polish" for lack of a better word on the outer layers of cloth.

I know I've told this story on the forum before, and Vijay will probably laugh to see it retold again. I live near Vijay of shellac finishes and went to his place to pick up a couple of jars. I told him I was following the discussion on spraying and would like to spray Royal Lac. He said I absolutely could if I wanted to... but why not just French Polish? I explained to him that it was too much work, too hard to do, etc.,. He just shrugged and gave me a knowing look.

After fighting with the spraying (no fault of Royal Lac) I finally said, "Oh, forget it!" (or something along those lines :lol: ) I decided to just do the French Polish.

Oh.... My... God.... Why had I been avoiding it? No loud compressor, no make shift spray booth, no discovering orange peel or fish eye or runs or drips the next day and hours of sanding, no weird bugs or dust in the finish. A day of picking the guitar up, rubbing on shellac while I listen to the radio, setting it aside for an hour or two, doing some more, drinking a beer, etc. Quick (and probably totally unnecessary) wet sand in the morning with 400P paper. Repeat. Week later I spirited off the guitar on the kitchen table while my daughter watched Frozen for the Nth time.

No runs, no fish eye, and a gloss to match any I've gotten from nitro or waterborne stuff. I don't have a guitar that has been heavily gigged for a decade to test the durability, but after about a year of regular playing the guitar looks as good as the day it finished it. This may not be practical to those shops building 30+ guitars a month, but for me it is just what the doctor ordered. The only way I'm going back to spraying is if someone invents a finish that you can spray on and it will level and polish itself to a piano finish!

Author:  SteveSmith [ Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

rlrhett - thanks for the informative response. I have never tried to french polish and I'm not sure how to go about it but after reading your response I'm going to look into it and give it a try. I have no problem spraying but I have a small booth and some commercial experience. I think it would be pretty cool to just sit and listen to the radio while polishing the guitar - assuming my creaky shoulder joints can handle it idunno

Author:  SteveSmith [ Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build

It's All done. Curly Maple and spruce with Mad Rose binding and ebony appointments. Finish is Royal Lac (sprayed on). Did the set up as advised by Hans (and others) E at 3/64", G at 4/64" and no relief. Delivered it this morning and the new owner was really happy with it bliss

I don't play mandolin so I've asked the new owner for a sound clip. I'll post one when I get it.

Here's some photos:

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Ebony headplate with ebony and maple truss rod cover. Truss rod cover uses small magnets to hold it in place.
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Ebony Backstrap. Tuners are Grovers.
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Neckjoint is a dovetail. Binding is Mad Rose.
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Ebony pickguard
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Pickguard support Mad Rose and maple
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Buttjoint. Tailpiece is from StewMac.
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Author:  Ruby50 [ Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Steve

Lovely aesthetic, and very well done. How do you feel the finish will hold up - it looks great! Did you invent the supports for the pick guard or is that a common technique?

Ed

Author:  Ken McKay [ Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

It is a very nicely done instrument.

Mundane question: how did you get the truss rod cover so nicely smoothed?

Author:  Clinchriver [ Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Nice one

Author:  SteveSmith [ Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Thanks guys for the nice comments.

Ed, the finish is harder than the waterbornes that I have tried and, while working it, feels about the same as nitro to me. Time will tell. The pickguard support is a common technique. I purchased one from StewMac (http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/All_Hardware_and_Parts_by_Instrument/Mandolin/Mounting_Bracket_for_Mandolin_Pickguard.html ) but didn't like the look of the plastic pieces so I kept the metal hardware and made the other pieces from wood.
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Ken, the truss rod cover is laminated ebony/maple. I just copied the standard Gibson shape. The truss rod cover is finished like the rest of the instrument in Royal Lac and was leveled, wet sanded to 6000 then hand buffed. Rare earth magnets in the cover and in the headplate are used to hold it on. It is easily removed by sliding it sideways.
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Hey Greg - I wish the timing had worked out better on this one so I could have brought it by to show you in person. Time for you to build one now :)

Author:  Haans [ Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Nice Steve!
Got the bug?

Author:  cphanna [ Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

I think it's excellent. Thanks for the "buffed and fluffed" pics at the end. That finish worked out beautifully!

Author:  SteveSmith [ Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Haans wrote:
Nice Steve!
Got the bug?


Thanks Hans, I sure do want to build another one, an F5 I'm thinking - just for the extra challenge.

Author:  pdolan [ Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Steve. Your mandolin is gorgeous. Thanks for posting the process.

Author:  dzsmith [ Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

I love it!
Thanks very much for posting the build process.
Really great work Steve!
Dan

Author:  SteveSmith [ Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Steve's A5 Mandolin Build-All done, photos at the end.

Hey Pete, was that your sweet pair of 12-fret slot head 00's that I saw in our luthier meeting today? If so they are really nice. Great job - I like the torch inlays and they both sound great!

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