Saturday, December 8, 2012

 A nice piece of solid Honduras Mahogany just like the original.

 Unlike the original, I cut 2 grooves into the neck block on the table saw and inserted carbon fiber bars to add stiffness to the neck. The original just had the rosewood center strip, but I like the stiffness the carbon fiber adds because it helps increase the sustain of the strings when they are strummed.

 Cutting the scroll on the headstock is a difficult thing. It can get away from you quite easily. Orville Gibson designed this over 100 years ago, and it's still being imitated. He designed it so the vertical cuts are perpendicular to the fretboard surface, not the headstock. To make the cut, the neck is held in a jig while it is cut on a bandsaw with a 1/8" blade.

The neck is held in the same jig as it is smoothed out on a spindle sander.
After cutting the Mother-of-Pearl logo, the headstock is routed out using a Dremel rotary tool and very fine bits.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1906 Gibson F-2 Mandolin Restoration Process

I cut the logo by hand out of Mother-of-Pearl using a jeweler's saw and a very fine blade.

 The logos from that era can vary some from one instrument to the next, so having the original to go by allowed me to copy the size, shape and placement of the original.

Fitting the neck dovetail to the body is a time-consuming process. The curve of the body is not symmetric because of the scroll, and the neck must match the body. It also must be centered from side to side and set at the correct angle top to bottom for the strings to be the right height in the end.
I had to replace the white plastic crosspiece and the small trim piece since they were damaged. The cross piece is supposed to line up with the 12th fret when the fretboard is glued on.

 I glued very thin spruce wedges into the cracks in the top. It had some old wood filler in it that had flaked out. This will be a much stronger repair and help maintain the integrity of the solid carved top.

The position markers were originally made from the same tortoise-colored plastic as the pickguard. Only three of them were intact. The material is not available anymore, so I used a very small hole punch to make little dots out of a guitar pick.
 The fretboard is all bound and fretted and ready to glue to the body. I really love the shape of the fretboard end, and the mitered-corner bindings.