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Antique Mandolin Restoration

All non-spudgun related discussion goes here such as projects, theories, serious questions, etc. All "off-topic" posts (aka useless posting, determined by moderators) will be removed.
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Antique Mandolin Restoration

Unread postAuthor: maverik94 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:04 pm

Before I start, I'd like to say that I know this is not spudgun related, but I already asked jrrdw if it was ok, and he said yes. So you don't have to tell me I should take it to Theopia (unless you're a mod of course). I figured that some of you might be interested in this because you may be interested in woodworking, etc. Alright. Hello to you all! As some of you may know, I am a musician, and I hope to make a career out of it in the future. I began playing the piano at a very young age, but quit after about 6 months. After a few years, I began playing the violin, and I still play that in multiple music groups. Recently, I have started playing the mandolin, and I bought myself a beautiful Ibanez Solid-Topped A style Mandolin. Here’s a picture of my baby:
Image
Anyway, recently I took out my great grandfather’s old mandolin. He passed it down to my grandmother, who passed it down to my mother, who passed it down to me. It was in decent shape, so I have decided to refurbish it as best I can. It is a fairly decent quality “beetle-backed” mandolin (because of the rounded back). It has no label inside it with a date, like most instruments have, but after some research, I found out it was probably built in the first 10-15 years of the 20th century, so that makes it approximately 95-110 years old! It was built by H.A. Weymann and Son, a company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I have read that they were a fairly respected company that specialized in making guitars, mandolins, and other string instruments. Anyway, the instrument is in pretty decent shape, I just need to lower the action, repair a seam that’s come open, and fix up the old tuners. So without further ado, here are some pictures:
Here is the mandolin, minus the bridge, nut, tailpiece, and tuners (a friend of mine who has made a few mandolins says that the red part under the soundhole was often made of tortoise shell, but I'm not sure that's what this one's is made of):
Image
Here is the “beetle back” of the mandolin. I think it’s beautiful…how bout you?
Image
Here is the back of the head, minus the tuners:
Image
Here is the label that is on the back of the head
Image
Here are the bridge and the nut. I need to sand down the bottoms of both to lower the action (the distance the string needs to be pushed down). The nut is the small white piece and the bridge is the bigger piece:
Image
Here is the tailpiece (the part the strings attach to, opposite the tuners) which I have already buffed with my buffing wheel.
Image
Here is a close-up of the soundhole. Note the beautiful, inlaid design along the outside of it. ( I tried to use the macro setting for this but I just couldn’t get a clear picture, sorry:
Image
Here are the tuners. A few of these are a bit loose. Any ideas on how to remedy that?
Image
Here is the seam that I need to fill using hide glue:
Image
Haha, here is the case, which, as you can see, is a project of its own:
Image
Anyway, that’s that for now. I plan to start working on this as soon as possible. I will keep you posted, and maybe I’ll even post a video of me playing it when it’s completed. Thanks for reading!
Peace,
Maverik94
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Unread postAuthor: Gun Freak » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:14 pm

Thats awsome! Musicians unite :D
As there is no correlation between this and spudguns, it might get locked :roll:
Good luck with the restoration.
hohohoh watch this video :) it's cool
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnrrUCYXalw[/youtube]
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Unread postAuthor: maverik94 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:21 pm

Thats awsome! Musicians unite
As there is no correlation between this and spudguns, it might get locked
Good luck with the restoration.
hohohoh watch this video it's cool

haha, yes. And thank you, but I said in my post that I already cleared this with jrrdw...
And haha, that videos pretty cool
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"You can't be friends with anyone if you aren't friends with yourself."
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Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.
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Unread postAuthor: ThornsofTime » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:43 pm

I would like to add... that when working with instruments this old... Its usually a good idea to have a restoration professional take a look and tell ya an approx value in both "as is" and "after i fix it" condition. This being a family heirloom i wouldn't guess you are in the seller mindset, but thats always good information to have.

How many times have you seen an antiques roadshow episode where some little old lady "polished" some antique silver and its value went from thousands to hundreds (short answer is LOADS... get it looked at)

A vast majority of the time any work that NEEDS to be done can be done my yourself... but if you have a professional do it the liability is on his shoulders.

Just something to think about.

gorgeous instrument you have there. truly, you dont see woodwork like that anymore. I have an old banjo laying around of approximately the same era (mother of pearl and mahogany) and they are a DREAM to play/handle. Enjoy it! I wouldn't guess there are too many of those left in the world.

EDIT: just noticed that you also have what looks like the original case. BIIIIIGGGGGGG deal that is. I would store it in a water proof bin and use a store-bought if you plan on playing the instrument regularly. To preserve its condition I wouldn't let it see the light of day.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:04 pm

Where are the tuners loose? Between what and what?

That's really nice, keep it in your family allways no matter what...
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Unread postAuthor: maverik94 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:58 pm

I would like to add... that when working with instruments this old... Its usually a good idea to have a restoration professional take a look and tell ya an approx value in both "as is" and "after i fix it" condition. This being a family heirloom i wouldn't guess you are in the seller mindset, but thats always good information to have.

How many times have you seen an antiques roadshow episode where some little old lady "polished" some antique silver and its value went from thousands to hundreds (short answer is LOADS... get it looked at)

A vast majority of the time any work that NEEDS to be done can be done my yourself... but if you have a professional do it the liability is on his shoulders.

Thank you for the concern, but my philosophy about instruments is that if they are there, you should play them. If I got a real Stradivarius from someone, even though they're worth 2+ million dollars would I play it? You're damn right i would!! :) I would be careful with it, but I'd still play it. The whole point of me restoring this instrument is to play it. Also, I looked it up, and it turns out they made a lot of these mandolins, they're only each worth a few hundred dollars each (add the original case and it might be a little bit more) but they're certainly not exceedingly rare or expensive.
gorgeous instrument you have there. truly, you dont see woodwork like that anymore. I have an old banjo laying around of approximately the same era (mother of pearl and mahogany) and they are a DREAM to play/handle. Enjoy it! I wouldn't guess there are too many of those left in the world.

That's for sure, I have never seen a new mandolin that looks as beautiful as this one!
EDIT: just noticed that you also have what looks like the original case. BIIIIIGGGGGGG deal that is. I would store it in a water proof bin and use a store-bought if you plan on playing the instrument regularly. To preserve its condition I wouldn't let it see the light of day.

Yeah, I'm thinking I'll just get a new one, seeing as this one is in crap condition, though of course I will not get rid of this one.

Where are the tuners loose? Between what and what?

They are just a bit loose where the twisted screw-like part of the tuning peg meets the gear. My friend suggested trying to mix and match the gears to see if some go together better with others or failing that to splay the end of the pegs. Some of the pegs are a little bit bent, but that's ok, I just want them tight so they don't buzz when I strum.

That's really nice, keep it in your family allways no matter what...

Of course :D
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Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.
–Archimedes
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Unread postAuthor: maverik94 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:21 pm

Alrighty. So I plan to close that seam later tonight (If I can can get my homework done, that is). I'll let you know how it goes!
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Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:46 pm

Check the shoulders on the screws that hold the cogs, maybe there is some wear there that is causing some looseness. If that is the case you can get shim stock (.001 thickness) and wrap the screw shoulder to tighten things up. You said some 'pegs' were bent, that could cause the worm gear to mesh losely with the cog... :D
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Unread postAuthor: maverik94 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:53 pm

Check the shoulders on the screws that hold the cogs, maybe there is some wear there that is causing some looseness. If that is the case you can get shim stock (.001 thickness) and wrap the screw shoulder to tighten things up. You said some 'pegs' were bent, that could cause the worm gear to mesh losely with the cog...

Alrighty, will do! I'll get back with you when I try it out!
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Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.
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–Carl Denham

Current Project: None, I'm in Spudremission.
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