Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two Mandolins - Keep the Customer Satisfied

And I'm one step ahead of the shoe shine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied,

About a week ago, a coworker asked me to price some repairs and maintenance on two family heirlooms.  The one mandolin is a Kay L4, and the other is unlike anything I've ever come across before.  Both had obvious signs of age and use, but appeared to be in or very close to playable condition.  After reaching agreements on the scope of work to be done and the price, I ordered some replacement parts.

Although the Kay is in the better condition of the two, it had some issues.  Some of the rear binding near her neck joint was loose, the inside of her case was showing some wear, and her tuning pegs were deteriorating.

Although there were some scratches in her finish, she mostly needed a good, thorough cleaning and waxing.

The owner was interested in restoring this mando to playable condition, but was not yet ready to replace the buttons on the original tuners or to replace the tuners entirely with donor parts from another mando.  Instead, we agreed it made sense to replace the tuners with an inexpensive set, and to save the original tuners to be refurbished or replaced another time.

Although the screw holes and other dimensions matched up with the original set, the new set had two more screw holes per side.  To avoid altering the headstock, I decided I would leave the additional screw holes open.

The binding repair was next on the list.  It took a little CA glue with some painters tape to clamp things in place.

After stripping off all the grime and old wax with some Murphy's Oil Soap, I put on a coat of wax.

After removing the existing peg collars, I realized the new collars that came with the new pegs were slightly larger.  So, after cleaning and waxing the headstock, I cleaned the original collars and reinstalled them.

After applying some blue tape to affect the surrounding surfaces, I lightly sanded the grime and pitting off of her frets.

It was getting too cold to continue working in my shed, so I decided to leave the remainder of the binding repair for the next day.  I brought Kay inside, and put a new set of strings and her tailpiece cover back on her before calling it a night.

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