Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two Mandolins - Lay Down Sally

There is nothing that is wrong
In wanting you to stay here with me.
I know you've got somewhere to go,
But won't you make yourself at home and stay with me?
And don't you ever leave.

I have enjoyed working on this mandolin.  But, for awhile, it was starting to look like this one was never going to leave my work bench.  After a long, cold winter spell, it was sometime in January when it was warm enough in the shed to work on reattaching the back panel.

Prepping for the new glue required very little clean-up work.  The old hide glue separated well, and most of it scraped right off with a razor blade.  I had sliced through some of the kerfing, back panel and one of the braces when separating the back from the sides.  They were clean slices that resulted in well-mating surfaces, so I was able to use them as gluing surfaces.

A few spool clamps, some quick clamps and a caul in the long direction of the mando was enough to apply clamping pressure for a few days.

Most of the visible surfaces at the edge mated up well.  A few gaps remained, so I used what was left from the replaced front brace to make some small filler pieces.

All of the stress from removing the back panel was starting to show, so some refinishing work was in order.  The front and sides also needed a few clear coats to bring out what was left of her shine.  I prepped the surfaces with minimal steel wool, hoping to preserve as much of the original finish as possible.

I was pleased with the way the front and sides came out, but not so much with the back.  After trying some spot-refinishing techniques, I decided it would be best to refinish the entire back panel.

More cold winter weather made doing finish work in my shed impossible until the end of March.  With the last of overnight freezing temperatures finally gone, I was able to get back to it.  After sanding off all of the original finish from the back panel, I sprayed on four coats of clear gloss lacquer.  I let the lacquer cure for a week before some light sanding with steel wool in preparation for three final coats.

Following another week of curing, all that was left was some cleaning and polishing, then reattaching the tailpiece, tuners and pickguard, and putting on a new set of strings.