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Thread: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

  1. #1
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    I recently finished up the octave mandolin I've been working on (with huge thanks to the various members of the cafe who helped me work through some questions about top thickness and arch heights) and handed it over to its new owner. So I thought I'd put some details up here. I based the body outline on the Lyon and Healy's of thee 1920s, with a classy asymmetrical two-point body and fully hand carved back and top. A deep body provides the solid bass thump, and the trebles are clear and punchy. The top is black, with rich brown tones glowing through, and the bindings are grained ivoroid. The neck is adjustable with a traditional truss rod, and reinforced with carbon fibre.

    2-point Tawhai Octave Mandolin
    Nut width: 38mm
    Scale: 575mm
    Soundboard: Western red cedar
    Back, sides and neck: Tawhai
    Fretboard: Puriri, 10inch radius
    Frets: Jescar EVO Gold
    Finish: Nitrocelulose Lacquer
    Inlay: NZ Paua abalone, bone, black mother of pearl
    Tuning machines: Golden Age, aged brass with ivoroid buttons
    Bridge: Ebony and stained tawhai
    Tailpiece: hand-cut 3mm brass, aged with beeswax

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Looks nice. I'd never heard of Tawhai actually. However, I approve of New Zealand builders using New Zealand wood.
    David A. Gordon

  4. #3
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Nice work Davy. That is a beautiful octave.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Very nice! I like the headstock inlay, Kangaroo?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  7. #5
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Looks nice. I'd never heard of Tawhai actually. However, I approve of New Zealand builders using New Zealand wood.
    Thanks! Yeah, I'm a big fan of using materials that speak of the place they come from. The tawhai I'm using here is really tawhai raunui, or red beech, which is endemic to New Zealand. It's similar to maple in many ways, and very stable when dried. Great stuff!

  8. #6
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Very nice! I like the headstock inlay, Kangaroo?
    It's a hare. A few pacific cultures talk about a rabbit or a hare in the moon as opposed to the man in the moon generally seen from the northern hemisphere. I grew up in Scotland and I've never been able to really see a face in the moon, but I definitely see a hare in it now I'm living down under. It always reminds me how big the world is when I look at it.

  9. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Haha, that was my first impression but then I thought it might be a Roo. It reminded me of the book Watership Down when I first saw it.

    Beautiful work, I hope you post more in the future.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  10. #8
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    I see Lyttelton, where you are, is apparently 'brimming with bohemian artists,cafés, quirky shops and restaurants'.
    Sounds a good area for an instrument maker to be!

    One of my kids lived in NZ for a couple of years. We travelled around with him for a month, mainly in South Island in Feb 2019. I must say, there was more (actually much more) of the bohemian, quirky kind of thing than I'd expected. Lots of interesting cafes etc.

    Great place.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Gorgeous Octave, I really like the tail piece, but all in all very impressive, how's she sound?
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  12. #10

    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Beautiful design and execution! I would love to hear a recording of it if one is ever made. I love your bridge, very articulate work. I'm curious, the saddle looks to be a separate piece sitting in the bridge. Is this to allow shimming (or not) to adjust action as seasonal humidity changes?

    How hard is the puriri fretboard? We all need to think of reasonable ebony substitutes going down the road. Awesome work!

  13. #11
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    I see Lyttelton, where you are, is apparently 'brimming with bohemian artists,cafés, quirky shops and restaurants'.
    Sounds a good area for an instrument maker to be!
    'brimming with bohemian artists,cafés, quirky shops and restaurants' is I think marketing speak for overpriced and gentrified , but as a relatively recent blow in to the area myself I've got to share some responsibility for that. :-) I really do love it here - it's a wonderful community and it definitely beats rainy Edinburgh in November! Although I do miss Scotland's session culture.

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  15. #12
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    Gorgeous Octave, I really like the tail piece, but all in all very impressive, how's she sound?
    Thanks so much - glad you like it! She was sounding good when I sent her off but still had to open up. New owner has put heavier strings on the G and top D courses and seems very happy - apparently he's been playing her pretty much non stop which makes me happy. I've asked him for a sound clip or video so will post it when I can.

  16. #13
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    Beautiful design and execution! I would love to hear a recording of it if one is ever made. I love your bridge, very articulate work. I'm curious, the saddle looks to be a separate piece sitting in the bridge. Is this to allow shimming (or not) to adjust action as seasonal humidity changes?

    How hard is the puriri fretboard? We all need to think of reasonable ebony substitutes going down the road. Awesome work!
    Thanks Rob Roy! I'll try to post a recording soon if I can get one. And yes, the bridge is designed to be shimmable (is that a word?) when required. Puriri is fantastic timber - information about density online is mixed, but it looks to be in the region of 993 – 1217 m³. It's not as hard as ebony, but it's more than tough enough. It can be tricky to get big bits, but in small quantities sourced properly it's sustainable and, importantly for me, local. Lovely to work with too.

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    Nice work! I haven’t ever been south of the equator myself & it never occurred to me the perspective of the moon would be that different. I couldn’t ever see a face in the moon as a kid but, laying in the grass of a the night Jerry Garcia died, I saw a bearded face with glasses
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
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    2011 Weber Gallatin A20
    2013 Collings Mandola
    2021 Northfield Flattop Octave Mandolin
    2019 Pono Flattop Octave
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    And a few electrics

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  20. #15
    Registered User Davy Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: New 2-point Octave Mandolin in Tawhai

    A couple of videos of the OM being played. All recorded on a phone, so sound quality is what it is.



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