I grew up in Memphis. My hands have always been busy making music, building and restoring homes. I made my way to Portland in 2006. After completing the interior restoration of my new home, I wondered what I could do with all of the tools and machines I had accumulated in the basement shop.
A good friend, past bandmate and the finest woodworker I know, Jason Brooks (Minor Lee Woodworks) planted the seed of working in production. With limited space in the basement, it made sense to shoot for something small. Mandolins came to mind. I had always wondered what it took to make such small instruments keep up with the volume of my archtop banjo. Jason supplied me with a slab of maple for the first test instrument. A trip to visit Bruce Harvie of Orcas Island Tonewoods would supply me with material and some critical knowledge for the next ten instruments.
At that time, I owned a nice Crafters of Tennessee A5 mandolin. I had been eyeing some F5's, but with the banjo as my primary instrument, I couldn't justify that purchase. It made sense to me to start with the F5. Baptism by fire & why not?
After spending most of a year reading, swapping out tools and making jigs and fixtures, I started the process. I'm very pleased with what has happened, so far! Much more to come!
I plan on building some A5's next. One test instrument first, and then a full batch. I have now finished 26 F5's, and I feel like it is time. Very excited about this decision!
I'm lucky to live in the same city with Hermon Joyner! He was kind enough to stop by see what was going on. He is responsible for The Mandolin Player, and I really appreciate what he had to say about my instruments in a blog entry! Thank you, Hermon!