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'm now alternating between F5's and A5's with each batch. After 26 F5's I decided to take it a little easy on myself. My list has grown quite a bit recently. I'm booked out about a year and change. I am moving steadily forward. I started building 8 in each A5 batch. If you don't have "scroll fever", my A5's have all the tone and playability of my F5's. Same arching, same grads, same voice. My personal build is an A5, and it stands up to all of my other builds. Don't think you have to have that scroll.
Before March 2020, I welcomed shop visits. These days, I'm not really doing that very much. If it does happen, I'll have the exhaust fan in the shop on full blast, and ask that you wear a mask, please.