The F5 pickguard starts out as a sheet of tortoise celluloid. I cut the rough shape on a bandsaw.
Final shaping the pickguard blank on the router table.
I affix celluloid bindings using only acetone. No glue. The acetone welds the celluloid to itself easily if done properly.
A batch of F5 pickguards coming together.
Using this little channel routing tool I made, I form a channel in the pickguard’s celluloid reinforcement strip.
The channel accepts a steel rod which is encased in the pickguard for rigidity. This is an often overlooked detail .
After laminating the pickguard and reinforcement strip the Pickguard is ready for mounting holes. I’ve milled the edge of this pickguard to mimic the laminated type of pickguard seen on some Loar F5’s.
Beautifully translucent material. Here you can clearly see the steel rod embedded .
Time to stamp the Pickguard with one of my replica patent stamps. These are Identical to the original stamps in every way I can tell.
Making the pickguard’s bracket out of laminated celluloid. The silver plated hardware is courtesy of Steve Smith at Cumberland Acoustic.
The Pickguard with it’s celluloid block and bracket in place on a Wiens F5.
Starting a batch of mandolin bridges. I use a few simple jigs and tools to drill and tap the holes in the ebony bridge base blanks.
After cutting a lengthwise cove on the router table, I change bits and use this special router table template to form the top & bottom profile.
The bottom of the jig cuts the bridge feet to closely match my typical soundboard arch.
The top of the jig is shaped exactly like a Loar-era Gibson mandolin bridge. I studied and traced several loar bridges to arrive at this final shape.
The results of the router table work.
The saddle blanks are drilled and notched prior to the facets being cut on this old key cutter. It copies more than just keys folks.
Here’s a fresh batch of ebony mandolin bridge saddles.
After installing some stainless steel posts. I give the base it’s patent stamp. I follow that by blacking the bridge with india ink and polishing it out. then I put the silver-plated thumbwheels on & assemble the bridge .
Here’s a comparison between an original Loar bridge and a Wiens mandolin bridge.
The bridge and pickguard in place as I string up Wiens F5 #23 in the Fall of 2007.