Workshop: Martin Style 15 Mandolin

Here's a 1930 style 15 Martin mando that I just got in this afternoon.

The (only, main) brace was loose so it's already setting up inside with some shims popped up against it to act like clamps while it glues up.

I've also already reseated a number of frets and given it a full fret level/dress, so now I'm to the next bits so that (hopefully) all I need to do when I get back to work on it tomorrow is string it up and give it a good setup and play-through.

Over time this original ebony bridge warped and twisted. It's still reusable (I hate throwing out nice bridges), but needs work to be useful again. Here I've just about finished fitting the feet with 60 grit sandpaper. Next I'll imrpove the sanding job down to 220. After that, because it's lost height, I'll have to shim the feet up with hardwood veneer, but at least the shims will conform to the top's arch just about perfectly.

This looks hokey but it works great. Those two pieces of scrap hardwood are holding up the main brace inside while the glue sets overnight. It'll be good to go by mid-afternoon tomorrow. When doing repair jobs, improvisation is a good skill to acquire as it saves time and effort and possible damage. If I had used clamps to do this job, I might have marked the top up even with the best padding job. Spruce dents easily!

So, after all this, I'll give this mando a cleaning, cleat one tiny hairline near the tailpiece area, let it all glue up, and give it a strum tomorrow.

p.s. -- this model is rare as heck in the sunburst finish!

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