1/21/2014

c.1935 Kay-made KayKraft Archtop Mandolin




This is a customer's instrument that's been long overdue on the repairs. It came to me with a "spare neck" of the same type and same period as its own build, but stripped and bearing a full ivoroid-veneered KayKraft script at the headstock. The original neck was damaged at the heel and so I installed this one to replace it. Other work included a fret level/dress, new ebony bridge, new bone nut, general cleaning, and coloring/vintage-ing of the new neck to give it an old, period feel. I had to wait around a bit so that my spraying area was warm enough to heat and then spray the nitro which meant that this took a back seat for a while.



Kay's two-point design is a classic that's emulated in a sense by modern Breedlove instruments. It's immediately identifiable and pretty classy. This one (like most of them) has a laminate body and sunburst finish. The celluloid binding is on both the top and bottom edge.


The original neck for this mandolin had a black-painted face but this replacement neck is definitely way more fun with the bold KayKraft logo stenciled onto the ivoroid background.


Pearl dots in an (as typical) dyed maple board. The original brass frets were all in good order though they did need light seating here and there and a big dressing at the edges and corners.


The new ebony bridge makes contact across its length and is roughly the size of some of those old fixed Stradolin bridges.



The original finish is all weather-checked and yellowed but still looks great.





The Klusons from the other neck transplanted just fine.


The neck set worked like a charm. It looks like there's a gap in this pic but it's only the bottom 1/8" which seems to have been slightly rounded-off from sanding whenever it was extracted. The replacement neck is poplar and came "in the white" -- stripped and rough with a couple of curious tiny holes here and there. The fretboard on it needed some regluing all along its length, too.


1 comment:

Darlene said...

Nice work. Did you sell this instrument? I have a pre-war Kay that needs a neck reset. LOVE the sound!