Page 8 of 8

   He takes the rough pickguard and sticks it to a simple shaper template, and runs it on the pin router.
  He bevels the edge.
   Sands and fairs the bevel.
  Finally, he buffs the pickguard to a high shine. Another Collings guitar has made it through the incredible gauntlet of operations and inspections!

Not a full exposé, but some cool pictures.
  Mandolin production is the newest enterprise at the Collings factory.
   CNC fixturing is just as important in the mandolin section.
   All of the mandolin tooling is bright and shiny, because it's mostly quite new.
   Vacuum chucks for fingerboards
   Vacuum chucks for peg heads
   A tiny go bar deck for a tiny body.
   Check this out. It's a real pain to fit those curved top braces to a curved top.
   Not so, if you make BOTH on CNC equipment.
   Here a billet of spruce is precisely machined to fit to the curve of the mandolin top. It's a snap to rip out a couple of perfect braces from this piece.
   A simple jig locates the braces.
   There are only two top braces inside a mandolin.
   The mandolin side bending rig.
  This is clearly the direction that the guitar side bender will take.
  Spring clothes pins fit the smaller linings of a mandolin.
   Neck and end blocks, also made on CNC, are glued at the same time.
    Sides are held in CNC made phenolic and aluminum molds.
   Check out this bit of binding. Rather than assembling and mitering, the entire outline was cut from a solid piece of ivoroid. No sweat, if you happen to have your CNC programmed to cut the peghead veneer, too.
   More CNC parlor tricks. The end of the bound fingerboard is undercut on the CNC.
   And, sheets of laminated ivoroid are cut to match.
   Look at this little piece.
   Here's the back side.
   Simply snap in place.
   And you get a terrific look of binding and purfling.
   This is the cantilever support for the fingerboard as it hangs over the body. Only Collings makes this out of one piece.
   A tricky little CNC-cut piece of ivoroid goes in here.
   To complete the top binding. If you're not into mandolins, you may not recognize this piece. Take my word for it, it's way cool.
   This next CNC trick is just plain not fair. Strips of laminated ivoroid are sliced on the machine.
   And, a tiny 0.020" cut is made along the length of each strip.
   Into that strip fits a 0.020" black strip, forming the most perfect laminated binding, with built in side purfling!
   And, that nasty piece around the "button" of the heel. Why not make it of solid ivoroid with an inlay, so you don't have to bend it either? Why not, indeed.
   The ubiquitous rack of instruments in progress.
   Collings mandolin #1.
   A laser. Any good mandolin maker needs a laser. Oh yeah.
   Secrets, posted on the wall.
   A finished mandolin. Yep, they really are finished completely, just like this, before the holes are cut.
   And, wouldn't you know it, they're cut on the laser! Now, that's really not fair. When the laser cuts the f-holes, it doesn't crinkle the finish in the slightest, and it also burnishes the edges of the holes, so there's no cleanup to do at all.


Back to Index Page