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After the sunburst colors are applied, all the binding gets scraped clean.

 And scraped, and scraped.

 Here in the spray booth, clear coats go over the entire instrument.

 A bunch of mandolins drying.

 Looks like home to me.

More standard models in the spray booth.

Charlie shows us the backside of a new Sam Bush model.

 In fact, it's the next one actually headed for Sam Bush himself.

 The Master Model does not go through the same spray booth line. After final sanding, the entire instrument gets a brushed coat of gamboge, the natural yellow pigment used by the old Italian master violin makers.

 Then, the sunburst shading is produced by wiping and rubbing waterbased stain right into the wood.

 The Master Model gets a hand applied varnish finish. The varnish is made right here at Opry Mills using the classic old time Cremona formula.

 Here's a shot of the interior doors to the spray booths. The one in the foreground is a varnish curing booth. UV lights are used to cure the natural oils in the varnish. The curing time is reduced from months to days with the high intensity lights.

 After the varnish is cured, it gets a "scuff sanding" to level and prepare the surface for the final French polishing.

 Charlie and his assistant are the only ones who do the French polishing.

It takes a long time to produce the soft glow and level finish.

 There's nothing like it, though, for that old time shine!

 Only about 2 Master Models are made each month.

 He can work on a few instruments at once, with some drying overhead.

 Every bit of the instrument gets a slow going over.

From the cut of the wood to the glow of the finish, this mandolin looks every bit like its famous predecessors.

This one was just getting its very last setup operation while we visited.

 And, luckily, Charlie let me take it home on the plane. The first mandolin player who saw it on display at Gryphon snapped it right up!

Speaking of details, even the original patent stampings are reproduced on the bridge and fingerrest..

Here's Charlie, doing the final sign-off.


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