The Craftman's Journey: Part VIII

by Midnight Freemason contributor
Michael Shirley

Before he could give the mandolin any color, Joe needed to put it together. The neck needed to be attached to the body, the binding needed to be glued on, the fingerboard needed to be glued to the neck (who knew rubber bands could be so useful?), and everything needed to be scraped and sanded smooth.
And so it was. But that wasn’t the end of it. Once it looked like a mandolin, Joe needed to shape the neck to the right feel. That night, he posted that it was the most natural feeling neck he’d ever held. Later on I asked him what he meant by that. “My hand fell into a G chord when I picked it up,” he said. I went over to his house with a case I’d picked up to see if it would fit, and he handed me the mandolin.

He was right. My hand fell into a G chord. “Okay,” I said, “now I want to play it.” Joe laughed. “Not quite yet,” he said. “I have to stain it first. And finish it. And let it dry. And polish it. Maybe I should put some strings on, too. It would probably sound better if I did.” “So,” I said, “stain next?” “Yep,” he said.

This is the eighth installment of Michael Shirley's Mandolin Series.  To be continued . . .


W.B. Michael H. Shirley is Past Master of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He's also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. He's also a member of the newly-chartered, Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Urbana-Champaign. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.

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