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Monthly Update 
January 2009
In This Issue
Product Highlights
Luthier's Tip
Quick Links
More About Us
Dear Luthiers,
The New Year ...

It's the beginning of a new year and time for new things. A time for cleaning up the shop, a time for checking up on some safety issues, a time to try some new projects, a time to plan some good deed for a friend or loved one, and a time to contemplate the things you'd like to accomplish in the next 12 months.

I continue to be blessed by my involvement with the craft of luthierie, and my life is enriched by the many friends I have who equally enjoy the art. My relationship with you is important to me, and I look forward to working with each of you in the coming year.

Thank you for your continued interest in our services, and thank you for your business.

From all of us here, we wish you a wonderful, healthy, and prosperous 2009.

Thanks for building with us...


PS: Please make note of our new address and phone number:
Siminoff Banjo & Mandolin Parts
PO Box 2992
Atascadero, CA 93423

New shop...

Last month, I told you that we were moving to a new shop and that we'd be in a greatly expanded and much more efficient space by the first of the year. We've received several emails asking about our new facilities, and our marketing director, Kali, suggested that I provide some sneak previews of the new shop this month to give you a better idea of how we will be better equipped to serve you.
Day One
We've moved about 30 miles north of our previous shop, in an area of California known as the "Central Coast " - about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and about 10 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. We're in a new building that is 1,710 square feet with 12' ceilings, at about 900 feet elevation. The area has colder winters and warmer summers than where we were, but with very consistent (low) humidity; an important factor where wood storage is concerned.

The high ceilings provide us with vertical storage and access for those woods we process quickly (Ken welded some wonderful vertical racks to separate the various species and secure them to the walls with chains). We built a new soundproof room for our three carvers with a fully integrated dust collection system. And, we've laid out 65' of counter space for the numerous pin routers and custom tools that are the mainstay of our production workflow.
Day Six
Our re-sawing, thickness planning, and thickness sanders are now combined into one efficient area with its own dust collection system, and our larger padded workbenches (we use carpet to protect instruments we are working on) give us expanded room to handle instruments in a careful and efficient manner.

De-damping is carried on in a separate room, as is our inventory and shipping area. And, most importantly, we have room for six workbenches for the luthierie classes we hope to announce in mid-summer.

Preparation of the space (wiring for the steam chamber and carvers, and framing out the needed rooms) began about a month before our move. The move itself was tedious and not the kind of thing I'd like to do every day. Our equipment is heavy, delicate, and clumsy to move. We have tons of templates and fixtures that needed to be moved to the new shop, and I'm glad to report that our breakage was virtually zero (I did accidentally kick a shaping fixture and broke a plastic guard - which I immediately fixed - but that's about the extent of the damage).

The team moved everything in 4 days, and we spent most of the week between Christmas and New Year setting things back up. As I write this month's update, we're still knee-deep in boxes. Moving a shop is a nightmare, but I'm surprised how far we've gotten in such little time.

Kali and Rosemary were able to process our on-line orders on time and only a few of our mandolin kit orders were delayed, and I'm deeply appreciative to Mark, Andy, Ken, Zachary, Logen, and Bob for their devoted effort during the move.

If you're coming through California, we welcome your visit.

Product Highlights

And, speaking of new things, my new book, Siminoff's Luthiers Glossary is now available for shipment. To order online click here.Manual

Peterson 490 Manual- I've taken the time to write an instruction manual for using the Peterson Model 490 Strobetuner with tap tuning. The manual describes the various features of the Peterson Model 490 and highlights those functions that are used for tap tuning - info that is not included in the standard Peterson Manual. If you have purchased a 490 from us, you will find this manual helpful. And, it is absolutely free. Just drop an email to me at and put PETERSON 490 MANUAL in the subject line. I'll be glad to send you a PDF file (848K) of the manual.

Luthier's Tip: Fitting one-piece bridges 

The early models of Gibson's mandolins featured a one-piece, non-adjustable bridge. These bridges did not have two posts that are common on adjustable bridges, and fitting the bridge base to the soundboard requires a slightly different fixture than the one used for bridges with posts. Page 124 of The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual shows photos of the fixture used for adjustable bridges, and the images also show how to place a piece of sandpaper on the soundboard and use the fixture to shape the bottom of the bridge base to the shape of the soundboard.
One-Piece Bridge
The process for fitting the bridge to the soundboard is identical for one-piece bridges except that the fixture clamps around the entire bridge rather than attaching to the posts of the bridge.

The fixture is rather easy to make. Cut the handle support from a piece of maple and attach two 10/32 lag screws into the handle's face. The lag screws should be separated by a distance that allows the bridge to slip between them. Then fashion a simple wood cover, and use two wing nuts to secure the cover and bridge in place.

Product of the Month: Body Templates

Body TemplateWe have been providing an excellent line of laser-cut body templates for the F5, F4, A5, A1 mandolins as well as one for the H5 mandola. The highly-precise templates are made of bright-green transparent plastic (so you can find them more easily than clear ones), and they include centerlines, tone bar and brace locations, crosspiece location lines, and cutouts for the soundholes (f-holes or oval soundholes according to instrument model). For the month of January, you can save $5.00 when you purchase one of these templates. For more information on these templates, click here to go to the on-line ordering page. When ordering online, use promo code fiveofftemplate at checkout. Limit one template offer per customer.
Save $5.00
Body Templates Special
January's Product of the Month: Save $5.00 on your purchase of one Body Template. Limit one template offer per customer. This discount may not be used with any other offer or discount. Enter fiveofftemplate at checkout to receive discount.
Offer Valid: January 7, 2009 through January 31, 2009