Q) What got you into making instruments?
A) A combination of things: dissatisfaction with the mandolin I had, twenty five years of woodworking skills, a shop full of machinery, a rack full of lumber and too much free time.
Q) Why do you use cedar for mandolin tops? It’s supposed to be spruce.
A) Different tonewoods have different qualities, and depending on the type of player, one wood may be better than another. If you like a rich, fat tone with bell-like trebles and long sustain, western red cedar is pretty hard to beat, especially for waltzes and ballads. If you play hard and fast, a stiffer spruce is probably a better choice.
Q) Do you use hide glue? If you don’t it will affect the tone.
A) I use several types of glue—including hide glue—depending on what I am gluing. And glue doesn’t affect tone, bad workmanship does.
Q) Do you make those instruments from kits?
A) I absolutely do not. With the exception of the F5 mandolins, all my instruments are my own designs. I’m not sure where I would get the “kits” to build them.
Q) I see you are missing a finger. What happened to it?
A) I count ten. I’m not sure I understand the question.