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Our Handmade Purflings & Bindings

Our handmade purfling and bindings 🎼 When you get an instrument made by us absolutely everything in it is handmade even down to our purflings and bindings. Bindings are strips of wood, sometimes plastic, but we always use wood, that are used to bind the instruments around the edges. Inside of these bindings you can have purflings which will be clearly seen on the front and back of the instrument. Here is a little description on how we make ours: ♦️Thin strips of wood veneers are cut to length and depth. ♦️They are then layered up to the desired design and glued together. ♦️We then place them on the instrument mould and tape them in place so they dry to the shape we need. ♦️Taken off when dry and cleaned up from any excess dry glue. ♦️ Planed to height and ta-da ready to fit 🎼

Our Handcrafted Bouzouki

The stunning handcrafted JMI Bouzouki all made to the customers entire design and spec. So here's all the details: ♦️ Exotic Ebony back & sides ♦️ Special Grade Cedar Top ♦️ Mahogany Neck with Ebony fretboard inlayed with Pau Shell dots ♦️ Spalted Beech wedge and heel cap ♦️ Cocobolo Binding with blue/white purfling ♦️ African Blackwood headstock veneer with a specially requested finial on the top. ♦️ Finished with Ashton Bailey tailpiece and Gotoh Machine Heads This was an absolute pleasure and joy to craft and can't wait to get started on the next one 🎼 #jamesmartininstruments#bouzouki#irishinstruments#irishmusic#luthier#loveyourinstrument

Thomas Buchanan 10 String Mandolin Soundboard Replacement

This lovely Mandolin was sent to us all the way from England to receive some major surgery by James. The owner of this mandolin wasn't happy with the sound from it on so many levels and wanted James expertise to work some magic on it. From James' experience with these mandolins he was well aware of how they are built and also knowing the many factors that influence the sound from them he knew exactly how to go about it. And so it was done and needless to say we have a very happy customer. So here's the details : These mandolins have soundboards that are quite thick and also have quite large braces that aren't scalloped which will really effect the sound and tone that you will get from the instrument. So original soundboard removed and a brand new "lightweight" one specially made with specific bracing to enhance the sound the customer was looking for. The fixed bridge also has a lot to do with dampening the sound too. So along with the new soundboard, James went with a new handmade ebony bridge and new Allen cast tailpiece, all again to enhance the sound for our customer. Now all done and sent back to England to be endlessly played as it should be. Between getting crazily busy and loosing power during thunderstorms this job did take a little longer than we had anticipated so we would like to give a special thanks to this customer for his patience and understanding. We do look forward to meeting him in person post Covid when he is over on holidays! 🎼 #jamesmartininstruments#makethewoodsing#luthier#10string#thomasbuchanan#newsoundboard#mandolin#mandolincafe

The start of our Blog!!

So, we have just started to blog to try and keep everyone up to date on what goes on in our workshop every week. We will also try and up date some tips and info along the way. If there is anything in particular anyone would like us to write about just drop us a line or leave a comment. For now we will be updating the blog with some of our previous work from neck resets to soundboard replacements along with posts about our custom made instruments and what is involved with the process of hand crafting instruments. Enjoy our blog!

Martin Soundboard Replacement

** Martin Soundboard Replacement ** Lovely Martin guitar that had a slight accident resulting in the soundboard getting broken. It was previously glued back together but just didn't have the sound anymore as it was full of cracks and bracing was broken. It was taken to James where he removed the neck firstly and then the broken soundboard taking extreme care not to damage the sides as the back and sides are high pressure laminate. New soundboard made up by James himself with D-28 style bracing to give it that extra punch and black and white sycamore veneers inlayed as the rosette to make it similar to what was on previous soundboard. New soundboard put back on with 4 coats of lacquer, neck back on and bridge. Strung up and collected by customer to play for two weeks to let the new soundboard settle. It will be back then for its final set up with proper string action. This Martin is now sounding much more brighter and resonates a lot more than the previous soundboard with the extra work that went into the bracing. Happy days!

Decal Replacement

Here we have a Fender Strat with the decal wearing away. It is quite common for these decals to wear away or easily scratch as they were never coated with lacquer. So, this job started with the whole guitar being stripped. The headstock was sanded back to bare wood. It got a few coats of our own lacquer, especially formulated for instruments. Sanded down again and then the new decal fitted in place. Decal left to dry for 24 hours and then it's ready for it's many more coats of spray and sanding before getting the final sand, buff and polish. Set back up and it's good to go!

James Martin Instruments


Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

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