1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

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1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby John Scime » Wed May 30, 2018 9:10 pm

Hello there. Its been a while ...

I'm currently working on this old Gibson made Kalamazoo KM-11. It was a bit of a basket case, with 6 cracks in the top, 2 cracks on the back, a broken brace and very worn frets.

As you can see, it is back together and I am in the process of refretting it with banjo fret wire. This was simple up to the 9th fret using my hand held fret press. But I'm not very please with the results of the frets I've done over the neck block.

Is there a way I can use my drill press as an arbor, and if so, do I need to brace the 4 frets over the body? and how do I do that? On a guitar I could use my scissor jack, but it wont fit.

In general, I am a little nervous about using the hammer on this old dear, as it is fragile. I am also having trouble acquiring lead shot here in Canada, as we need a firearms registration to buy reloading materials. Is there a good substitute?


Thanks in advance.
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Re: 1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby Bill Raymond » Wed May 30, 2018 10:48 pm

I would imagine that a sack of steel BBs or perhaps lead pellets for an air/CO2 gun, if these are available to you in Canada, should suffice; but I can't, of course, say for sure, as I've never tried them for this purpose.
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Re: 1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu May 31, 2018 7:10 pm

I like to open up the fret slots over the body to about .028" and then the frets can be just tapped in with a small hammer.
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Re: 1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:23 pm

You can open up the fret slots and glue the frets in. "Split shot" for fishing might be a substitute for lead shot.

By removing the end from a small ratcheting bar clamp you can turn it into a "spreader". www.harborfreight.com/4-in-ratcheting-b ... 68974.html You might have to add a "hook" to one end if it won't fit through the soundhole.
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Re: 1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:09 pm

Plain old sand works, too.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: 1936 Kalamazoo KM-11 Mandolin restoration - fretting over the tongue

Postby John Scime » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:11 pm

Thanks for the advice, all. I'll put it to good use. js
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