Welcome to the Apitius Mandolin Co. website where I take great pride in being 100 years behind the times!
Apitius mandolins are entirely hand made by me alone in a climate controlled workshop using only traditional methods. I believe that hand-crafting gives the instruments a quality and “soul” that just isn’t there in modern production line instruments. For example, I saw all of my pearl shell inlays by hand and while modern computer controlled processes are precise, they lack the human element of slight variations that make each instrument unique, just like the original F-5s were.
In keeping with this philosophy, that is so rare in today’s world, I have also moved to traditional finishing methods. Employing natural resins, and a varnish recipe that was handed down for many generations, Apitius mandolins are now finished in the traditional “French polish” method which is not only environment friendly and sustainable but also results in a finish that is highly repairable, and improves with age. Best of all, this finishing method allows for a very thin film thickness that is crucial in achieving the best sound possible.
In 2015 I built a brand new workshop and completely re-tooled, making new forms molds and fixtures. I have made refinements to the body, headstock and fingerboard shapes to more closely capture the look and feel of the 1920s F-5s. As always, the sound is the result of decades of dedicated research and development which has resulted in my unique method of graduating and tuning the plates. Several of my innovations regarding improved tone and volume are described further down this page.
Feel free to look around and contact me if you have any questions. I will respond as quickly as I can but keep in mind that I am a one man operation. For this same reason, some areas of this website are a work in progress, so check back periodically as I will be adding more photos and information as time allows.
P.S. As part of the process of re-tooling I drew up a completely new set of blueprints for my mandolins. I have decided to make them available for purchase to those who would enjoy them. The plans are very detailed and highly accurate. They are available with a slightly distressed look which makes them great for framing and displaying at home or office, even if you never plan to build a mandolin yourself. The signed and numbered prints are printed on paper vellum and are supplied rolled in a mailing tube.