For photos of the constructing of my mandolins, click the image above.



The winter of 2014-2015 was spent building a new home for Apitius Mandolins. The shell of the building was erected by a local contractor during the summer of 2014. I then proceeded to install all of the electrical, insulation, vapour barrier and drywall myself. When the building was complete, I re-made much of my tooling including new body molds and fixtures for neck, fingerboard and peghead construction as well as other shop amenities. The shop is climate controlled to a relative humidity of 40%.

Below are some photos of the new shop. Feel free to have a snoop around. Some of the photos can be expanded by mousing over and clicking.


Framing the interior


The entire shop, walls floor ceiling was vapour barriered and all seams thoroughly sealed with tuck tape.

Installing the drywall


Installing the trim


Outfitting the new digs


The finished shop


The finished shop from another angle


The wall of fame

Various hand tools


More hand tools


The "Finishing Department"


Mandolins nearing completion


Varnish mixing station


Colour samples


Pantograph carving machine


Scroll saw


Router table



Drill press




Various body molds


Hand planes


Self-made parts cabinet


Climate control station


A pair of sling psychrometers used for calibrating analog hygrometers


A commercial dehumidifier





As you may have noticed, on the back wall of the shop is a row of 8” X 10” photos. These are of previous customers with their Apitius mandolins. If you have a professional looking 8” X 10” of you and your Apitius mandolin and would like to be on the “wall of fame” please mail it to me and I will get it up there, adding shelf space if I need it. It can be colour or black and white. Autographed is preferred.


The shop is climate controlled to a constant 40% relative humidity. This is done to make the instruments as stable as possible when exposed to changes in humidity by it’s new owner. Wood being an organic, hydroscopic material, will continue to absorb or release moisture depending on the humidity of its environment. This is met with a corresponding expanding and contracting of the wood itself. Since the completed instrument can withstand more expanding than contracting, the mandolin is put together in an environment that is closer to the dry end of the spectrum giving it the ability to withstand the greatest possible changes in humidity that wooden instruments can be made to withstand. There is no magic humidity level that can make an instrument resistant to all changes. This is a fact of objects made of wood and therefore the best guaranty is a careful owner. Exposing your instrument to extremes of humidity is to be strictly avoided. This is especially true in the winter months when your home heating system can easily bring humidity levels down to 30% or lower. The best thing in this situation is a whole home humidifier attached to your furnace. Alternately, a portable room size humidifier can be used in the room where you store your mandolin. Small humidifiers that fit in your case can be used when travelling but care must be taken to have them saturated to the proper degree.

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