I spent a great couple of hours with Mike Dulak of Big Muddy Mandolins. Mike’s been making instruments for years, and is the largest industry in Rocheport. I caught him in the middle of moving his shop, so things were a little chaotic. The above pile of part-finished, discarded or otherwise parts summed up the state of the workshop as I saw it. And yes, that is a uke body.
Mike’s really refined his workflow. He’s built a nifty broach to cut all the string slots in a nut in one swipe. He has a fretting jig that cuts all the slots in one pass (hey, mandolin fretboards are quite short). But to make up for that, he shapes heel necks by hand using a rasp and sandpaper.
I’m really glad I visited, and makes my mandolin a little bit more special to know who made it, and see where it was made.