We Should Build Mandolins is a lovely documentary that’s been put together by the good folk at Fretboard Journal which looks at the work of Tom Ellis, a legendary mandolin maker. Tom, whose love of woodwork initially led to him making surfboards, went on to make his first mandolin in 1972, the rest is history as they say. He moved to Austin in 1977 where he set up business in a lovely old farm house set in 3 acres of land.
He has continued to adapt to survive as the building of custom handmade mandolins is a time consuming business requiring a huge amount of labour hours. In 1992 he began using CNC technolgy to manufacture pearl inlays, this side of his business took off really well, so much so that he quit making mandolins to concentrate on Precision Pearl Inlay for mandolins and guitars. The desire to return to making mandolins was still there but it wasn’t until Pava Knezevic came to work for him that he was encouragaed to return to building mandolins as this behind the scenes documentary reveals.
Fretboard Journal is a quarterly publication that feels more like a coffee table book than a magazine. It’s a special keepsake that is filled with exclusive interviews and world class photography. If you’re serious about your instruments, you’ll love it.