Moose Too

“Moose Too” (the second in the moose inlay series) had special visitors at Mandolin Brothers. Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows were shooting an episode of Law and Order up the street from the Mandolin Brothers store and stopped in with a request to see “Moose.” Stan Jay happily showed them “Moose Too” (the original “Moose” had already found a home on Long Island), and staff members Alison Jay and Rachel Cohen joined in the group photo. “Moose Too” has a new home, and “Moose T(h)ree has taken its place at Mandolin Brothers.


The idea for “Moose” started with a visit to Maine’s celebrated Common Ground Fair where I saw some exquisite jewelry carved from moose bone. It was such a dense, beautiful material that I wanted to try it for a mandolin’s nut and saddle. A friend who is a retired butcher got some bones for me, but it seemed like the mandolin ought to have more than just the moose bone nut and saddle. The inlay theme ought to center on moose. I decided on a bull and cow on the finger rest and a partial of a bull on the… Read More

Ne Plus Ultras

The Ne Plus Ultra project began a year and a half before completion with the purchase of an outrageously figured plank of 100+ year old maple, reported to have been in the estate of a New Hampshire luthier. Since the cost of the plank was also outrageous, the two mandolins the wood could produce would have to beyond special, beyond the Ultras, all the way to the Ne Plus Ultra — an all-wood, plastic-free unique art mandolin. It would prove the most challenging project of my forty-year career.


Rolfe’s wife, Susan, is an art quilter, and the correspondence with quilted maple used in a couple of custom Phoenix mandolins suggested a quilting inlay theme for a quilted maple mandolin. The mandolin was begun in 2006—quilted maple sides, back, and neck with a super premium Engelmann top—but languished as various attempts to create relevant inlays didn’t work out. Finally, at the end of 2008, the project came clearly to mind and was finished.