Moose

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 tailpiece. I first tried rosewood for the moose body, but it was too dark and disappeared into the ebony when buffed. Of course, real moose are very hard to see against a dark background, but this was impossible. So, end-grained mahogany was used for the moose bodies with grey-black pearl for antlers. Fingerboard position markers took a long while to imagine, and they finally emerged as moose tracks in grey-black pearl. For an additional touch, trees were cut from alternating pieces of green Ablam and inlaid above the nut—mooses and spruces! For body wood, I had a gorgeous semi-striped, semi-quilted one-piece back from Pennsylvania and a quilted neck and semi-quilted sides with an excellent red spruce top. I graduated it and set the tone bars to the standard of the Deluxe model for all styles of playing and installed a Feather pickup. Then the finish was a custom warm dark brown—moose colored. Gold hardware went best with it all. It is subtle but eye-catching. The most interesting part to me was the sound; I think the moose bone nut and saddle added something very distinct. It is one of my favorite mandolins for a clear but rich sound. “Moose” and “Moose Too” have been sold. “Moose T(h)ree” has been built, and “Moose Fore” has been designed with a golfing theme.