After sawing the ribs, there is then a fairly careful process of thinning the ribs to the right thickness of about 1.5mm. The sawing left rough faces which then needed to be smoothed out and the sides taken down to the right thickness. Initially I used double-sided tape to tape the sides down and took the worst of the sawing marks off with the plane. Then a more delicate process with the scraper, and finally, after selecting the best or face side I took to it with 380 grit then 600 grit sandpaper, and finally 1500 grit to get the surface really smooth.

I wondered about the colour mix, as the back padouk is very orange, and the sides, or ribs – blackwood – are very brown, and the top of birdseye maple is almost a pale honey colour. Would the brown and the orange clash? Actually, yes. But there is a solution, and that is to include a banding strip containing the colours of all the timbers. Here are the parts lined up to see the relationship between them.

mandolin sides

You can read the rest of the story here:
Part 1 – making a start (selecting the timber)
Part 2 – preparing the top
Part 3 – cutting out the back
Part 4- starting the ribs
part 5 – sawing the ribs

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