It has been a productive weekend. Having brought the ribs, or sides, to the right thickness, I rubbed on some orange shellac which really brought out the flaming in the Tasmanian blackwood.

The next task is to make the linings – these are backing pieces which help to attach the sides to the top and back, and also give a broader gluing area for the top and back. These important structural components need to be fairly robust, yet be flexible enough to be able to be bent into the shape of the mandolin. To achieve this, kerfs are sawn into the linings at regular intervals, so that the wood is cut, but not cut through.

This results in a flexible snake of blocks connected by a thin timber, which can then be steam bent into shape. They are much larger than those for a violin, as they help to provide extra rigidity to the instrument, and that is supposed to help the sustain. They also need to be large enough to provide gluing area for the sides – even after the sides have been cut away slightly to allow for the binding veneers.

I clamped a stop block to the scroll saw and was able to make the kerf cuts quickly and evenly, as shown in the photo.

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
part 6 – thinning the sides

making a travel mandolin – part 7 – kerfing the linings.

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