mandolin

After gluing on the fingerboard and nut I touched up the varnish and gave the whole instrument a good final cleanup and wax.

Then it was time to add the tailpiece and machine heads and the instrument was almost finished.

The final-ish thing was to make a bridge – I used some leftover Tasmanian Blackwood and made a bridge, tuning in the strings with stepped forward and back slots.

Finally I got some new strings and strung it up for the first time. It needs playing in but the sound is wonderful and will only get better!

You can read all the steps here
http://fourstrings.wordpress.com/?s=mandolin

This was very well worth doing!

Here are some more photos

mandolin

mandolin

mandolin

mandolin

mandolin

And here is what it sounds like

Cheers
Jerry

An

Having determined from classical guitar construction that the neck can be integral with the neck-block, I set about shaping the neck into its final form.

I began by chiseling the basic form of the heel, then taking the corners off the neck shaft and using a wood rasp and files to form the head junction and basic heel shapes. Then I used the luthiers mini thumb planes to shape the neck to its final form. The orange rubber mat is a cheap non-slip mat from a kitchenware store – it makes a great non-slip surface on which to work timber.

Mandolin neck

I drew around a 20c (Australian) coin to get the curves for the head decoration and cut that out on the hobby band-saw and smoothed it with the drill-mounted ‘Wasp’ belt sander.

Mandolin neck

Then I smoothed the heel curve with the same belt sander and hand finished sanding using 600 grit, then 1500 grit to get a smooth talc-like finish.

Mandolin neck

With one coat of orange shellac
Mandolin neck

The neck is now almost finished
Mandolin neck

Cheers
Jerry

After roughing out the neck, I set to work with a plane and scraper to smooth out the head part of the neck. This is quite time consuming, so progress this week has been fairly slow – but it is definite progress.

To give some idea of the current status, this is the neck so far with the fretboard placed (not yet attached) in position

mandoneckrough1.jpg

And to provide some context, this photo shows the relationship of the components

mandonecklook.jpg

Cheers
Jerry

After jointing the timber for the back, the next thing was to settle on a design. I wanted to design a shape that will make best use of the timber while retaining a compact shape. I started with an outline of a spoon-back mandolin, and then decided that it needed more body at the neck end.

My initial sketch was done straight on the timber
mandolin

I used a hole saw to open the sound hole, and then used a wider hole saw to cut an annular groove for the sound hole decoration.

mandolin

After toying with the notion of purfling, I decided on a different approach – I had earlier seen some fine copper powder and felt that would be a more creative approach. The copper is mixed with PVA and brushed into the groove.

mandolin

It looks messy, but remember it is going to be sanded back, removing the surface copper, and preparing it to be varnished in place.

mandolin

I know little of mandolin making, so I was wary of taking the thickness too low. I thicknessed the birdseye maple down to 4mm, and carefully sanded further down to almost half that – about 2.5mm.

And that is where I shall leave it for today.

Cheers
Jerry

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