I have been making a travel mandolin and have made more progress. After jointing and gluing the padouk boards for the back and setting it aside to dry, I laid the top on the boards, carefully lining up the joint with the centre-line of the top and drew around it in pencil to get the shape for the back.

mandolin back outline

I cut outside the line on the bandsaw to rough out the shape. Then I put the back through the thicknesser to shave it back a hair’s thickness and remove the glue line. After this I matched the top to it and held the two pieces together and sanded the back to the contour of the top so they matched exactly.

mandolin back shape

Once satisfied that they matched, I decided to give the top a single coat of shellac to seal the wood and ensure that finger marks don’t mar the finish. I used orange shellac which gave the birdseye maple a lovely rich honey colour.

mandolin top shellac

The next job will be to cut the neck and end blocks and the two side blocks ready for the ribs. I have also selected the timber for the neck. More on that next time.